European U21 Championship: Last-minute defeat

Germany's start to the 2013 European U21 Championship was an unsuccessful one as the eleven, including Hoffenheim players Sebastian Rudy, Kevin Volland and Stefan Thesker, fell to a last-minute, 3-2 defeat against the Netherlands. Rudy and Thesker started and played the full 90 minutes. Volland was brought on shortly before the break for the injured Peniel Mlapa and resuscitated the Germany team.

Germany's youngest team played a poor first half and went into the break 2-0 down. “We just couldn't get to grips with the Dutch in the first half,” explained Sebastian Rudy on Friday morning, when he caught up with After the break, things improved dramatically but the team were not rewarded for their fight back after the Netherlands' late winner.

“In the second half, we attacked the opposition early on and stopped them playing,“ said Rudy, who brought Germany back into the game with his well-struck penalty in the 47th minute. Kevin Volland picked out Lewis Holtby in the box before he was fouled by the opposing goalkeeper. “Having scored one against Switzerland in the play-offs, I knew I was going to take this one as well,” said Rudy.

Volland hit the bar

Hoffenheim's representatives looked convincing in Israel. Kevin Volland battled for the ball on a number of occasions and threatened the goal too. The winger had a fantastic chance to equalise in the 63rd minute when his left-footed strike hit the bar. In the 81st minute, the impressive Lewis Holtby scored the equaliser to make it 2-2. Everything pointed towards a successful comeback from the Germany U21 side but it wasn't to be. “After this defeat, the game on Sunday against Spain is a final for us. We have to play well for the whole 90 minutes,” said Rudy.

After the game, Rainer Adrion explained: “The disappointment surrounding the late goal and the bitter defeat, especially considering our comeback in the second half, is overwhelming. We have to go into the game against Spain with the same performance we had in the second half here.“

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