Germany U21s secured their place at the 2019 European Championships in Italy and San Marino with a 2-1 home win over Norway in Ingolstadt. Cedric Teuchert and Luca Waldschmidt struck in the first half to put Stefan Kuntz’s side on their way and book their tickets for next year’s competition. Birk Risa did halve the deficit for the visitors but it wasn’t enough.
“We played very well in the first half and we have ourselves to blame for not closing out the result before half time,” said Kuntz. “The team became nervous when a deflected shot went in and suddenly it was 2-1. We changed our formation to a flat 4-4-2 and the substitutes who came on did a great job. We deserved to win tonight. It was here in Ingolstadt where we qualified for the European Championship two years ago against Russia so maybe that was a good omen for tonight.”
Germany relied on counter attacks on multiple occasions to open up the Norway defence and relying on Teuchert to create chances. The Schalke striker had two early chances to score after two perfect chances from Lukas Klostermann (7’) and Waldschmidt (9’) respectively, the latter creating another chance in the 16th minute. However, Teuchert was unable to beat Norway goalkeeper Sondre Rossbach. Timo Baumgartl and Waldschmidt also were close from long range.
At the sixth attempt, Germany made the breakthrough as captain Jonathan Tah won the ball just outside his own penalty area and took the ball over half of the pitch before playing in Teuchert, who shook off his opponent and fired home to open the scoring (21’). It was Teuchert’s eighth goal for the Germany U21s in just his 8th appearance.
After Germany were able to resist Norwegian pressure and an immediate response from the visitors, Waldschmidt doubled the lead for the home side. The Freiburg striker hit the post from 17 metres out in the 30th minute before he slammed the ball home just a minute later.
Norway created two big chances to score just before half-time with Erling Haland having a goal disallowed in the 37th minute. Germany goalkeeper Alexander Nübel could then only parry a Martin Ödegaard shot before the ball was cleared. At the other end, Waldschmidt again went close, pulling his shot wide after cutting in from the left (42’).
Germany were caught cold in the early stages of the second half as Birk Risa’s shot from 30 metres out was deflected into the back of his own net by Luka Klostermann, who had thrown himself in and turned away from goal to block the shot (46’). Germany lost all their momentum and Norway came back into the match, going close through a Haland shot which Nübnel was able to save (65’). Norway were trying everything they could to force home an equaliser, leaving themselves vulnerable at the back. Florian Neuhaus very nearly capitalised on this but he put too much into his shot in a one-on-one situation. The Gladbach player was involved again a minute later as he played Benjamin Heinrichs but he could only fire ball well over the goal in the 67th minute.
Neuhaus was again involved as Germany created their best chance to restore their two goal cushion. Neuhaus was able to find Löwen with a cross and Rossbach was helpless to see the ball flash past him and the far post by just centimetres (73’).
In the final few minutes, Germany chose to defend compactly to deny Norway the equaliser. Nearly all of their players were in their own penalty area and Norway were unable to break through. Germany saw the game out and with that qualified for next year’s European Championship.