Germany's U21 footballers have experienced the next EM disappointment and are about to be eliminated from the group stage for the first time since 2013.
Three days after the racism scandal surrounding Youssoufa Moukoko, coach Antonio Di Salvo's team lost their second European Championship game 1-2 (0-1) against the blatant outsiders Czech Republic on Sunday. In front of 5023 spectators - including DFB sporting director Rudi Völler - even a goal by Angelo Stiller (70th minute) was not enough. Vaclav Sejk (33rd) and Martin Vitik (87th) scored for the Czech Republic. Defending champions Germany are third in their group with just one point going into the final group game against England on Wednesday.
In order to avert the end, the German selection needs a win against fellow European Championship favorites England and at the same time has to hope for a success for the Israelis against the Czech Republic, in which Germany retains the better goal difference. Only then could the DFB team make it into the quarter-finals and thus keep the chance of qualifying for the 2024 Olympic Games in Paris.
After publicizing racist insults against himself and Jessic Ngankam on social media after the 1-1 draw with Israel, Moukoko was absent from the German starting lineup. The 18-year-old was plagued by muscular problems. Ngankam started for him, but the game largely missed him. Di Salvo took him off at the break.
Tough initial phase
After the draw at the start, the German team was already under pressure. She looked for the way forward in a controlled manner, but not much worked at first. The team only became dangerous, if at all, from a distance. Two long-range shots by Josha Vagnoman (5th/21st) and the follow-up shot by Kevin Schade (21st) were the best opportunities. Czech keeper Vitezslav Jaros deflected a free kick from Stiller around the post (14th).
Di Salvo paced tensely in his coaching zone, after a good 20 minutes he sent the first substitutes to warm up. The 44-year-old is the focus of attention in his first tournament as boss after Stefan Kuntz's successful era with two titles.
And then his team let themselves be countered by one of the weakest teams in the tournament. Denis Huseinbasic couldn't keep up after a corner of his own, Sejk only had to push the cross from the left into the goal from a short distance. At first, the German team didn't gasp.
Di Salvo had to react. In the second half he brought on three new players, including the 18-year-old Nelson Weiper from Mainz 05 for the weak Ngankam. However, the offensive efforts of the German team were still not really compelling. Di Salvo even got loud on the sidelines and seemed increasingly helpless.
Czechs meet after a corner
However, Weiper now provided some goal threat and after an hour he headed in and then shot in the direction of the Czech goal. 20 minutes before the end, Stiller scored the acclaimed equaliser. But even that wasn't enough in the end - because the Czechs scored again from a corner with a deflected ball. Despite the best chances, the German team was unable to equalize again in the final minutes.