Borussia Möncehngladbach's Patrick Herrmann and Hoffenheim's Sebastian Rudy scored against Russia on Monday in Netanya, Israel, as Germany's ousted U21 outfit managed at least one win in the European Championships.
Germany at least bowed out of the Under-21 European Championships on less of a low note, squeezing past Russia 2-1. The Russians played more than half of the match with just 10 men after left-back Georgy Schennikov was given his marching orders on 39 minutes.
At that point, the score stood at 1-1. Senior star Alan Dzagoev - the Russian revelation of the Euro 2012 competition last summer - opened the scoring after 22 minutes, with Gladbach winger Patrick Herrmann tying the score 13 minutes later.
After one Hoffenheim player spurned a golden opportunity - Kevin Volland could have scored less than 10 minutes into the match - another secured Germany's scant consolation prize from the penalty spot. Midfielder Sebastian Rudy, a second-half substitute for captain Lewis Holtby, converted a 68th-minute spot kick after a clear foul on Herrmann in the box.
Germany won the 2009 competition with many members of its current senior squad, including current Real Madrid regulars Sami Khedira and Mesut Özil. Having lost to historical rivals the Netherlands in their first game, and then European front-runners Spain, the current crop of youngsters went into the match with Russia knowing that the dream of defending their crown was already dead.
The end of an era
Thirteen squad members, including captain and January Tottenham Hotspurs signing Holtby, were playing in their last ever junior international on Wednesday evening; from now, they will have to qualify for Joachim Löw's senior squad to represent their country. Under-21 coach Rainer Adrion will have to seek out a fresh batch of young talent.
Against 10 tiring Russian players, Germany squandered several late chances to stretch their lead further - though twice Dzagoev threatened to ruin the German tournament entirely. Russia's key player, with 27 appearances for the senior side already under his belt, hit the frame of Oliver Baumann's goal in the closing seconds of the game.
Tournament favorites Spain, who inexplicably only put one goal past Germany on Sunday evening in a match they dominated from start to finish, comfortably beat the Netherlands 3-0 on Wednesday to top the group and secure a quarterfinal match against Norway. The Netherlands will face Italy in the last eight.
msh/ccp (dpa, SID)