By Peter Weis@PeterVicey

Keitel to captain Germany U21s against Japan

Germany U21 head-coach Antonio Di Salvo has confirmed that SC Freiburg midfielder Yannick Keitel will captain the squad in tomorrow's friendly against Japan. 
With the last Germany U21 international to don the captain's armband called up to the senior men's national team this week, the trainer of Germany's highest youth level found himself in need of a new skipper. Germany U21 head-coach Antonio di Salvo confirmed that SC Freiburg midfielder Yannick Keitel will inherit the captain's armband from the promoted Malick Thiaw at a Thursday presser.

Thiaw and Hoffenheim's Angelo Stiller were the two players asked to snap on the "C" in the absence of the squad's regular captain, Jonathan Burkardt of FSV Mainz 05. Keitel has been capped ten times for the U21s, starting as a sweeper in the squad's last two test fixtures. The 23-year-old has made 26 appearances across all competitions for his Bundesliga club this season, notching three assists in league and cup.

Di Salvo's next XI shall prove rather interesting as so many of his regulars have been called upon to audition for Bundestrainer Hansi Flick's senior side in the latest round of call-ups. Thiaw, Kevin Schade, Mërgim Berisha, Josha Vagnoman, and Felix Nmecha are all under Flick's aegis this time. Di Salvo is also missing regulars Burkardt, Marton Dardai, Jan Thielmann, and Maximilian Bauer to injury.

Former starter Lazar Samardzic has - joining the likes of Malik Tillman and Josip Stanisic - opted to switch allegiance and represent another country. In all likelihood talented up-and-coming young stars like Florian Wirtz, Youssoufa Moukoko, Karim Adeyemi, Armel Bella-Kotchap and Jamal Musiala are never headed back to the U21s.

"It's about replenishment," di Salvo remarked at his presser, "They [the players] must demonstrate that they can adhere to our plan. Everyone will get a chance to prove themselves through these many absences."

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