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Germany U21s find attack fully clipped by French in 0-1 loss

By Peter Weis   @PeterVicey

The internationals from Germany's highest youth level were in action on Friday against the French U21s in Magdeburg. 

Schalke midfielder Tom Krauß was able produce some inventive play for the German youths, but an attack that one might have expected better from found itself completely stymied in a 0-1 loss. 
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Photo: Steffen Prößdorf, CC BY-SA 4.0
In a Friday match in Magdeburg that had no bearing on qualification for the coming European U21 championship, Antonio Di Salvo's German U21s hosted a French youth squad that featured Bundesliga actors such as Georginio Rutter (Hoffenheim) and Manu Koné (Gladbach) and Nathan Ngoumou (also Gladbach) in the starting XI. Di Salvo's Juniors weren't able to get much going attacking-wise and dropped the fixture 0-1.

German U21 Bundestrainer Di Salvo had to do without several key players such as Kevin Schade, Josha Vagnoman, and squad captain Jonathan Burkardt. The head-coach of the country's top youth level nevertheless put together a respectable starting XI that featured many Bundesliga regular. Dortmund's Youssoufa Moukoko spearheaded the attack, flanked by Ansgar Knauff and Faride Alidou of Eintracht Frankfurt.

Working behind the top three, Köln's Jan Thielmann and Hoffenheim's Angelo Stiller, and Schalke's Tom Krauß worked in a midfield "stepping-stone". Each player occupied a solo axis in the 4-3-3. Gladbach's Luca Netz and recent BMG loan-out Jordan Beyer served as the fullbacks. German youth internationals working abroad Malick Thiaw and Yann Aurel Bisseck were the central defenders closing ranks ahead of keeper Noah Atubolu.

Both teams looked sharp in possession during the opening quarter-of-an-hour, with the French admittedly maintaining a slight optical advantage. As the half-hour approached, the hosts were able to press forward a bit and make some slight offensive pinpricks. The team had noticeable difficulty reaching Moukoko with the final ball. Krauß got the team's first shot on target in the 30th.

The final 15 minutes of the opening 45 still produced little from either side and proceedings broke off with the match deadlocked at an understandable goalless draw. Di Salvo's lads certainly came out with some vigor and intent after the restart, but Les Equipe Tricolore defending resolutely. The French were able to capitalize on a counterattack in the 52nd to opening the scoring.

In a flash, Wesley Fofana and Enzo Le Fee were able to get the ball upfield to Amine Gouiri. The Stade Rennes winger cut inside quickly and was able to flick a deft finish past both Beyer and Thiaw. The German hosts were shaken and had noticeable difficulty holding their shape for the rest of the match.

Of all the original players on the pitch, Krauß made the best impression with what he attempted to do in search of an equalizer. Felix Nmecha made the biggest impact of Di Salvo's substitutes, but couldn't really get much power behind a headed finish off a corner in the 74th. The DFB-XI weren't able to manage much else down the stretch and the final result fairly reflected their performance.

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