The 2-1 defeat against Spain in the European U21 Championship marked the end of an era for the Germany U21 squad. Now, an almost completely new group of players born in 1998 and after have been called up by Stefan Kuntz for the first two internationals of 2019/20. On 5th September at 18:15 CEST, Germany will face Greece in a friendly in Zwickau, before travelling to Wrexham for their first European Championship qualifier against Wales on 10th September (20:00 CEST), The other opponents in qualifying Group 9 are Belgium, Bosnia-Herzegovina and Moldova.
The squad for the two internationals includes three players who featured at the U21 Euros in Johannes Eggestein (SV Werder Bremen), Lukas Nmecha (VfL Wolfsburg) and Markus Schubert (FC Schalke 04). Holstein Kiel players Janni Serra and Salih Özcan (0 appearances) have already been nominated for the U21s in the past, while Serra was even part of the provisional European Championship squad. Meanwhile, Arne Maier is unavailable for selection, having not returned to team training with Hertha Berlin.
All-in-all, Stefan Kuntz has named 23 players who have been born between 1998 and 2000. 19 players stand to make their debut for the Under-21s, including current Bundesliga players Nico Schlotterbeck (SC Freiburg), Dennis Geiger (TSG 1899 Hoffenheim) and Ridle Baku (1. FSV Mainz 05).
Stefan Kuntz said: “We are facing a completely new beginning. I am very excited about the new players and hope that they can follow in the footsteps of their Under-21 predecessors and develop in a similar way. Our goal is to qualify for the 2021 European Championship in Hungary and Slovenia and further the development of individual players.”
The team will meet on Monday in Zwickau. “I’m really looking forward to starting again,” said Kuntz. ”We want to use the international break to get to know each other and to prepare for our goals.”
Before the friendly against Greece, the Germany Under-21s will host an open training session in the Zwickauer Stadion on 4th September at 17:00 CEST. The team and coach will spend the day before visiting the Zwickau Fanprojekt. “We want to continue to show heart on and off the pitch and present the team to the fans as a sociable one,” explains the coach. “Of course we hope that a lot of people will come and support us at the Zwickau Stadium.”