U21 Championship Qualification
⚽ M. Beier (39), ⚽ Y. Moukoko (53), ⚽ R. Reitz (88), ⚽ R. Reitz (90)
The German U21s were able to win their fourth consecutive match on-the-bounce on Friday evening in Paderborn. Maximilian Beier and Youssoufa Moukoko both scored goals in the 4-1 win, capped by a late blitz-brace from Borussia Mönchengladbach midfielder Rocco Reitz.
Antonio di Salvo’s Germany U21 squad successfully maintained their perfect record in the 2025 UEFA U21 European Championship qualifying with their third win in as many fixtures on Friday evening. After defeating Kosovo 3-0 in September and besting Bulgaria last month, the squad representing Germany at the highest youth level were once again victorious against the Estonian U21 team at the Home-Deluxe-Arena in Paderborn.
In comparison to the team that defeated Bulgaria 3-2 in the October international qualifier, di Salvo made five changes. Nathaniel Brown and Jamil Siebert replaced Colin Kleine-Beckel and Kenneth Schmidt in defense. Returnees Marton Dardai and Eric Martel were immediately inserted into the XI ahead of Luca Netz and Robert Wagner. Another returnee, Brajan Gruda of FSV Mainz 05, took the place of Karim Adeyemi after the BVB talent declined an international call-up ahead of the current break.
Operating in a new 4-1-4-1, di Salvo’s charges established early control of the game. The German hosts were extremely unlucky not to secure an early lead after both Gruda and rising Freiburg talent Merlin Röhl struck the goal-frame inside the opening 12 minutes. Gruda unleashed another quality effort at the quarter-of-an-hour mark; one that unfortunately was inadvertently blocked by his teammate Martel. The DFB-XI continued to dominate down Gruda’s right-hand-side, with right fullback Leandro Morgalla also actively pushing forward.
Gruda – aling with colleagues Maximilian Beier, Ansgar Knauff, and Youssoufa Moukoko – all got decent efforts off before Beier finally found the back-of-the-net in the 39th. The 21-year-old Hoffenheim striker continued to make a strong case for a call-up to Bundestrainer Julian Nagelsmann’s senior team with a gorgeously spun shot from 20 meters out central. Röhl managed to pocket an assist credit even though the tally had everything to do with Beier’s perfectly hit ball. Knauff and Martel missed chances to extend the lead before the break.
Di Salvo brought the final third of his returning trio onto the pitch at the half. Köln’s Jan Thielmann relieved Morgalla. Thielmann quickly attempted to influence the game with runs and crosses from the right. The 2-0 would nevertheless come courtesy of an excellent solo spot from Moukouko. The Dortmund striker picked a ball off of defender Andres Vaher (an SC Freiburg prospect) in the penalty area and smashed home the second goal from close-range in the 53rd.
The game remained very one-sided in the second-half. It took a mistake from one of the German youths to allow the Estonians back into the match. Regrettably just seconds after his introduction in the 63rd, highly-touted Borussia Mönchengladbach midfielder Rocco Reitz turned the ball over. Attacker Danil Kuraksin was able to capitalize off a quick counter and slot home the 1-2. The Germans continued to take risks and play forward, yet didn’t generate any additional chances themselves.
In point of fact, it looked as if di Salvo’s crew might concede the equalizer off some strong Estonian counters. Keeper Noah Atubolu had to make a pair of strong saves. Fortunately for the hosts, Reitz was able to atone for his earlier mistake by scoring the 3-1 in the 88th. Reitz completed a scorer’s brace six minutes later. The 88th minute tally took a deflection in. Reitz was able to pound home a rebound of a Nick Woltemade shot for the 4-1 at 90+4.