News : U21-EM 2021: Trembling towards the goal – DFB juniors as group runners-up in the quarter-finals
The post of the game: Stand from a TV perspective at the top of the left gate of the Budapest Bozsik Aréna. And he saved twice brilliantly: First, the aluminum bar prevented Romania’s Alexandru Matan from taking an early lead (4th minute), later it also parried Lukas Nmecha’s hand penalty (72nd). All in all, a sovereign performance of the goal post, which was also the focus of the late Amos Pieper’s headball (90th).
The result: Germany and Romania had to be content with a 0-0 draw. That was enough for the Germans to move into the quarter-finals, but not for the Romanians. Read the match report here.
The other result: As lively as the German-Romanian zero number was, there was a lot more going on in Group A’s parallel game. There the Netherlands overtook Germany and Romania thanks to a 6-1 (1-0) win over co-hosts Hungary, Oranje stormed to group victory – with a three-fold tie. In the end, only the number of wins against Hungary decided on first, second and third place.
The first half: Started wild, with Romanians who dared to approach the Germans early on. Keeper Finn Dahmen failed in the previous group game, the outsider wanted to force such a scene again with high pressing. However, after the early shot from the post, Romania did not succeed much forward, but central defender Alexandru Pascanu had to save in dire need against Mateo Klimowicz’s Lupfer (24th) and Mërgim Berisha’s shot from six, seven meters (42nd).
Pascanu’s second chance: By the way, Pascanu is a U21 veteran. The defender was already at the European Championship two years ago when Romania sensationally threw England out of the tournament and only failed in the semi-finals to Germany. At 2: 4 at the time, Pascanu flew off the field in stoppage time. This time, too, it wasn’t enough to get ahead, but it wasn’t because of Pascanu.
The second half: Rather, it was because the Romanians never really managed to put the German goal in danger. That did not change with free kicks just before the penalty area border, that did not change with the fact that in the German midfield, especially the ailing Arne Maier, the strength was noticeably dwindling. Adrian Petre blocked a German free kick with an extended arm in his own penalty area, and the penalty kick landed on the post as is well known. Another extended arm, that of keeper Andrei Vlad, saved the draw against Jonathan Burkardt (75th).
Belgian chocolate side: The German U21s are not blessed with child prodigies and super talents at this tournament. Which is not to say that the players lack talent – only the big up-and-coming stars like Kai Havertz or Florian Wirtz already play in the senior national team, while the top performers in the juniors often don’t even play in the Bundesliga. In the group stage, it was precisely these players that drew attention to themselves: Nmecha already proved his goal risk despite a penalty missed, and in the final group game Niklas Dorsch was named man of the game after a pig-beginner performance. Dorsch plays in Gent, Nmecha in Anderlecht – the axis of the German game is a Belgian one.
Everything is there: A child prodigy and super talent – or, more down-to-earth, a highly talented young striker – was only allowed to watch the last game from the bench: a painful bruise in the shin pushed Youssoufa Moukoko from the intended joker to the role of the spectator. As a precaution, the 16-year-old stayed with the team, but without commitment. The division of the EM could be a blessing for Moukoko: By the time it continues at the end of May, the injury will most certainly have subsided.
The purpose of the break: Speaking of the end of May: It is not customary to interrupt a major tournament for two months. The two-part series had become necessary due to the corona pandemic: Due to the “big” European Championship, which was postponed to 2021, the juniors had to rearrange themselves in order to avoid an overlap in the summer. So the tournament was brought forward to the two previous international breaks.
Strategically wise failure: It is still unclear against whom the German quarter-finals will take place. In retrospect, the missed group victory may prove to be an easier path to the final: Top favorite France is in Group C, against whose group winners the DFB team will compete, only in second place before the last matchday. Instead of against Europe’s best talent manufacturer in recent years, it could go against Denmark if the Danes don’t lose their last group game against Russia on Wednesday evening.