Big U21 games for Di Salvo's anniversary

Wolfsburg/Magdeburg (dpa) – On the anniversary, Antonio Di Salvo can look forward to two special evenings with his U21s. The successor to the successful coach Stefan Kuntz sees the start of the European Championship season against high-class opponents as an important position determination on the way to the finals.

“After successfully qualifying for the European Championship, we want to use the international matches to measure ourselves against the best. France and England are just right for that,” said Di Salvo. On Friday (6.15 p.m.) his selection will meet the French in Magdeburg, on Tuesday (8.45 p.m./both ProSiebenMaxx) the exciting duel with the English will take place in Sheffield.

Di Salvo: “The second year will be important”

After Kuntz switched to the Turkish national team a year ago, the German Football Association entrusted his long-time assistant Di Salvo with the coaching of its most important youth national team. Under his leadership, the European champions finally booked the ticket for the European Championship finals from June 9th to July 2nd, 2023 in Romania and Georgia, despite a bitter November evening in the 0: 4 against Poland. Di Salvo’s record is seven wins in eight games.

“The second year will be important. It’s about defensive processes, about allowing even fewer chances to score. But also about the offensive, to get more dangerous in front of the opponent’s goal and create chances,” said Di Salvo.

According to their statements, the transition from Kuntz to him was not a big change for the players. “He has developed further as a coach. He’s looking for talks, everyone is in contact with him. It’s not easy when you only see each other every two to three months, but he does it very well,” said Augsburg’s Maximilian Bauer . Kilian Fischer praised the “very communicative” nature of the coach. “You always know where you stand with him and what he wants from you. I really appreciate that,” said the man from Wolfsburg.

The goal is to qualify for the Olympics

As an assistant coach, Di Salvo played a key role in the success of Kuntz’s tenure with three finals and the European Championship titles in 2017 and 2021. In a year’s time, he is now supposed to extend this series of successes. In addition, the team should qualify for the Olympic Games in Paris at the European Championship finals. France has been confirmed as an Olympic starter, and the three best teams in the European Championship are allowed to go to the summer games. That’s still a long way off, said Di Salvo, “but it’s clear that we have the big goal of qualifying for the Olympics again.”

Di Salvo is working on the team that is supposed to continue the success of the European Championship. For the international matches against the top teams France and England , he mostly trusted players who bought the EM ticket. The only newcomer is long-time Bayern goalkeeper Christian Früchtl (Austria Wien). Reda Khadra (Sheffield United) and Frederik Jäkel have already been called up but are still awaiting their debuts. Captain Jonathan Burkardt (FSV Mainz 05) and Josha Vagnoman (VfB Stuttgart) are injured. Armel Bella Kotchap (FC Southampton) gets a taste of the senior team.

“This is great news for us too, as it is our job to train players for the senior national team,” said Di Salvo. It will be particularly important for the next few months on the way to the European Championship how much match practice the young footballers get. “It’s always exciting to see how the players develop over the course of their time with the U21s. The second year in particular, when they’re more mature and play even more, brings them forward. I’m happy about every minute of playing time at the highest level.” said Di Salvo.

© dpa-infocom, dpa:220921-99-848501/4

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