Chisinau (dpa) – The German U21 footballers, unimpressed by the corona vortex around the team, have taken an important step towards the EM ticket with a clear away win.
Thanks to a concentrated performance, the selection of coach Stefan Kuntz rightly won 5: 0 (3: 0) in Moldova and scored important points in qualifying. “This performance was not to be expected, it cannot be taken for granted,” said Kuntz.
Double goalscorer Lukas Nmecha of RSC Anderlecht scored after a goalkeeper error (18th minute) and a penalty (25th), which he himself had eliminated. Salih Özcan (42nd) from Cologne, Jonathan Burkardt (67th) from Mainz and U21 debutant Dominik Kother (90th + 2) went up. “We didn’t play flawlessly,” said coach Kuntz. “But the commitment and the willingness to work, that was excellent today.”
A positive corona test on a player had messed up the preparation of the German selection. Just a few hours before the game, it was clear that the team could fly to Moldova and compete. However, Kuntz had to make do with a squad of just 17 players in the all-important game, offering a starting eleven with two newcomers and some U21 returnees.
Nevertheless, around 17-year-old debutant Florian Wirtz, who secured the record as the youngest U21 national player, the team had many good scenes and earned the success against a weak opponent with a concentrated performance. After a nervous initial phase with a few wobbles, the DFB-Elf acted more dominantly and convinced, especially in the superior first half.
In group nine, the German selection initially took over the lead from Belgium, which had to play against Wales later in the evening. After two defeats against Belgium, the DFB-Elf will have to fight for their European Championship ticket, Tuesday is the next important match against Bosnia-Herzegovina in Fürth. The nine group winners and the five best runners-up will buy the ticket for the 2021 tournament.
The guests in Chisinau benefited time and again from technical mistakes made by the Moldovans, who are in last place in the group. But the German offensive to double goalscorer Nmecha convinced against an overwhelmed opponent. A first goal from the ex-Wolfsburg did not count (11th), after which the striker paved the way to victory with his U21 goals number five and six.
Although the Kuntz-Elf downshifted after half-time, the victory could have been even higher. Only the recently substituted Burkardt made use of two of the numerous opportunities for further goals after a nice interaction with Özcan and U21 debutant Kother of Karlsruher SC.