Paul Bodin's Cymru will finally bring their UEFA U21 EURO qualifying campaign to a close on Tuesday with the difficult challenge of taking on group leaders Germany in Braunschweig.
UEFA U21 EURO Qualifying Round
GERMANY v CYMRU
- 17:15 | 17.11.20
- Städtische, Braunschweig
Cymru travel to Germany in confident mood having claimed an impressive 3-0 win over Moldova on Friday. Goals from Terry Taylor, Nathan Broadhead and Momodou Touray ensured that Cymru would stay off the bottom of the group, and the challenge now will be to end the campaign on a high against the top seeds.
Although Cymru cannot qualify for the finals, Germany are still competing with Belgium for the top spot and hold a two-point advantage over their rivals. Belgium are also in action on Tuesday as they make the journey to Bosnia and Herzegovina, and anything other than a victory will confirm Germany as group winners.
“The good thing was that everyone came through [against Moldova] as there were a few players that hadn't played a lot of minutes before,” said manager Paul Bodin following the victory. “We also have Mark Harris back from suspension so he will add to the squad. We're looking forward to it as they have everything to play for to win the group and Belgium will be hoping that we can do them a favour.”
In what has been a protracted qualifying campaign as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic, Cymru made headlines in the opening round of games in September 2019 with a 1-0 home win over Belgium, but suffered a heavy 5-1 reverse against Germany a few days later in Wrexham.
The game will mark the end of an era for a number of players in the squad as this will be their last campaign at U21 level. However, the pathway to the senior team has seen a number of players progress, with Brennan Johnson the latest to make his senior international debut in the friendly against the United States last week. It was Johnson who scored the decisive goal when the side defeated Belgium over a year ago.
“Everyone is really happy,” explained Sion Spence after the win over Moldova. “It was a really good team performance and obviously a very good result so we're looking forward to the game on Tuesday now. They're a very good team and we all know their qualities so we know it will be a tough game. But we also know that we have the players who can hurt them, so we're looking forward to it.”
Liam Cullen scored the only goal of the game a year ago when Cymru defeated Bosnia and Herzegovina in Wrexham, and the Swansea City striker is looking forward to the challenge of taking on Germany after such a positive display against Moldova.
“We went into the game on Friday on the back of a pretty poor performance against Belgium,” said Cullen, referring to the 5-0 defeat last month in Leuven. “The main focus really was to put it right. We were confident going into the game, we know what we can do and we pretty much carried out the game plan to a tee.”
“When you go into a game like that and the game plan works it raises confidence. As long as we can stick to the game plan again on Tuesday then hopefully we can put in another good performance and get a result. We have to change our game plan as different teams have different players with different qualities, so when you're going up against a strong team like Germany, we will have to tweak a few things.”