Goals either side of the half-time break from Max Meyer and Serge Gnabry helped Horst Hrubesch’s side to the first three points of the tournament. Germany will take on Denmark in their second group game on Wednesday.Germany 2-0 Czech Republic
(Meyer 44′, Gnabry 50′)
Germany kicked off their U21 European Championship campaign with a routine 2-0 win over the Czech Republic.
A second-half strike from Serge Gnabry rounded off the encounter as a contest after Max Meyer had given the German team a 44th-minute lead in Poland.
The 21-year-old Gnabry, who completed a 10 million euro ($11 million) move to Bayern Munich last week, shone from the start, firing the first warning shot as early as the fifth minute.
The former Arsenal winger had a shot tipped on to the post after 28 minutes before Germany finally went ahead with Meyer’s strike from the left a minute before half time.
Five minutes after the restart, Gnabry punished a defensive mistake from Czech right-back Michal Sacek, running through on goal and finishing confidently to put Stefan Kuntz’s side in pole position for the points.
While it’s vindication of Germany’s youth development programme, Kuntz saw a handful of his key players drafted into Joachim Löw’s fresh-looking Confederations Cup squad. Just five players started in Poland from Germany’s final U21 qualifier against Austria in October and there remained signs of uncertainty at the back.
Sampdoria’s Patrick Schick, the star player in the Czech side, squandered two simple chances in the vicinity of Jannik Pollersbeck’s six-yard-box. These were chances that the 21-year-old, linked with big-money transfers to Juventus and Borussia Dortmund, snapped up with ease in his 11-goal campaign in Italy’s Serie A.
Germany missed the chance to add a third in the closing stages with Davie Selkie’s pass to Meyer trailing just behind the Schalke attacking-midfielder, who lost his balance at the crucial moment. “This was the first step, but we couldn’t add the third. We can be satisfied,” said skipper Maxi Arnold.
Kuntz’s side continue in their push for a second U21 title win against Denmark in Krakow.