Germany U21s celebrated a goal fest on the opening game of their European Championship qualifying campaign, running out clear 6-0 winners against San Marino.
Tom Krauß (4’) opened the scoring, while a brace each for Jonathan Burkardt (19’, 43’) and Youssoufa Moukoko (39’, 41) but the game beyond doubt even before half time. Jamie Leweling (67’) scored the only goal of the second half to increase the lead to 6-0.
Head coach Stefan Kuntz named four European champions in his starting XI: Nico Mantl was named in goal, behind a centre back pairing of Lars Lukas Mai and Malick Thiaw. Roberto Massimo and Noah Katterbach were the full backs. Angelo Stiller, Finn Ole Becker, Krauß and Shinta Appelkamp were named in midfield, and captain Burkardt partnered history-maker Moukoko in attack, who became the youngest Germany U21 goalscorer in history at 16 years and 286 days.
It took less than five minutes for the first debutant to get on the scoresheet. Krauß took advantage of some confusion in the home side's penalty area and smashed the ball against the underside of the crossbar to open the scoring. Shortly afterwards, the midfielder tried his look again but was unable to convert (12’).
As expected, Germany controlled the game, with San Marino sitting deep and looking to play on the break. Despite a lack of high quality chances, the second goal was in the air – and it finally came after 20 minutes. Appelkamp played a perfectly-timed ball to Burkhardt, who finished with a nice effort into the far corner.
Despite conceding two early goals, the home side never gave up and made it increasingly difficult for Stefan Kuntz's team to break through. Massimo’s shot was deflected behind for a corner by goalkeeper Edoardo Colombo, and a distance strike from Burkhardt, which flew narrowly past the far post, were the best opportunities.
The constant ball movement and strong running efforts finally paid off towards the end of the first half. Burkhardt got round Colombo and played the ball goalwards, where Moukoko slotted into the empty net - his first goal for the U21s. Just two minutes later, it was Moukoko again. After initially being denied by Colombo, the youngster reacted to the rebound to increase the lead to four. Just a minute later, Burkardt doubled his own tally with a strike reminiscent of the late Gerd Müller, turning his defender and shooting on the spin into the bottom corner.
Kuntz made three changes at half-time. Centre-backs Malick Thiaw and Lars Mai were replaced by Maximilian Bauer and Armel Bella Kotchap, while Jamie Leweling came on in place of Angelo Stiller. The side needed a little time to settle following the changes, but soon came close to increasing the lead. Becker’s free kick almost forced Elia Ciacci into an own goal (52’), just moments before Moukoko was denied by Colombo.
Germany began to settle down a little without losing control of the game. It wasn’t until the 68th minute that the next sign of danger came. The seemingly elusive sixth goal finally came through substitute Leweling, who won possession on halfway and went on a solo run, eventually beating Colombo with the help of a deflection. At the other end of the pitch, Bauer was unable to properly deal with a cross from a free kick, but Simone Franciosi (71’) couldn’t react quick enough to take what was his side’s best chance of the game.
Kuntz made some more changes, introducing Erik Shuranov and Ransford-Yeboah Königsdorffer for the impressive duo of Burkhardt and Moukoko in the 73rd minute. Around ten minutes later, Königsdorffer found himself in a promising position but was unable to convert (85’). Germany kept the ball moving in the closing minutes and managed the game cleverly. The final chance of the game fell to Leweling, whose effort from a narrow angle was saved after a good reaction from Colombo.