For the German U21 national team, the international year ends on Tuesday (November 21st, 2023) with the summit meeting against Poland. “A real top game for first place in the table awaits us against this high-class team,” says DFB coach Antonio Di Salvo before the encounter in Essen (6 p.m./live ticker at sportschau.de).
The coach can once again plan with Mönchengladbach football professional Luca Netz. “The entire squad is available. Luca Netz wasn’t feeling particularly well on Friday due to a cold, but he has fully recovered in the last few days. So all players are fit for the duel against Poland.”said Di Salvo on Monday evening.
Only the first in the group will safely go to the final round
Both teams have not lost any points in the European Championship qualification. Poland leads the group with four wins from four games, Germany is second with three wins from three games. With another win, the DFB team would overtake Poland, because in the event of a tie, the direct comparison counts.
Because only the group winner qualifies directly for the finals, Di Salvo also calls the game “groundbreaking” and relies on the fans: “With the audience behind us, we want to take another step towards the European Championships.”
The nine group winners and the three best runners-up will play in the final tournament, which will take place in Slovakia in 2025. The six remaining group runners-up will compete in playoffs to determine the final three participants.
Much praise for the opponent
“Poland is the strongest opponent in the group and has deservedly won all of its games so far. The Polish team has a very good organization on the field and they are able to hold up well physically, which is why they have only conceded one goal in the European Championship qualification so far “said Di Salvo, “They have expanded the squad with players who have already gained experience in the senior team. This will definitely be a great task for us. Little things, like individual duels, will decide the game.”
After the 4-1 win against Estonia, the coach left open the possibility of changes to the starting eleven. “Anything is possible. The players who played against Estonia did well. As a coaching team, it is our job to put together a starting eleven that we have the best feeling about.”said the 44-year-old.
The German U21 still has a score to settle with the Poles: Germany and Poland had already met in the last European Championship qualifier, in November 2021 the DFB team lost clearly 0:4 in Großaspach, and after just 15 minutes it was 0:3 . It was the U21’s only defeat in the last 15 qualifying games – with 14 wins. “We won in the second leg in Poland, that was the first step”says winger Tim Lemperle from SpVgg Greuther Fürth.
The 2-1 win in Lodz on June 7, 2022 was particularly painful for the Poles, as it prevented them from taking part in the European Championship playoffs on the last match day. “Our clear goal is to beat Poland at home too”says Lemperle. What won’t be easy: Poland is currently unbeaten in ten matches, and in the European Championship qualification there were four wins and 11:1 goals.