Germany U21s were held to a 1-1- draw against Slovenia in Braunschweig, ahead of next Tuesday’s important European Championschip qualifier against Wales.
Debutant Manuel Wintzheimer put Germany ahead from the penalty spot shortly before the break, having won the spot-kick himself (42’), before Zan Medved levelled immediately after the break, also from the penalty spot (46'). A third penalty was awarded in the 87th minute to the visitors but goalkeeper Finn Dahmen – also on his debut – dived the right way to keep it out.
"Obviously I had hoped for a different start," Dahmen told German TV post-match, having started the match on the bench. "But then I saved the penalty, so I think I can be happy with my debut."
The young side were dominant in all areas of the pitch, with more possession and control from the get-go, but struggled to create clear-cut opportunites against the co-hosts of next summer’s tournament. The game’s first proper chance arrived mid-way through the first half, as captain Arne Maier latched on to a loose ball and fired a powerful shot at the Slovenia goal.
Meanwhile, Slovenia offered little themselves going forward, with only Ajosa Matko’s speculative range from effort calling goalkeeper Lennart Grill into action (32'). The breakthrough arrived shortly before the break when debutant Wintzheimer was brought down in the box (41'); the Hamburg player duly convert with a cool finish into the bottom right corner.
Kuntz made seven changes at the break, including two more debutants: Stephan Kofi Ambrosius and Finn Dahmen – both of whom would play significant roles in the second half. Less than 60 seconds after the restart, Ambrosius unfortunately brought down Zan Medved in the Germany box, which the Slovenian converted without hesitation (46’).
Germany continued to dominate, as in the first half, but continued to struggle in the final third. Their profligacy was almost punished late on when Slovenia were awarded a second penalty, but this time Dahmen was able to get a firm hand to deny Celar’s spot-kick attempt.