Germany dispatched Denmark with relative ease Saturday to get their Euro U-21 tournament aspirations back on track. A double from Kevin Volland and one from Matthias Ginter saw the Germans win 3-0 and put themselves top of the group.
Four changes were made by coach Horst Hrubesch with Nico Schulz, Dominik Heintz, Leonardo Bittencourt and Joshua Kimmich coming in for Christian Günter (suspended), Robin Knoche, Moritz Leitner and Philipp Hofmann.
Kevin Volland led the line with Kimmich the holding midfielder, allowing Emre Can a freer role. Hrubesch had demanded a quick start from his side, but what he got was a cagey opening with the Danes happy to sit back and copy the Serbs counter-attacking tactics.
Early defensive errors from Heintz and Schulz allowed the Danes half-chances, but the best chance came to Bittencourt 12 minutes in after a superb piece of skill from Volland set him up. Unfortunately, the Hannover man blasted high over the bar.
The young Germans slowly worked themselves into the game enjoying, some good possession and moving the ball around well. Amin Younes curled in a fantastic effort on goal only to see his shot fly narrowly wide.
However, a beautifully worked move on the half-hour mark handed Germany the lead. A sublime through ball from Can fed Volland, and the Hoffenheim striker provided the clinical finish to make it 1-0. Another flowing move on 39 minutes saw Younes waste a great chance with Germany causing the Danish back line real problems.
Three minutes into the second 45 minutes and Germany doubled their lead when Volland curled home an exquisite left-footed free-kick effort after Sisto fouled the marauding Can.
With the Danes all at sea, the result was put beyond doubt five minutes later as Younes carved out a cross on the left to find the head of Matthias Ginter. The Dortmund defender’s header duly made it 3-0.
It looked like Germany could score a bucketful against a demoralised Denmark, but keeper Busk denied both Volland and Younes with fine reaction saves.
In the end there were to be no further goals, although a late effort from Max Meyer could and should have made it 4-0 after a lightning break from defending a corner. All in all, a huge step forward for the U21 Nationalelf.
A morale-boosting victory containing far more positives than the opening draw with Serbia. The Kimmich/ Can pairing in midfield was far more effective with Kimmich happy to sit at allow Can the licence to get forward.
Volland was much more effective than Hofmann in the first game with more movement and an ability to create space for others. His two goals were deserved reward for a fine forward performance. Younes also impressed down left in wide areas tormenting Scholz throughout the match.
The only real downside was the defensive uncertainty on display in the early stages. A lack of awareness and understanding was not exploited by the Danes, but it will have be ironed out as the tournament progresses.
1-0 Volland (32), 2-0 Volland (48), 3-0 Ginter (53)
Germany U21: ter Stegen, Korb, Ginter, Schulz, Heintz, Bittencourt (Gnabry 80), Can (Geis 77), Kimmich, Younes, Meyer, Volland (Klaus 82)
Denmark U21: Busk, Scholz, Vestergaard, Knudsen, Christensen, Jonsson (Norgaard 77), Vigen Christensen, Thomsen, Sisto (Fischer 72), Poulsen (Bech 61), Brock-Madsen
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