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U21 Championship Qualification
4 - 0
(3 - 0)
Germany U21
San Marino U21
M. Thiaw (14), E. Shuranov (15), J. Burkardt (34), J. Thielmann (62)

German U21s furnish respectable response with 4-0 win over San Marino

By Peter Vice   @ViceytheSS

Antonio Di Salvo's Germany U21 proved capable of providing an adequate response to last Friday's 0-4 defeat against Poland. 

Though it didn't require a great deal of effort, the country's top youth level were able to defeat San Marino by the same scoreline at FC Ingolstadt's Audi Sport Park on Tuesday evening. 
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Photo: Marco Verch
A response was expected and delivered on Tuesday evening in the home stadium of German second division side FC Ingolstadt 04. The German U21s were able to conclude 2021 on a high note, delivering a 4-0 defeat to San Marino in UEFA 2023 U21 European Championship Qualifying. SpVgg Greuther Fürth forward Jamie Leweling was unquestionably the man-of-the-match, factoring in three of the four goals.

Head-coach Antonio Di Salvo made five changes to the starting XI that suffered the unfortunate early collapse against Poland in Aspach on Friday night. In addition to switching out keeper Luca Philipp, the trainer had Luca Netz, Jan Thielmann, and Lars Lukas Mai take a seat. Jean Manuel Mbom was obviously unavailable due to his red card in the previous match. Keeper Nico Mantl (RB Salzburg), center halve Armel Bella Kotchap (VfL Bochum), fullback Noah Katterbach (FC Köln) midfielder Finn Ole Becker (FC St. Pauli), and attacker Jamie Leweling (SpVgg Greuther Fürth) were the new actors.

The 4-4-2 formation had to endure further changes before the fixture was five minutes old. Freiburg attacker Kevin Schade took a kick to the leg early. It was immediately apparent that the prospect could not continue. Dortmund's Ansgar Knauff--a relatively new addition to the team--came on for Schade in the 7th. The BVB youngster took up Schade's position on the right wing. Leweling served as the opposite winger behind a dual striker set of captain Jonathan Burkardt and Erica Shuranov.

Everyone performed on a manageable level. Plenty of offensive opportunities were generated before the home side grabbed a deserved lead in the 14th. Freiburg's Yannick Keitel extended a Leweling cross directly into the path of a lurking Malick Thiaw. The Schalke center back headed home for the 1-0. Within a minute, the German youths were able to double their advantage. Burkardt cleverly set up striking partner Shuranov in the 15th.

Di Salvo's men ensured that the visiting La Serenissima would get no offensive chances of their own, even if it took another 20 minutes to add to the lead. Captain Burkardt himself would tally in the 34th, finishing off a Leweling cross. Thiaw would unfortunately miss out on a chance for a scorer's brace with a hit off the post in the 39th.

The German trainer made two changes at the half, taking off striker Shuranov and makeshift right fullback Keitel for Thielmann and 19-year-old midfielder Eric Martel of Austria Wien. A resulting 4-2-3-1 re-format seemed more generally geared towards quietly administering the game. Substitute Thielmann grabbed the 4-0 in the 62nd. It was once again Leweling, consistently active on the flanks, supplying the assist. Knauff was denied his own tally by the post in the 86th.

The result ensures that the U21s conclude 2021 in first place in their 2023 European Championship qualifying group, though they remain ahead of Israel only on goal differential. The next competitive match for the squad comes in late March 2022.

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