The German U21 dominated at the start of the European Championship qualification in Kosovo, but missed the best chances. In Youssoufa Moukoko, a player who had disappointed at the European Championships in the summer makes the team celebrate.
Youssoufa Moukoko has increased his impressive goal rate and given the German U21 national team a successful start to the European Championship qualification.
Borussia Dortmund’s attacking talent led Antonio Di Salvo’s team to victory in the 3-0 (0-0) win in Kosovo with two goals (74th/78th minute). The third goal was scored by Colin Kleine-Beckel from Kiel (89th). A good two months after the botched European Championship, the German Football Association team completely dominated the game against defensive hosts, but initially missed their best chance of taking the lead.
“Overall I’m happy. We showed the willingness and passion we needed,” said Di Salvo. In Moukoko, one of three professionals in the squad who had already been part of the squad for the preliminary round exit at the European Championships scored. The 18-year-old, like the entire team in Georgia, had played a weak tournament, but now increased his impressive goal quota with goals number seven and eight in the eighth U21 game. “Youssoufa is an important player, not just because he scores goals,” praised Di Salvo.
Di Salvo expected a “gambler mentality”
The U21s continue in October with the qualifying double pack away against Bulgaria and the highly rated Israelis. Other opponents are Poland and Estonia. Only the group winner is guaranteed to qualify for the 2025 tournament in Slovakia.
The expected game developed in Pristina: outsiders Kosovo defended deeply with a five-man chain, Germany controlled the game. The guests repeatedly combined forward with deep passes. But the precision was still missing for a significant finish. On the other hand, Kosovo’s selection rarely showed the “gambling mentality” Di Salvo expected. The outsider mostly remained harmless up front.
Kleine-Bekel brings the final point
The best opportunities for the superior DFB selection came from set pieces: Fürth’s Tim Lemperle aimed too high from close range after a corner (32′). Especially after the break, Germany pushed hard for the lead. Moukoko hit the side netting (47th). Lemperle’s shot after a nice through ball from Dortmund was deflected onto the post, Merlin Röhl put the follow-up shot next to the goal (50th).
The game now became more and more of a game of patience. The hosts, who defended extremely hard at times, hardly provided any relief at all. In the final phase it was Moukoko who made the difference: the striker scored impressively with a shot from a corner and after a feint from close range. Defender Kleine-Bekel then scored the final point with a header from a ceiling.
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