After the disappointing start against Israel and the racist insults against two players, the German U21s want to get back to sports against the Czech Republic.
Midfielder Angelo Stiller summed it up: “We have a bit of work to do. We’re hot,” said Hoffenheim about Sunday’s game against the Czech Republic (listen live from 5:50 p.m.).
The brevity of his announcement is in contrast to the previous tournament from a German perspective. It feels like so much has already happened at this U21 European Championship in Georgia. The first German game, the two missed penalties, the disappointment of the 1-1. And then, of course, there were the racist insults against Youssoufa Moukoko and Jessic Ngankam, which pushed the sporting side of things into the background over the past two days.
Czech Republic similarly defensive as Israel
The processing of the racist insults went well, the incidents are no longer an issue, at least for athletic performance, coach Antonio Di Salvo hopes: “We have made our statement, clear and drastic in our choice of words. So that from now on we can only focus on be able to focus on the sport.”
In terms of sport, Sunday’s game should be similar to the one against Israel – the Czechs will also focus more on defensive work. “They will try to get deep and use their counterattacks. We have to play faster ourselves and invest even more in running deep,” said the coach. And above all: “We have to be more callous in the box.”
That was not the case against Israel, despite a clear superiority and a full half with one player. The first half against Israel should serve as a blueprint. “We had a good grip there, we were strong in a duel,” says Stiller: “We have to do the same now.”
Ticket for the 2024 Olympics in jeopardy
The much-cited “final” is not the game, but a win would make a lot of sense to keep the chance of a place in the knockout stages and the aspired ticket for the 2024 Olympic Games.
An advantage could be that the Czechs are under even more pressure than the Germans after the 2-0 defeat against fellow favorites England. In the event of a defeat, ex-national player Jan Suchoparek’s team is almost out of the preliminary round.
Völler travels to the second group game
With a total market value of almost 17 million euros, the neighboring German country has the weakest squad. In qualifying, however, the Czechs were convincing, with seven wins from ten games and the only two defeats against group winners England. In the playoffs, the Eastern Europeans prevailed against Iceland after two legs.
The German team will receive top-level support on Sunday. DFB sporting director Rudi Völler traveled to the stadium on Saturday evening to witness the second group game. The 63-year-old will stay until after the preliminary round. National coach Hansi Flick had also considered visiting the stars of tomorrow. According to the DFB, the national coach can only be expected to arrive for a possible semi-final at the earliest.