Europe: Euro U21
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Hungary U21
Germany U21
L. Nmecha (61), R. Baku (66), R. Baku (73)
By Peter Weis@PeterVicey

Kuntz names Arne Maier captain for Euro opener, leaves goalkeeping choice open

Stefan Kuntz and the German U21 squad landed in Hungary on Sunday evening and completed their first full team training session the very next day. 

Ahead of the first group stage game in the U21 European Championship against Hungary on Wednesday, head-coach named 22-year-old defensive midfielder Arne Maier his captain. 

Kuntz left the question of his starting goalkeeper open. 
Hertha Berlin's Arne Maier, currently out on loan at Armina Bielefeld, will presumably don the captain's armband as the German U21s take to the pitch in Székesfehérvár on Wednesday evening. Kuntz opted to end speculation on his choice of captain early, though he declined to commit to a starting goalkeeper.

Maier featured earned only two starts for former Bielefeld trainer Uwe Neuhaus. Since Frank Kramer took the reins at the DSC, the 22-year-old has featured in the club's starting XI four times. It is rumored that Neuhaus' reticence in using Maier was one of the main reasons the club management opted to part company with its head-coach. 

"In general, we have a captain in Arne Maier," national team trainer said of the youngster who has already earned 45 caps at the German youth level, "but we also have a leadership circle within the team. If Arne doesn't play, someone else will do it." 

Kuntz remained tight-lipped about his potential choice as a #1 goalkeeper. His most experienced net minder, Lennart Grill of Bayer 04 Leverkusen, has had some issues in the Bundesliga in recent weeks. The lad assigned the #1 jersey, Markus Schubert of Eintracht Frankfurt, hasn't logged a single league minute this year. 

The Hungarian team is missing some preferred players due to injury and COVID-related absences. Kuntz nevertheless warned against underestimating the squad's first opponent. 

"In the first match, we have to concentrate completely on ourselves," Kuntz noted, "Regardless of who they put on the pitch, their mentality won't be such that we'll be allowed to cruise to three points.," 

The German U21s last won the European Championship in 2017. In the last edition of the competition (2019), Kuntz's team fell 1-2 to Spain in the final.

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