The German U21s have reached the semi-finals of an EM for the fourth time in a row. DFB coach Stefan Kuntz’s team defeated Denmark 6-5 on penalties in Szekesfehervar, Hungary, and will play against old rivals Netherlands on Thursday for the finals. After extra time it was 2: 2 (1: 1, 0: 0).
Fürth’s Paul Jaekel converted the decisive penalty after goalkeeper Finn Dahmen from FSV Mainz 05 parried twice. Lukas Nmecha from RSC Anderlecht (88th) had saved Germany in extra time after falling behind due to the 17-year-old Wahid Faghir (69th). There, the Mainz substitute Jonathan Burkhardt took the lead in the 100th minute, while Victor Nelsson (108th, penalty kick) equalized.
Kuntz could now be the first DFB coach to reach the final of a U21 European Championship for the third time in a row. Germany won the title in 2017 and only lost to Spain in the final in 2019. The DFB team started furiously against the Danes, who had previously been unbeaten for two years, but missed the best chances and had to tremble in the end. Against the Netherlands in Szekesfehervar an improvement has to be made. In the group stage, the two teams split 1: 1.
Direct passing game, supplemented with quick changes of sides
In front of 500 spectators, returning Florian Wirtz initially turned out to be the linchpin of the German game. “We have to get Flo with his strengths into play because he is simply a great kicker,” Kuntz said about the 18-year-old before kick-off. The youngest U21 national player in history, who was still with the senior national team during the group stage, demanded and skillfully distributed the ball. The DFB team barely gave the Danes, who have been unbeaten in 15 games, time to breathe. “We have extremely optimized the processes on the offensive,” said Kuntz after the not always stable appearances in March. The result was a direct passing game, supplemented with quick changes of sides.
While in Denmark the former Dortmund and Hoffenheimer Jacob Bruun Larsen got no sting, Germany pushed for the lead. The Salzburg resident could not use a soulful deposit of Nmecha on Mergim Berisha (20th). Until the break, the Danes slowly got better into the game, but missed their few chances miserably. The second half began for the DFB team with a moment of shock: Bruun Larsen ran after a counterattack to Finn Dahmen alone, but the Mainz parried brilliantly (49th). However, the German team did not get into the duels properly, the Danes had more possession. Bruun Larsen had to go out injured, Faghir came for him – and scored immediately. The son of Afghan parents, who once fled the Taliban, rounded Pieper and hit the net. Nmecha saved Germany with its third tournament goal in extra time, in which the game swayed back and forth.