High fives and hugs all around – the Germany U21 side celebrate their successful start to the international season. After going 1-0 down to Denmark in the friendly, they turned the game around and came out 2-1 winners. The Olympic season has started well. In the Stadion Lohmühle in Lübeck, manager Horst Hrubesch’s side showed everyone that they have great potential. The U21s received a standing ovation from the 5000 spectators after the game for their performance.
The players were also pleased with their opening game. "It’s always nice to win the first game of the season." Levin Öztunali told DFB.de. The young forward from Werder Bremen scored the winner in the 81st minute with a deflected shot from distance. "We kept calm and played our game. That’s the way to do it. In front of goal though we need to be a bit more clinical."
The other goalscorer of the day – Timo Werner – also spoke highly of the game. "It was nice to play in Lübeck; I enjoyed it." Said the VfB striker who scored the equaliser with 51 minutes played. "We started well and bossed the game. That gives us great confidence ahead of our next challenge in Baku."
On Monday, the DFB-U21s will fly to the Azerbaijan capital and on Tuesday (16:00 CEST) they will play their first qualifier for the Euro 2017 in Poland in Baku’s Dalga Stadium. The manager has set his sights on the Euros. "It is our aim to get through the group and qualify for the finals in Poland," said Horst Hrubesch. "The performance against Denmark was decent. We stuck to our guns and came from behind to win, but in general I think we can still improve."
Hrubesch built the team almost from scratch ahead of the season. Of the 23-man squad that reached the semi finals of the Euros in the Czech Republic and earned the team a place at the Olympics in Rio de Janeiro 2016, only four players in Max Mayer (Schalke 04), Maximilian Arnold (VfL Wolfsburg), Joshua Kimmich (Bayern München) and Serge Gnabry (West Brom) remain with the U21s. Matthias Ginter of Borussia Dortmund as well as Liverpool’s Emre Can would also be available, but they recently took the step to Joachim Löw’s senior side selection.
"We want to bring together young players with more experienced U21 players." Said Hrubesch after the win over Denmark. "We’ve got lots of good players and will build a strong team from them." The next opportunity to start building is on Tuesday when the U21s will look to win their first qualifier in Azerbaijan.