The German U21 national team started the European Championship year with a turbulent draw against Japan.
DFB coach Antonio Di Salvo’s team had to settle for a 2-2 (1-1) draw in Frankfurt in front of national coach Hansi Flick and DFB director Rudi Völler. Before the title defense mission in June, the German selection revealed room for improvement, especially defensively.
U21 debutant Jessic Ngankam from Hertha BSC with a penalty kick (40th) and Denis Huseinbasic (49th) from 1. FC Köln scored in front of 6161 spectators for the European champions, who had to do without supports like Malick Thiaw and Felix Nmecha, nominated by Flick.
Because Kein Sato (43rd) and Mao Hosoya (46th) even gave the visitors the lead at one point, there was no win for a German U21 in the third attempt against Japan either. The EM dress rehearsal for the DFB team follows on Tuesday in Romania.
Before the game, Di Salvo recalled the senior national team’s 2-1 draw against Japan at the World Cup in Qatar. Appropriately warned, his team tackled the task, disrupting the technically strong Asians with high effort early on, but was too careless with their chances. Local hero Faride Alidou from Eintracht Frankfurt should only have pushed in, but missed (9th).
Penalty breaks the spell
A penalty broke the spell: Ngankam was fouled, kicked himself and hit low in the right corner. For the 22-year-old it was the first goal in the first game for the U21s. Because a little later Sato was allowed to head in undisturbed to the delight of the small Japanese fan colony, the score went 1-1 at the break.
A few seconds after the change of sides, Simon Asta (SpVgg Greuther Fürth), who had just come on, made a terrible start when his back pass, which was too short, made it 1:2. Asta made up for his mistake, however, when he set up the equalizer for Huseinbasic shortly afterwards.