U21 Championship Qualification
0 - 3
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Kosovo U21
Germany U21
Y. Moukoko (74), Y. Moukoko (78), C. Kleine-Bekel (89)
By Peter Weis@PeterVicey

Di Salvo reflects on qualifying opener for U21s: "We have some exciting guys with us."

Speaking to German broadcaster "Pro7MAXX" after his DFB-Juniors squad began their 2025 UEFA U21 European Championship qualification campaign with a 3-0 victory, Germany U21 head-coach Antonio di Salvo declared himself optimistic about the future prospects of the country's top-youth level. 
Whilst the senior German men's national team find themselves in total disarray exiting the September international break, the German U21s were able to bounce back from their disappointing performance in this past summer's UEFA U21 European Championship and defeat two opponents by a combined 5-0 scoreline. Antonio di Salvo's squad bested the Ukraine 2-0 in a friendly last Friday night. The new-look U21s also began their 2025 UEFA European Championship qualification campaign with a 3-0 victory over Kosovo yesterday in Pristina.

The win featured a scorer's brace from Dortmund striker Youssoufa Moukoko. New call-up Brajan Gruda of FSV Mainz 05 was involved in all three goals. Rising talents Nick Woltemade and Maximilian Beier turned in solid games. Another fresh call-up, central defender Colin Kleine-Bekel of Holstein Kiel, also netted a goal shortly before time. Despite the fact that all three of Germany's tallies came in the final 15 minutes, di Salvo declared himself pleased with the overall work of his lads over the course of the full 90.

"We knew it would be a difficult game," di Salvo told German broadcaster "Pro7 MAXX" during a pitch-side post-match interview last night, "That also had something to do with the fact that the pitch conditions weren't that great, "We missed out the chance to play more up-tempo from the start. The belief that it would work out eventually was there. The belief that, if we remained stable, chances would come our way [was there]."

Di Salvo reserved some specific praise for the work of Kleine-Bekel, Woltemade, and Gruda. Asked whether or not he might consider pairing Woltemade with Moukoko in a two-striker set during the October fixtures, the national team trainer noted that this could be "a possibility". In any event, di Salvo's body language suggested total satisfaction. A dominant win was only slightly marred by the fact that captain Eric Martel had to depart early with an Achilles injury.

"I'm glad I got an opportunity to observe a lot of players," di Salvo concluded, "This is the first time we had this team together. I'm really looking forward to the next break because we have some exciting guys with us."

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