The German striker need hurts the former world-class attacker Rudi Völler particularly. In both the senior national team and the U21s, the men for the goals were recently missing.

“That won’t change in football. You need a target striker, someone who pushes the ball over the line or heads in front,” said the DFB sports director during the visit to the U21 European Championship in Georgia.

BVB young star Youssoufa Moukoko (18) has not yet been able to take on the tournament role that he wanted due to an injury. Nelson Weiper, the same age, brought momentum to the 2-1 draw against the Czech Republic. It is quite possible that the man from Mainz will be able to play from the start in the group final against England on Wednesday if Moukoko is indicated by Völler. The chances of progressing are very slim – but Völler and U21 coach Antonio Di Salvo are still hoping.

Two missed penalties in the 1-1 draw against Israel, only one goal against the Czechs – just like the senior team, which has not scored twice recently, young footballers sometimes struggle with scoring goals. “It’s not like figure skating, there’s no freestyle, you have to win the games in the end. That’s only possible with guys like that who have to be trained again,” warned Völler. “One of the most successful coaches of the last 20 years saw that, Pep Guardiola. With all tiki-taka, you also need someone who puts the balls in the front.” Manchester City had strengthened with striker Erling Haaland before the season – and won the triple including the Champions League.

“Material you have is still good enough”

“I don’t want to paint that too black. We don’t always have to complain that we don’t have that many center forwards or full-backs. The material we have is still good enough,” said Völler. “We have wonderful creative players in Germany. You have to form a team that can still be successful. At this level, that is only possible with this consistency and passion.”

The national team continues in early September with two international matches against Japan and France. “We have to make sure that we work on the few adjustment screws and don’t make the mistakes anymore. Hansi Flick also knows that we are now challenged in the games in September. At least the way we appear must be different than in the last games,” said Völler a year before the European Championships at home. “It remains to be seen whether it will be enough for the European title or the semi-finals. I haven’t given up hope.”