Stefan Kuntz has named his 23-man squad for the upcoming group stages of the UEFA European U-21 Championship in Hungary and Slovenia. Four debutants have been included in the squad: Malick Thiaw (FC Schalke 04), Mateo Klimowicz (VfB Stuttgart), Youssoufa Moukoko (Borussia Dortmund) and Anton Stach (SpVgg Greuther Fürth).
Germany kick-off their campaign in Group A on 24th March (21:00 CET) against hosts Hungary in Székesfehérvár, before facing Netherlands in the same location on 27th March (21:00 CET). The group stage comes to a close against Romania in Budapest on 30th March (21:00 CEST).
“We have been working in this team towards the European Championship for the last year and a half and we’re excited that it’s finally getting started,” said Stefan Kuntz. “Our clear aim is to qualify for the knockout stages in summer, even though we know this will be a great challenge.”
On the squad’s new faces, Kuntz: “Since we have no preparation, the boys need to be match ready from the off. In that sense, we have opted for two players in Malick Thiaw and Mateo Klimowicz who have featured regularly in the Bundesliga of late. Anton Stach has been preforming extremely well in the 2. Bundesliga and is a very versatile player.”
On Youssoufa Moukoko, who could become the youngest U-21 Euro player if he features, Kuntz said: “In Youssoufa, we have an extraordinary talent in Germany, who we want to nurture with caution and accordingly to his performance. After close discussions with Borussia Dortmund, we decided to call up him up, because we think his participation will help both the team and his own development.”
Due to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, the UEFA executive committee decided to split the U-21 Euro into two phases. As such, 16 teams will contest the group stages between 24th-31st March 2021. The first and second place teams will then qualify for the knockout stages that will take place between 31st May-6th June 2021. This will be the 13th participation for Germany, who won the tournament in 2009 and 2017.