Thanks to double packer Youssoufa Moukoko, Germany’s U21 national team started qualifying for the next tournament with the hoped-for victory a good two months after the European Championship debacle.

Borussia Dortmund’s attacking talent led Antonio Di Salvo’s team to victory in the 3-0 (0-0) win in Kosovo with two goals (74th/78th minute). The third goal was scored by Colin Kleine-Beckel from Kiel (89th). The German Football Association team completely dominated the game against defensive hosts, but initially missed their best chances to take the long-overdue lead.

In Moukoko, one of three professionals in the squad who had already been in the squad for the disappointing preliminary round exit at the European Championship in the summer scored. The 18-year-old, like the entire team in Georgia, had played a weak tournament, but now increased his impressive goal quota with goals number seven and eight in the eighth U21 game.

Di Salvo expected a “gambler mentality”

The U21s continue in October with the qualifying double pack away against Bulgaria and the highly rated Israelis. Other opponents are Poland and Estonia. Only the group winner is guaranteed to qualify for the 2025 tournament in Slovakia.

The expected game developed in Pristina: outsiders Kosovo defended deeply with a five-man chain, Germany controlled the game. The guests repeatedly combined forward with deep passes. But the precision was still missing for a significant finish. On the other hand, Kosovo’s selection rarely showed the “gambling mentality” Di Salvo expected. The outsider mostly remained harmless up front.

Moukoko makes the difference

The newly formed German U21s used the start of the season to warm up with a 2-0 win in the test against Ukraine. But everything didn’t go smoothly in the first competitive game. The best opportunities came from standard situations: Fürth’s Tim Lemperle aimed too high from close range after a corner (32′).

Germany pushed hard for the lead after the break. Moukoko hit the side netting (47th). Lemperle’s shot after a nice through ball from Dortmund was deflected onto the post, Merlin Röhl put the follow-up shot next to the goal (50th).

The game developed more and more into a game of patience. The hosts, who defended extremely hard at times, hardly provided any relief at all. In the final phase it was Moukoko who made the difference: the striker scored impressively with a shot from a corner and after a feint from close range.