SV Werder Bremen striker Nick Woltemade came off the bench to help the Germans overcome a 0-1 halftime deficit with a goal and an assist. Captain Eric Martel and Freiburg talent Merlin Röhl also notched tallies.
|Nick Woltemade||Nick Woltemade|
Antonio di Salvo’s Germany U21 side have maintained their perfect record in the qualifying campaign for the 2025 UEFA U21 European Championship after topping Poland 3-1 at the Stadion an der Hafenstraße in Essen. The youngsters representing Germany at the highest youth level battled back from a 0-1 half-time deficit to win their fifth consecutive match since this summer’s disappointing showing in the 2023 U21 tournament.
Head-coach di Salvo made just one change to the side that delivered a convincing victory over Estonia on Friday. Holstein Kiel’s Colin Kleine-Beckel replaced Fortuna Düsseldorf’s Jamil Siebert in central defense. The team maintained its 4-1-4-1 shape from the previous qualifying encounter. The German opponents on the day were captained by VfL Wolfsburg winger Jakub Kaminski and lined up in a 3-4-3.
Some sloppiness and nerviness was apparent in both sides during the opening quarter-of-an-hour in Essen. The German hosts generated a decent double chance through Brajan Gruda and Ansgar Knauff in the 14th. Apart from that, there wasn’t much of note going on. A promising solo run from Youssoufa Moukoko in the 19th went nowhere when the Dortmund professional couldn’t find a colleague.
Poland themselves weren’t dangerous at all until a pair of corners in the 23rd and 24th. Unfortunately for di Salvo’s side, Freiburg keeper Noah Atubolu’s brilliant save on the initial set-piece counted for nothing. Polish defender Ariel Mosor finished off the second corner for the 1-0 lead. Gruda was the German marker culpable for losing his man.
The Germans appeared visibly dazed after conceding the opening goal and weren’t really able to get back in the game over the course of the first-half’s duration. Instead, a series of errors at the back actually nearly led to the guests doubling their advantage on three separate occasions. Di Salvo reacted to the ineffectiveness of his team by freshening up the attack.
SV Werder Bremen’s Nick Woltemade replaced TSG 1899 Hoffenheim striker Maximilian Beier at the break. While the German attack continued to sputter, di Salvo’s defenders certainly appeared more alert, snuffing out Polish charges and counters. The equalizer came off a set-piece in the 56th. DFB skipper Eric Martel pounced on a the rebound of a free-kick Moukoko sent into the wall for the 1-1.
Just as he did on Friday, di Salvo turned to Borussia Mönchengladbach rising talent Rocco Reitz off the bench shortly after the hour mark. The scorer of a brace against Estonia made an immediate impact, testing the Polish keeper with a sharp effort in the 66th seconds after his introduction. Spurned on by this, the DFB-XI were very active in the search for a winner down the stretch.
The 2-1 finally came in the 79th. Merlin Röhl did an excellent job unlocking defender Nathaniel Brown just outside the area. Brown passed to a wide-open Woltemade inside the box. The Bremen striker fired home an emphatic finish. Three minutes after that, it was Röhl’s turn to score. Woltemade returned the favor by making a strong run, drawing coverage, and crossing over to Röhl for the 3-1 in the 82nd.
The scoreline held and the German youths are now level with Poland atop their qualifying group on 12 points. The DFB squad – courtesy of the fact that a match against the Israeli U21s over the previous international break – have a game at hand. The result also ensures a plus-one goal-differential lead over their rivals.