6.06.2021Bayer 04

Wirtz and Grill win the U21 Euros with Germany

Florian Wirtz and Lennart Grill are U21 European Champions. The Werkself duo were in the Germany side that beat Portugal 1-0 in the final in Ljubljana. Wirtz was again in the starting line-up.

Florian Wirtz was the matchwinner with his lightning brace in the 2-1 semi-final victory over the Netherlands - and he came within a hair's breadth of scoring in the final. After great individual work, a shot from the Werkself youngster was deflected and it hit the underside of the bar before bouncing down just in front of the line (15'). Wirtz, who picked up a yellow card just before that, started on the right wing in the Germany team, Werkself keeper Lennart Grill was again on the bench.

Portugal did make the better start to the final but Germany were clearly the more dangerous of the two sides. Shortly after Wirtz hit the bar, Lukas Nmecha had the chance to open the scoring but the Portuguese keeper Diogo Costa made an impressive save (20'). The Germany team increasingly looked on top and Costa had to make a flying save to deny a long-range effort from the Germany captain Arne Maier (29'). Portugal looked dangerous at the end of the first half with Vitinha missing the best dance just before the break (45').

Nmecha nets the winner

Germany deservedly took the lead shortly after the start of the second half: An excellent pass from Ridle Baku found Nmecha and the goal-getter turned the ball into the net at the near post (48). Portugal were now forced to act and they posed a number of challenges to the German back line – but the defence were able to deal with the threat initially. Nico Schlotterbeck twice frustrated Fabio Vieira (52', 67'), Baku prevented Diogo Queiros getting a shot on target (61'). It was Germany who continued to have the better chances: Substitute Karim Adeyemi twice failed to beat the keeper Costa (72', 81') and the shot-stopper also saved from Nmecha (74').

Wirtz was not on the pitch at this stage of the match with the Bayer 04 midfielder substituted on 67 minutes. He watched from the sidelines as Portugal failed to threaten the Germany goal in the closing stages. And after the final whistle, the two Werkself players ran to celebrate their teammates on the pitch – Germany are the U21 European Champions for the third time following on from 2009 and 2017.

Grill and Wirtz are therefore U21 European Champions numbers three and four in the current Werkself squad. Mitchell Weiser and Nadiem Amiri lifted the trophy in 2017 and Lennart and Flo did the same in Ljubljana on Sunday night. Congratulations, lads!

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