U21 wins despite staff worries: double packer Burkardt shines
Created: 2022-03-25Updated: 2022-03-25 9:03 PM
Germany's Ansgar Knauff (M) cheers after the goal to 2:0.
© Fabian Strauch/dpa
Even almost a dozen failures do not slow down the German U21 selection in the European Championship qualification.
The hoped-for clear home win against Latvia succeeds.
Above all, captain Jonathan Burkardt stands out.
But the decisive duels are still ahead of the German team.
Aachen - Grinning, Antonio Di Salvo high-fived his U21 footballers, who then set out for a short lap of the stadium.
Led by double goal scorer Jonathan Burkardt, the German junior national team defied personnel worries and confidently solved their first mandatory task of the new year on the way to the European Championship ticket.
Coach Antonio Di Salvo's injury-plagued selection clearly won 4-0 (3-0) against Latvia in front of 7,718 spectators in Aachen on Friday.
However, there was no exuberant jubilation afterwards, because the duels in the qualifying triathlon with Israel and Poland are still to come for the injury-plagued selection.
With their sixth win in seven games, however, they consolidated their good starting position.
"It was a very nice game for us," said double goal scorer Jonathan Burkardt on ProSieben Maxx.
The numerous failures were not an issue in the team.
"We made the best of it," said the man from Mainz and looked confidently at the Israel game: "We gained self-confidence today and hope to win in Israel too."
Before the eyes of Bernd Neuendorf, who watched his first international match as DFB president in the stadium two weeks after his election, captain Burkardt from FSV Mainz 05 stood out from the German team and scored two goals (25th/43rd minute).
Eintracht Frankfurt's Ansgar Knauff made it 2-0 with his U21 debut goal (26'), while substitute Malik Tillman made it 4-0 (75').
The good U21 debutant Noah Atubolu in goal also saved a penalty (66th).
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With that, the defending champion retook first place in the group with 18 points ahead of Israel (16) and Poland (15).
The important duel in Israel is scheduled for Tuesday, followed by games against Hungary and in Poland in June.
Only the group winners and the best of nine runners-up directly buy the ticket for the finals in summer 2023 in Georgia and Romania, the other runners-up have to go to the playoffs.
Israel and Poland drew 2-2 on Thursday.
Di Salvo had to put up with almost a dozen cancellations from injured or ill players before the game.
The newly formed team, especially on the defensive, had some uncertainties in the early stages, but then found their way around better and better.
The young Germans put a lot of pressure on the Latvians, who were defending with a five-man chain, only missing a goal at first.
The hosts then pressed hard to take the lead after two errors in the Latvian defence.
After a strong ball conquest by Nuremberg's Tom Krauß, Burkardt remained cool in front of the opposing keeper.
Only about 30 seconds later, the strong Knauff raised after a mistake by Latvian Normunds Uldrikis.
The most beautiful goal of the evening came from Burkardt shortly before the break, who flicked a ball from the edge of the penalty area into the goal.
The opponent then only became dangerous with set pieces, but Freiburg's Atubolu saved well and even saved the penalty after a shove by Maximilian Bauer.
Tillman then set the final point.