It was the 44th minute in the Miejski Stadium in Tychy. Max Meyer picks up the ball on the edge of the left-side of the box, and slots it home at the far post. Germany go 1-0 up in their U21 European Championship opener against the Czech Republic – and it was the perfect time to do so, just moments before half time. After celebrating with his teammates, the 22-year-old looks to the bench and immediately runs over to Germany’s team doctor, before they share a heartfelt embrace.
“I haven’t been able to train much and just managed to regain fitness for the tournament,” said Meyer after Germany’s 2-0 win over the Czech Republic in their first game of the U21 European Championship in Poland. “That’s why I wanted to give my thanks to the doc and to the physios for all their fantastic hard work,” explained Meyer.
Despite the long-term injury which he picked up with Schalke 04 that sidelined him, the attacking midfielder managed to play the full 90 minutes and led the attack. Even if not everything went their way, Meyer and Co. can confidently say that they deserved to win the game, and will take that confidence into their next encounter.
That’s where the saying: ‘less talk, more action’ comes into the picture. The Germany camp won’t be excessively celebrating the win, rather they’ll be directing their focus towards their next task ahead of them: a game against Denmark on Wednesday (20:45 CEST). The Danes lost their opener in the other of Group C’s two games yesterday, being defeated by Italy 2-0, meaning they are under immense pressure in a sink-or-swim situation. “The win meant that we got off to a perfect start and we’re happy with it,” said captain Maximilian Arnold. “But in order to achieve our goal, we want to win every single game. That was just the first step.”
Germany’s U21s could have scored more than two goals in the game that was their first step, and first chapter of this outfit’s story. The biggest chance to do so came when Davie Selke stepped up to the penalty spot, but Czech goalkeeper Zima parried the 22-year-old’s attempt away to keep the ball out of the right corner.
“Of course I would have liked to score a goal myself in order to build up my confidence,” explained Selke. “Unfortunately that didn’t work out, but I have to show my respect for our captain Maxi Arnold.” Arnold allowed the newly-signed Hertha man to take the penalty after a short discussion, even though he is the regular penalty taker. The Wolfsburg midfielder doesn’t make much of it, however, saying: “That’s what you do in a good team, it wasn’t a problem at all. Unfortunately Davie wasn’t able to convert it, and I’ll take the next one.”