Petas Tekoa (dpa) – Coach Antonio de Salvo with the Germany U-21 national team after half a year in charge is on the cusp of his first achievement.
With a bit of luck, his selection at Petah Tikoa won the first match of the European Championship qualifier against Israel and only needed one point out of two matches to get a live European Championship ticket. Without captain Jonathan Burckhardt, who was injured at short notice, the German Football Association youth found it difficult to win 1-0 (0-0), but eventually achieved an important victory in the first group duel.
With a five-point lead over Israel and six over third-placed Poland, the DFL juniors from the two games against Hungary and Poland in June lost a point to secure first place and thus the direct ticket. Even in second place in the group, the team still has a chance to take part in the 2023 tournament in Georgia and Romania via qualifying, where the U-21 team wants to defend the title of their predecessors.
The German national team was committed to the first duel against Israel, but in the match, they lacked speed and ideas for a long time. In the middle of the best stage for the Israelis, Caterbach scored a tough victory.
Di Salvo had to endure a setback even before kick-off: Mainz’s Burkhardt, who has been very strong recently, was out for a short while because he cut himself during the warm-up. Jan Tillmann from Cologne took his place in the starting line-up. Despite this setback, the visitors started to focus and had more possession of the ball, and above all, the chances were better to score than the standard positions. But Israel has always been dangerous in a game of rapid transformation.
The violent confrontation did not provide any clear chances to score in the first half. The German team found it difficult to constantly defend the Israelis and deal with them aggressively. There was a lack of ideas and movement in the game, which is why Di Salvo’s team could hardly create any danger in front of the opponent’s goal, except for set pieces.
After the break, the owners of the land became bolder and got better opportunities. The German Football Association team was lucky not to be left behind. Then the DFB rookies used their first really good attack of the match to take the lead: Caterbach scored from close range on the left after a superb attack from Thielmann to make it 1-0. Israel tried to find an answer, but with a solid fighting performance and a bit of luck, DFB-Elf made it 1-0 over time.
© dpa-infocom, dpa: 220329-99-720008 / 2