Former national coach Stefan Kuntz believes in a successful European Championship for the German U21 national team, despite the recent personnel setbacks. At the same time, he warns against too high expectations.

“You shouldn’t always assume the last three tournaments,” said Kuntz of the German Press Agency before the start of the German selection against Israel on Thursday (6 p.m. CEST / Sat.1). Kuntz had led the team to the European Championship final three times in a row before becoming Turkey’s national coach in 2021.

“You have to get into a tournament like this well, then you also need a bit of tournament luck,” said the 60-year-old, who became European champion in 2017 and 2021 with the U21s. Kuntz saw the injury-related absences before the tournament as a setback for the team. “But I still believe – and we’ve proven it – that in such cases you can always make up for the lack of personal quality with team spirit,” said the former national soccer player.

Full confidence in U21 coach Di Salvo

Kuntz continues to have full confidence in his long-standing assistant coach and successor as U21 head coach, Antonio Di Salvo. “I believe that Toni is able to awaken this team spirit,” said Kuntz. “We’re still friends and I’m still in touch with everyone on the coaching staff. That team around it will also be good for the team and keep them together and make them strong.”

Other preliminary round opponents for the selection of the German Football Association are the Czech Republic (June 25) and European Championship title candidate England (June 28). The top two teams in the group advance to the Quarterfinals. Di Salvo has proclaimed the Olympic ticket as a big goal, which the top three teams solve next to France and England. “If the team would reach the semi-finals, that would be a great success for me,” said Kuntz.