A.Stefan Kuntz didn’t even want to think about the big endgame challenge. “Tonight we’re enjoying a really great semifinal,” said the German national soccer coach after reaching the third finals with his U21s in a row. Not until Friday will he start thinking about Portugal, which is the German final opponent on Sunday (9:00 pm at ProSieben) in Ljubljana, Slovenia and so far the outstanding team of the tournament.
“For me, it’s about winning the tournament. I don’t really care who scores in the end, ”said Florian Wirtz, who recently turned 18, who paved the way for the final with his two goals in a 2-1 (2-0) semi-final against the Netherlands .
There, the most important junior selection of the German Football Association wants to crown itself champion in this age group for the third time after 2009 and 2017. “I think the team has no limits,” said defender Nico Schotterbeck, and Kuntz praised: “This team spirit, this team spirit, that’s already outstanding.” The “balanced squad” is also an advantage of the current U-21 generation.
Kuntz happy after reaching the final
The team around Wirtz and Ridle Baku, who are the only ones who have already gained experience in the senior national team, only very few would have expected the final or even the title. “The teams that were rated higher in terms of market value are all at home,” said Kuntz. “I think the guys have already shown that they have a lot of talent.”
Also for Kuntz, who had long been treated as the new national coach after the announced departure from Joachim Löw, the third final of his third tournament is an extraordinary success. “The job fits, my coaching team fits, my staff fits,” he said. “Apparently I’m in the right place at the right moment.”
In any case, Kuntz and his team’s match plan worked against the Netherlands: With the first attack, Wirtz scored the 1-0 (1st minute) after 29 seconds and at the same time cracked the record for the fastest goal in a U-21 European Championship. Seven minutes later he followed up (8th), the connection of Perr Schuurs (67th) had no more consequences.
“It’s just an indescribable feeling and it’s great that I was able to give this to the guys today,” said Wirtz. Defender David Raum added: “We had a great match schedule. It was our goal to surprise the Dutch and that worked. “
The German team lost 2-1 to Spain in the 2019 European Championship final. Instead of a revenge, it is now a duel with Portugal, which with twelve goals is the best offensive of the tournament so far and won 1-0 in the semifinals against Spain. But the young team is also tackling this task with confidence. Raum promised: “Now we have to throw everything in again against Portugal in the final.”