Germany 2-0 Czech Republic: Meyer and Gnabry goals seal win
By Oliver Young-Myles
Last Updated: 18/06/17 9:28pm
Goals from Max Meyer and Serge Gnabry either side of half-time set Germany on their way to a convincing 2-0 win over Czech Republic in their first game of the European U21 Championship.
A drab first half was finally brought to life by Meyer a minute before the interval as he drifted inside from the left wing and thumped a low shot into the far corner of the net to hand the Germans the lead.
Less than five minutes after the restart, they doubled their advantage through Gnabry who latched onto a long-range pass from Maximilian Arnold and volleyed the ball into the net after Michal Sacek had failed to cut out the pass.
Davie Selke's had a late penalty saved, which prevented Germany from adding a gloss to the scoreline but the result means that they have taken control of Group C with Italy and Denmark to play each other this evening.
In-demand Patrik Schick started for Czech Republic in attack. Former Arsenal winger Serge Gnabry was included in an extremely strong Germany side.
Both teams started the game in sloppy fashion but it was Gnabry who came closest to breaking the deadlock early on after he saw a toe-poked effort deflect off goalkeeper Lukas Zima and bounce off the foot of the post.
Germany began to assert their dominance as the first half wore on and eventually made their pressure pay as Meyer scored although Zima will have been disappointed not to have kept out his effort as it bobbled underneath his body.
Germany: Pollersbeck (5), Toljan (7), Kempf (6), Stark (7), Gerhardt (6), Dahoud (5), Meyer (8), Arnold (7), Gnabry (7), Weiser (7), Selke (4) Subs: Jung (5), Philipp (5), Haberer (N/A)
Czech Republic: Zima (6), Sacek (4), Luftner (6), Simic (6), Havel (5), Sevcik (5), Soucek (6), Travnik (7), Cerny (5), Jankto (6), Schick (5). Subs: Barak (5), Hasek (5), Chory (6)
Germany sealed the win shortly after half-time as Gnabry capitalised from a failed clearance from Sacek by latching onto the loose ball and finishing emphatically as Zima came out to narrow the angle.
The Czech Republic's two best chances of the game fell to their star player Patrik Schick but on both occasions the highly-rated Sampdoria forward side-footed the ball over the top of the bar when well-placed to score.
With just over five minutes remaining, Selke passed up a golden opportunity to get his name on the scoresheet, seeing his penalty attempt brilliantly saved by Zima who partially redeemed himself after being at fault for Meyer's opening goal.
It was the perfect response from Germany after witnessing both Spain and Portugal win their opening games and they will be confident of winning the competition for the first time since 2009.
Man of the match - Max Meyer
Max Meyer was Germany's captain and standout player at the Rio Olympics last summer and he was their best player again today, delivering an excellent performance in their opening game.
Operating in an attacking midfield role, Meyer was a constant threat to the Czech Republic defence with his intelligent movement and another day could have added a couple more goals to his tally.
Next up for Germany in Group C is a potentially tricky clash against Denmark in Krakow on Wednesday at 7.45pm. Czech Republic take on Italy at 5pm on the same day in Tychy. Coverage starts at 4.50pm on Sky Sports 1.