Germany U21 continued the perfect start to their European Championship qualification campaign after making it two wins from two games. Stefan Kuntz's side won 3-1 in Latvia to take their tally to six points in Group B after their opening win over San Marino.
After falling behind through a goal from Latvia’s Ilya Korotkovs (8’), BVB’s Youssoufa Moukoko’s third international goal in just his second game (25’) and Angelo Stiller’s first goal for the U21s helped Germany turn the game around before half time. Just after the break, Schalke's Malick Thiaw (48’) increased the lead.
Kuntz named the same ten outfield players who beat San Marino 6-0. The only change to the lineup was the introduction of Hoffenheim’s Luca Philipp in goal in place of Nico Mantl. Full backs Roberto Massimo and Noah Katterbach played either side of centre backs Thiaw and Lars Lukas Mai. Stiller, Finn Ole Becker, Tom Krauß and Shinta Appelkamp formed the midfield, behind an attacking pairing of captain Jonathan Burkardt and Moukoko.
Despite applying a lot of pressure and pressing the Latvian side deep into their own half, there were no real goalscoring chances for Kuntz’s side. The hosts took their chance when it came: Korotkovs rising highest at a corner kick to head past Philipp at the far post (8’).
Germany looked to reply quickly and had the perfect opportunity after Krauß was brought down in the area (23’), but Burkardt’s penalty struck the woodwork. The rebound was deflcted goalwards by a Latvian defender, where goalkeeper Frenks Orols reacted impressively to push the ball over the bar (24’). From the resulting corner, Thiaw received the ball and played into Moukoko on the edge of the area, who hit a low drive into the back of the net to equalise (25’).
Germany came close to a second soon after. Moukoko (27’) and Krauß (29’) both had chances to double their side’s tally. Germany’s efforts were finally rewarded just before the break. Midfielder Stiller cut inside from the right hit a well-struck low shot into the bottom corner from the edge of the area (41’).
Kuntz’s words at the break must have been the right ones, as his side came out for the second half and picked up where they left off in the first. In just the 48th minute the lead was increased to two, Thiaw being allowed to rise unopposed to head home from a corner kick. Soon after, Hoffenheim's Marco John was introduced to celebrate his U21 debut off the bench (53’).
Germany took the tempo out of the game and saw the result comfortably over the line.
The qualification journey will continue in October with two more fixtures. After hosting Israel in Paderborn (7th October, 18:15 CEST), Germany will travel to Szeged to take on Hungary (12th October).