Germany U21s defended their place on top of their qualification group for the 2023 European Championship by beating Israel 1-0 away from home. Noah Katterbach got the only goal of the game for Antonio di Salvo’s team in the 60th minute. Germany are now five points clear of Israel in second and six clear of Poland in third with two matchdays left.
“It was a team performance. We said before the game that Israel would play with lots of passion. We wanted to fight hard and I think we did that well. I’m pleased to have scored,” said Katterbach. Coach di Salvo added: “I’m relieved and proud of the team. They left their heart and soul on the pitch in difficult conditions. We played a strong opponent, but weren’t able to control the ball and find gaps.”
Just before kick-off, captain Jonathan Burkardt had to drop out of the side with a hamstring problem. He was replaced in the team by Jan Thielmann. Germany were the stronger side in the opening few minutes, having the first chance through a Malik Tillman header from a corner (8’). Another corner then provided the next opportunity, Marton Dardai this time testing out Daniel Peretz from close range (12’).
Whilst Germany looked to find gaps in Israel’s defence, the hosts sat back and played on the counter. There were few dangerous moments for either side in the first half. Jamie Leweling had his shot blocked after a Josha Vagnoman cross after 27 minutes.
The second period began with a promising break for the home team. Substitute Osher Davida’s thankfully didn’t find the back of the net though (49’). Despite Israel growing into the game more, Germany took the lead. Thielmann got into the box and cut it back to Noah Katterbach, who slotted home for the opening goal.
Germany sat back a bit more after taking the lead and remained compact to keep the hosts out. Noah Atubolu and his defence kept the clean sheet to seal all three points.