Germany claimed their second European under-21 championship title with a 1-0 win over Spain in Kraków on Friday night.
Mitchell Weiser’s first half header was enough for Stefan Kuntz’s side to hold off the tournament and pre-match favourites in a tense but high quality final.
Competition top scorer Saúl Niguez was kept quiet throughout as Germany stood firm to reclaim the title they last won back in Sweden in 2009.
Victory could mark the beginning of a memorable weekend for Germany, with Joachim Löw’s senior team set to play Chile in the Confed Cup final on Sunday night.
Following an unlucky defeat to Italy and a gutsy penalty win over England in the semis, Germany unquestionably saved their best performance of the tournament until last, successfully stifling a side that had scored twelve goals in four games en route to Friday’s showpiece.
But it looked as though it might be a long night for Kuntz’s men in after the opening exchanges, as Spain dominated possession, moving the ball around quickly and confidently as the junior Mannschaft struggled to get a foot in.
The monopoly was broken up by Max Meyer, who seemed to lift everyone in white by heading a Maxi Arnold cross onto the post in Germany’s first attack, before Serge Gnabry’s shot hit the side netting after the new Bayern man teed himself up from a tight angle.
The former Werder forward continued to threaten, and should have opened the scoring moments later, but failed to connect with a shot from six yards out following a free kick.
The opener came from a likely source, but an unlikely method.
Forward Weiser, one of the smaller members of the side at 1m76, who moments earlier had wasted a good opportunity when clean through, rose to flick Jeremy Toljan’s cross up and over Spanish ‘keeper Arrizabalaga with his head and put Germany into a deserved lead.
It was something fans have become far more accustomed to seeing from future Hertha teammate Davie Selke, who was forced to sit out the final through injury.
Spain came out for the second half more intent on breaking down Kuntz’s backline, but were only forced into long-range efforts as first Saúl was thwarted by Julian Pollersbeck in Germany’s goal before Dani Ceballos whistled one past the upright.
Germany didn’t budge and the final whistle signalled easily the biggest night in the lives of those in DFB colours to date.
They’ll now watch the senior team attempt to emulate them in Russia in less than 48 hours time.