Germany became the new Under-21 Champions of Europe by beating Spain 1-0 in Friday night’s final in Krakow, Poland.
A perfectly weighted, flicked header from Mitchell Weiser was enough to win the game for Stefan Kuntz’ men that did a stellar job in frustrating Spain on the night.
The Germans remained compact and disciplined throughout and with Janik Haberer mopping up any loose change behind the midfield four in front, the game was swaying in Germany’s favour.
Effectively, it was a midfield seven for Kuntz with full backs Jermey Toljan and Yannick Gerhardt stepping forward in order to swap and suffocate any pockets of space that Marco Asensio and Saul Niguez have so often benefitted from.
When Dani Ceballos failed to stop a Toljan cross on the stroke of half-time, Weiser nicked infront of Jesus Vallejo and guided a sublime header over the stranded Kepa in goal and into the far corner to give the Germans the lead.
Albert Celades introduced Jose Gaya early in the second period and with the Valencia wing-back marauding forwards, La Furia Roja were trying a new dynamic.
However, without any real threat of a talisman getting in behind the German backline, the game remained compact and the men in white were in control.
Sandro Ramirez was neat and tidy when dropping into deep areas as to link up play, yet this wasn’t to any avail for Spain who were finding pathways to the final third hard to come by and the game was played out in a space of 40-yards. Germany were comfortable and something had to give.
It wasn’t until the 70th minute that Spain boss Albert Celades introduced Inaki Williams in order to make runs in behind and stretch the game, opening up the spaces for Madrid-men Asensio and Saul. Yet Spain were unwilling to play directly until the final five minutes when longer, more hopeful balls were hit into channels.
Germany saw it out quite comfortably in the end and as the final whistle blew the men in red sank to their knees in distraught below the Polish rain.
Having the player of the tournament (Ceballos) and the gold and silver boot winners in Saul and Asensio in the team did zilch towards lifting the heads of the Spanish players that watched on dejectedly as Kuntz and his players lifted the trophy.
The German coach had done his homework and with every man in white carrying out their tasks to perfection, Germany were worthy champions.