Stefan Kuntz targets further Germany success after European Championship win
By PA Sport
Last Updated: 01/07/17 8:49am
Germany Under-21 manager Stefan Kuntz called on his players to emulate the class of 2009 after their shock European Championship victory over Spain.
Mitchell Weiser's first-half header clinched a 1-0 win and Germany's second Under-21 European title in Krakow on Friday.
Overwhelming tournament favourites Spain were subdued as stars Saul Niguez and Marco Asensio were kept quiet by an organised and efficient Germany.
They last won the title eight years ago with a side which included Manuel Neuer, Mesut Ozil and Sami Khedira - who all won the World Cup in 2014.
And Kuntz, who also won Euro 96 as a player, wants to see his men take the next step at senior level.
"We talked about the fact that every second year a European Championship starts, and when it does, you look at the last success, which was 2009," he said.
"People look at what the players are doing today - eight or nine are big players now, but I told them that, 'if you win, people will remember you'.
"I think the semi-final penalty shoot-out (win over England) was seen by nearly 10 million people in Germany, so my players' reputation at home is very high.
"But today is just today. If we had been sent home by England, I wouldn't have been a better or worse coach."
Hertha Berlin wideman Weiser grabbed the winner five minutes before the break when his superb 10-yard looping header dropped into the corner.
Max Meyer had already hit the post while Serge Gnabry twice went close as Germany shut down Spain.
Saul, who finished the tournament's five-goal top scorer, eventually forced a second-half save from Julian Pollersbeck.
But Spain missed the chance to clinch a record-equalling fifth title and boss Albert Celades admitted they fell short.
He said: "We knew Germany's strengths, we'd seen a lot of them. But every game is different. In the first half they made us suffer, we weren't comfortable out there, we didn't like what was happening, we tried to turn things around but it wasn't to be.
"You learn from everything, you can draw positive and negative conclusions, but I am proud of the players for all they have done, the brilliant tournament they have had. But it is hard to lose a final, it takes a lot to get there.
"We're sad as you'd understand after losing a final. We were up against a great opponent who outplayed us in the first half."