Germany under 19s continued their preparation for the forthcoming European Championship qualifiers with a 1-0 win over Scotland at the Falkirk Stadium.
Substitute Marcel Kärcher of FSV Mainz scored the only goal of the match six minutes after the interval to round-off an impressive challenge match against the Dark Blues. After the disappointment of the A-team’s performances at Euro 2012, the next generation of talent in the German ranks continue to look a dominant force in the major youth championship and this crop will be eager to emulate the success of the Germans in the 2009 European finals.
Similarly to the first-team, Ziege’s side lined-up in a 4-2-3-1 formation with the exciting Samed Yesil from Bayer Leverkusen in attack. But, the supporting-trio of Dominik Kohr, Sebastian Kerk and Yannick Gerhardt was never more than 15-20 yards away from the striker. This high-pressing system from the Germans forced Jack Hamilton into a wasteful clearance and despite tricky footwork from Kohr, Gerhardt passed up an excellent chance inside the six-yard box with the ball getting caught under his feet on the damp Falkirk surface.
The Scots settled in the early stages and tactically, were almost identical to the Germany eleven. However, the noticeable difference between the two sides was the away side’s ability to squeeze Scotland in the final-third of the park. On a number of occasions, the crafty playmaker Thomas Pledl was around 30 yards from goal, with five German attackers (Yesil, Kerk, Gerhardt, Kohr, Lenz) ahead of him.
In the opening 20 minutes, there were sporadic sights of goal for both sides. Scotland worked a good-move involving Lewis MacLeod in the centre of the pitch, he passed to local-boy Stephen Kingsley but his in-swinging right-foot cross was over-hit. The visitors were handed a number of openings through slack passing at the back from the Dark Blues, although, failed to capitalise.
Germany came close to scoring at the midway point of the first-half, with Pledl’s second-attempt at a set-piece finding the head of Koray Günter of Borussia Dortmund at the back-post but Hamilton saved well under pressure from Yesil. Germany’s front-man from Leverkusen produced an excellent solo-effort, turning in the centre of the pitch after a neat one-two with Kerk, before unleashing a venomous right-foot shot which went inches over the bar.
At the break, the Germans made four substitutions with Maxi Arnold from Wolfsburg, Thomas Dähne from Red Bull Salzburg, Patrick Weihrauch from FC Bayern and Marcel Kärcher of FSV Mainz coming on. In the opening stages of the half, Arnold took up a similar role to Mesut Özil, just off Kärcher who replaced the impressive Yesil.
The fresh-looking Germans took the lead on 51 minutes with Gerhardt producing a devastating turn of acceleration on the left-hand side before laying-off to substitute Kärcher from Mainz who tucked the ball under Hamilton from just a few yards out.
The natural flow of the game began to be disrupted after the hour mark due to regular substitutions but when in possession from the right-hand side, Maxi Arnold from Wolfsburg looked very dangerous. On 70 minutes, Arnold made a surging run, shaking off several challenges and laid the ball to Robert Andrich who had a fierce effort parried by the Scotland keeper.
1.FC Köln’s Gerhardt was continuing to cause problems for the Scotland defence and a similar run into the left-hand channel to the goal, almost put the Germans two-goals ahead but Kärcher blazed the ball over the crossbar. Gerhardt is the U19 skipper at the Billy Goats and looked an excellent talent.
Despite a slow end to the match, Germany showed their superiority, led by Freiburg’s Matthias Ginter who is almost certainly going to be involved in Christian Streich’s young squad next season in the Bundesliga. Arnold had a late effort in stoppage time which was held well by Hamilton.
Ziege’s side continue their preparation for the U19 qualifiers in Autumn with friendly matches against both England and Wales on home soil in October. The Germans face Ireland, Macedonia and Luxembourg in the first-round of qualifying fixtures.
Scotland will take on Armenia, Switzerland and Romania at home.