The Germany U21s overcame England 2-1 yesterday night in their last tough test ahead of the start of the European Championships this summer, where a clash with Denmark awaits in Udine on June 17th. In front of a crowd of 10,924 in Bournemouth’s Vitality Stadium, Stefan Kuntz’s side won thanks to goals from Mahmoud Dahoud and an injury-time strike from Felix Uduokhai.
Captain Timo Baumgartl was pleased with his team’s display: “We had a brilliant first half but conceded an annoying equaliser right before the interval that was our own fault. We pressed on and created some good chances, and deservedly won in the end.” Kuntz had similar praise for his side: “All in all, I’m very pleased. It was a good advert for German youth football.”
Kuntz made one change from the 2-2 draw vs. France, with Uduokhai coming in for the injured Jordan Torunarigha. Germany started brightly and nearly capitalised on an early Demarai Gray error to score, before Benjamin Henrichs had their first sight of goal in the eighth minute.
The Young Lions took their time to get into the game, with Gray’s effort ending up in the net in the 18th minute, before being ruled offside soon after. Florian Neuhaus went close three minutes later with a fine solo run, but it was Mahmoud Dahoud who eventually opened the scoring for the visitors. Arne Meier played the Borussia Dortmund man through with a fine long ball that split the defence, but Dahoud still had it all to do. Controlling the ball with his chest, the 19-year-old volleyed it first-time into the corner from the edge of the box, scoring a well-worked goal.
Dahoud almost grabbed a second soon after, but his shot with the outside of his foot sailed centimeters wide of the post. Luca Waldschmidt had Germany’s best chance to make it 2-0, but his effort from the left of the box agonisingly hit the post, and Nadiem Amiri was unable to convert the rebound. Against the run of play however, England forced their way back into the match. Phil Foden’s pass to Dominic Solanke deflected and found its way to the striker’s feet, and the hosts’ number 20 did the rest. The scores were tied 1-1 as both teams left the pitch at half-time.
The hosts started the second 45 minutes strongly and left the visitors beleaguered in their own half. Kieran Dowell blazed his free kick over the German bar early on, while Foden missed a good chance from distance. The young German side were far from out of the tie, however, nearly finding the net in the 57th minute when Amiri found Levin Öztunali in the 18 yard box, but the Mainz attacking midfielder mistimed his shot.
Lukas Nmecha made his debut for Germany as a sixtieth minute substitute, having previously played 31 times in the England youth set-up. The 20-year-old only received word that he was eligible to play shortly before kickoff, and replaced Waldschmidt as one of five substitutions that coach Kuntz made two thirds into the game. Nmecha had the opportunity to make an instant impact when England keeper Dean Henderson palmed Henrichs’ shot into the striker’s path, but he was not able to react quickly enough to the second ball. Henrichs played a key role again as Germany won the game in stoppage time, crossing in to an unmarked Uduokhai in the England penalty area, with the young defender rifling home to secure victory for Germany.