Germany U21s have reached the final of the European Championship for the third successive tournament. Stefan Kuntz’s side overcame the Netherlands 2-1 in Székesfehérvár thanks to two goals from Florian Wirtz inside the first ten minutes. Peer Schuurs pulled one back for the Dutch in the second half, but they couldn’t find an equaliser.
Kuntz made two changes to the team that won on penalties against Denmark in the quarterfinals. Salih Özcan replaced Josha Vagnoman and Niklas Dorsch returned from suspension to take Anton Stach’s place in the side.
Germany began the semi-final in Hungary in perfect fashion. Lukas Nmecha burst down the left and his low ball found Florian Wirtz at the front post. The Leverkusen attacker poked home after just 30 seconds – the fastest ever goal in the tournament’s history! The youngster wasn’t done there either. In the eighth minute, Ridle Baku ran down the other flank and gave it to Wirtz. His low shot flew into the far corner to give Germany a priceless 2-0 lead so early on.
Despite going behind, Netherlands weren’t at the races in the opening stages. Instead, Mergim Berisha crashed a free-kick against the woodwork (20’).
The opposition had their first chance in the 22nd minute. Justin Kluivert couldn’t beat Finn Dahmen from a tight angle.
Wirtz, on a hat-trick, then came close to adding a third. He beat two defenders and drove into the box, only to have his shot saved by Justin Bijlow. Dani de Wit then curled one past the post for the Dutch (37’).
Germany remained the more dangerous of the two sides, with Lukas Nmecha having a shot from range next (39’). Myron Boadu tested out Dahmen at the other end, before Berisha had the final noteworthy effort of the first half, striking another free-kick – this time onto the roof of the net (45’).
‘Jong Oranje’ came out of the blacks with more gusto, although they still failed to put Germany’s defence under huge amounts of pressure. Kuntz’s men were still threatening, firstly through a long-range Schlotterbeck strike (56’). Shortly afterwards, something quite surreal happened. Berisha, who already hit the post in the first half, struck the woodwork twice more within 30 seconds. His left-footed drive and header moments later both unbelievably rebounded out (60’).
Despite Germany having more of the ball, the Netherlands got a goal to bring them back into the game. Peer Schuurs scored at the back post from a free-kick to provide them with hope (67’). As a result, Kuntz brought on attackers Jonathan Burkardt and Karim Adeyemi for Özcan and Wirtz.
With the Dutch going for it, Germany had to remain compact at the back to book their place in the final. Left-back David Raum narrowly cleared the bar on a counter (76’), while subs Burkardt and Adeyemi helped alleviate the pressure with good work up front. Aside from a disallowed goal late on for Boadu who was clearly offside, Germany held firm and saw home a huge win!