Head coach Stefan Kuntz has named his Germany U-21 squad ahead of the European Championship qualifiers against Moldova (October 9, 18:15 CEST) and Bosnia and Herzegovina (October 13, 18:15 CEST). The team will travel to the Moldovan capital of Chisinau before returning to Germany to face Bosnia and Herzegovina in Fürth.
The 23-man squad contains four new faces, amongst them 17 year old talent Florian Wirtz (Bayer 04 Leverkusen), Linton Maina (Hannover 96), Lars Lukas Mai (SV Darmstadt 98) and David Raum (SpVgg Greuther Fürth). Felix Agu (SV Werder Bremen) and Niklas Dorsch (KAA Gent) return to the squad.
Stefan Kuntz must do without the injured Arne Maier (Hertha BSC), Josha Vagnoman (Hamburger SV) and Ismail Jakobs (1.FC Köln). Amos Pieper (Arminia Bielefeld) will also miss the first fixture as he serves a suspension after being sent off last time out. Luca Kilian, who signed for 1-FSV Mainz 05 ahead of the 2020/21 season, will take no part after discussions with the player and his club.
“The requirements for our last three qualifiers are obvious,” said Stefan Kuntz. “After the two defeats to Belgium we know that we now need three wins to have a chance of qualifying for the Euros. The lads have now played the first few competitive matches for their clubs and will have a better rhythm than they did in September, so we are confident of achieving our goals. We have analysed the Belgium match comprehensively and I am sure that we can learn from the experience.”
“We are happy that we can have Florian Wirtz with us, after it didn’t work out in September,” said Kuntz of his squad selection. “The same goes for Linton Maina, who we have been following for a long time now. He has suffered a few injury setbacks, but we are really excited about him. In the case of Luca Kilian, we have listened to the wishes of the player and his club, and they don’t want Luca to miss out on these early stages under a new manager. We already have three other Mainz players in the squad in Ridle Baku, Jonathan Burkardt and Finn Dahmen.”
Germany U-21s currently occupy second place in their qualifying group, with nine points from five matches (three wins, two defeats) Belgium sit at the top of the table with ten points from their five games. The final match of qualifying will take place on November 17 against Wales in Braunschweig.
Due to the coronavirus pandemic, the UEFA executive committee has decided to hold the 2021 U-21 European Championship in two separate stages. The group stage will take place between March 24-31, 2021, with 16 teams divided into four groups. The top two sides from each group will progress to the knock-out stages, which will be played between May 31 and June 6, 2021. The qualification process is scheduled to finish in November, and the final tournament will be hosted by Slovenia and Hungary.
Eike Bansen (SV Zulte-Waregem), Finn Dahmen (1.FSV Mainz 05), Lennart Grill (Bayer 04 Leverkusen)
Felix Agu (SV Werder Bremen), Ridle Baku (VfL Wolfsburg), Tim-Henry Handwerker (1.FC Nürnberg), Maxim Leitsch (VfL Bochum), Lars Lukas Mai (SV Darmstadt 98), Amos Pieper (Arminia Bielefeld), David Raum (SpVgg Greuther Fürth), Nico Schlotterbeck (1.Union Berlin)
Ragnar Ache (Eintracht Frankfurt), Mergim Berisha (Red Bull Salzburg), Jonathan Burkardt (1.FSV Mainz 05), Niklas Dorsch (KAA Gent), Dennis Geiger (TSG 1899 Hoffenheim), Robin Hack (1.FC Nürnberg), Yannik Keitel (SC Freiburg), Florian Krüger (FC Erzgebirge Aue), Linton Maina (Hannover 96), Lukas Nmecha (RSC Anderlecht), Salih Özcan (1.FC Köln), Florian Wirtz (Bayer 04 Leverkusen)