Germany U21s convincingly won their Euro qualifier in Moldova 5-0 on Friday night. Stefan Kuntz’s side remained on course to qualify thanks to goals from Lukas Nmecha (2), Salih Özcan, Jonathan Burkardt and Dominik Kother.
“This performance isn’t to be taken for granted, as we all know what’s happened over the past few days. The older players have taken responsibility and led by example,” said Kuntz after the final whistle. “We still made some mistakes, but the team’s application and desire was excellent.”
Despite being the dominant side throughout, Germany were given an early scare after a long-range shot form Victor Stina almost caught out keeper Lennart Grill from around 30 yards out (4’). Lukas Nmecha had the ball in the net after 10 minutes, however play was pulled back due to a foul in the build up. Dennis Geiger then tested out Victor Straistari in the home goal with a dangerous free kick (15’).
Three minutes later, however, Germany and Nmecha did have their goal. Geiger struck another free kick, which the goalkeeper couldn’t hold this time, spilling it at the feet of the Germany striker, who duly made it 1-0. Kuntz’s team had a second before the half an hour mark too. Nmecha was fouled in the box and took the resulting penalty, producing a cheeky panenka to double his team’s lead.
Florian Krüger had a great chance to make it 3-0 but couldn’t convert (33’). Germany didn’t have to wait long for a third goal – Salih Özcan flicked on a Tim Handwerker free kick into the far corner. 17-year-old debutant, Florian Wirtz, almost added a fourth from a narrow angle on the stroke of half time (45’).
Krüger had two further chances for goals early in the second period, being denied once by the keeper (50’) and missing the target later on (56’). Nmecha was also denied a hat-trick by the home keeper in the 58th minute.
Jonathan Burkardt, who had just come off the bench, got his name on the scoresheet with a smart finish over the goalkeeper (67’). Ianer Turcan saw two yellows for the hosts, the second coming in injury time. There was still time for Germany to make use of their man advantage, with debutant Kother scoring the fifth and final goal of the evening to round things off (93’).