Updated March 24, 2021, 11:06 am
- The German U21 national team will start the European Championship on Wednesday
- Trainer Stefan Kuntz led the German junior national team into the final of the last two European championships and won the title once
- We introduce the most promising talents of the U21s
Can the German U21 national team continue their streak of success? In 2017 national coach Stefan Kuntz led the German U21 national team to victory in the European Championship. Two years later, the young German soccer players made it to the final.
At the upcoming U21 European Championship in Slovenia and Hungary, the DFB team is daring a new attempt. The specialty: the tournament will be held in two parts. The group stage will take place from March 24th to March 31st. The knockout games will follow from May 31st.
In order to reach the quarter-finals, the DFB selection in Group A must take 1st or 2nd place. In the preliminary round, Germany will face Hungary (Wednesday, 9:00 p.m., ProSieben), the Netherlands (March 27, 9:00 p.m., ProSieben) and Romania (March 30, 6:00 p.m., ProSieben).
These talents are likely to play a key role:
Youssoufa Moukoko: The talent of the century
He is only 16 years old and still the great hope of German football. Youssoufa Moukoko from Borussia Dortmund is considered one of the greatest talents in world football. On November 21, one day after his birthday, he made his debut for BVB and became the youngest Bundesliga player of all time. He has scored three goals since then.
“With Youssoufa we have an extraordinary talent in Germany that we want to promote carefully and in line with performance,” says U21 coach Stefan Kuntz. Moukoko is originally from Cameroon, came to Germany at the age of ten and began his football career with the offspring of FC St. Pauli.
Ridle Baku: The senior international
Ridle Baku is the only player in the U-21 national team who has already played for the senior national team under national coach Joachim Löw. On November 11, 2020, he made his debut in a 1-0 win against the Czech Republic and played the full 90 minutes. The VfL Wolfsburg player can be used flexibly and can act both as a right-back and as a midfielder.
Its strengths: it is fast and effective. In the current Bundesliga season he has five goals and four assists. The 22-year-old’s first name is actually Bote Nzuzi. Because his father always called him Ridle in reference to the former national player Karl-Heinz Riedle, he had this nickname entered on his identity card.
Mateo Klimowicz: The player with four nationalities
The midfielder of VfB Stuttgart was spoiled for choice with the national team. According to Stefan Kuntz, he could have played for four different nations – for Spain, Argentina, Poland and Germany.
The reason: His father, the former professional Diego Klimowicz, is Argentinian, but also has a Spanish passport. Mateo also has Polish descent through his great-grandfather. However, he grew up in Germany and therefore has a German passport.
The 20-year-old attacking midfielder has played 21 Bundesliga games for VfB Stuttgart this season, scoring one goal and three assists.
Jonathan Burkardt: The Social Media Denier
For almost all young professionals, everyday life is unimaginable without social media. Jonathan Burkardt is an exception. The offensive player of 1. FSV Mainz 05 is not present on Instagram, Facebook or Twitter.
The 20-year-old made this decision consciously. “I don’t want to immerse myself in this illusory world with on the one hand much too positive feedback, on the other hand also totally negative feedback. The people there want to show the perfect picture of themselves. I don’t have to have that,” he revealed in the interview dfb.de.
There would certainly be enough football fans who would follow him. Burkardt has played 24 Bundesliga games this season and is one of the most experienced players in the U21 national team.
Robert Lewandowski and Cristiano Ronaldo are his role models: “Lewandowski is the attacker who is the best central center forward in all areas. I also totally admire Cristiano Ronaldo, as he continues to do top performances after all these years in business retrieve. “
Lukas Nmecha: Pep Guardiola’s ex-trainee
Lukas Nmecha was already part of the German U21 national team when it reached the final of the 2019 European Championship. The 22-year-old striker was born in Hamburg, but emigrated to England with his family when he was nine. Even in elementary school he was scouted by the top English club Manchester City and trained there.
In spring 2018 he played two games in the Premier League under Pep Guardiola. Nmecha reported to dfb.de that the star coach always took a lot of time for him: “Guardiola treats a young player like me as much as he does with the experienced players. He loves to watch his team play beautiful and effective football to let.”
He currently plays for RSC Anderlecht and has scored 13 goals in 28 games.
Lennart Grill: The haven of peace between the posts
Lennart Grill came from the offspring of 1. FSV Mainz 05, was a regular goalkeeper at 1. FC Kaiserslautern in the 3rd division and is now a Bundesliga player for Bayer 04 Leverkusen. In the absence of the injured Lukas Hradecky, he played his first games in the first division on the last four days of the Bundesliga.
Grill is not a goalkeeper of the Oliver Kahn type who wants to loudly influence the people in front of him. It is more important to him to exude sovereignty. “I’m the kind of guy who is calmer and tries to bring calm into the team because I believe that a lot can be compensated for when things get a bit hectic,” he explains . “In the end, it’s my job to broadcast that to the team.”
- dfb.de: Kuntz with four newcomers to the EM group stage in Hungary
- dfb.de: Burkardt: “The U21 European Championship is going to be a huge event”
- dfb.de: Wolfsburg’s Nmecha: “We can hold out against Leipzig”
- kicker.de: Hradecky before comeback against Schalke – Grill in conflict
Jogi Löw, somewhat surprisingly, announced his resignation as national coach after the EM 2020. This is how the football world reacts.