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

Ridle Baku turns the screws in 3-0 victory for German U21s

The Germany U21 squad got their 2021 European Championship campaign off to a winning start with a 3-0 win over Hungary on Wednesday. After a somewhat sluggish first-half, Stefan Kuntz's lads exploded for three goals in a 12-minute-span. 

Undisputed man-of-the-match Ridle Baku was involved in all three tallies, netting a brace and bagging an assist. 
Stefan Kuntz selected an interesting starting XI for his team's first Euro match in Székesfehérvár, Hungary on Wednesday evening. Only four players--Ridle Baku, Nico Schlotterbeck, Jonathan Burkardt, and Amos Pieper--feature regularly as Bundesliga starters. By far the biggest surprise was in goal, where young Finn Dahmen ended up getting the nod over more experienced keepers Markus Schubert and Lennart Grill. 

Perpetually loaned-out Manchester City prospect Lukas Nmecha served as lead striker, spearheading a 4-2-3-1 with Baku and Burkardt on the wings. Salzburg's Mergim Berisha occupied the ten spot, buttressed by captain Arne Maier and Gent's Niklas Dorsch in defensive midfield. Hamburger SV's Josha Vagnoman and Greuther Fürth's David Raum started as fullbacks opposite center-halves Schlotterbeck and Pieper. 

Kuntz's matchplan over the course of the first-half appeared focused on securing possession via Maier's midfield axis. Limited lateral distribution saw the fullbacks get forward on a few occasions, but no one was able to ultimately service Nmecha adequately in the box. After a promising initial ten minutes, the young crew appeared to have difficulty maintaining their concentration on build up play. The first half concluded absent a true chance.

Baku slowly worked himself into the game after the restart, carving out space on the right flank and working a few crosses in. Eventually, he was able to locate Nmecha with a precise in swinger five meters out. The current VfL Wolfsburg star found that he had served one of his current club's failed loans for the opening goal in the 61st minute. 

The 0-0 deadlock broken, Kuntz's prospect squad played much looser. Baku himself scored five minutes later, stroking in a fine Raum cross for the 2-0 lead. A third goal seemed inevitable as the "Jungs" enthusiastically poured forward. Berisha found himself unlucky to hit the post twice in the 73rd minute. Baku was thankfully on hand to finally toe home the second rebound. 

After the third goal, the substitutes began to pour on and there was precious little football to report upon. Mateo Klimowicz, Salih Özcan, and Ismail Jakobs all made non-impactful appearances. Youssoufa Moukoko unfortunately wasn't even on the bench squad, withdrawing late due to a minor injury. 

Next up for the U21 squad, it's Holland on Saturday evening in the second group stage match. The Dutch drew their opening match against Romania 1-1.

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