Aarón returns a European champion
Öztunali and Müller fall short as Germany lose to Spain
In the end, it’s Aarón Martín who gets to celebrate. The Spaniard was on the bench during the final against Germany, but did make two 90-minute appearances for Spain’s U21s in their title-winning campaign. While Flo Müller (as the backup keeper to Schalke’s Alexander Nübel) had to watch Germany’s 2-1 loss from the bench, Levin Öztunali got the start before being replaced in the 72nd minute by Augsburg’s Marco Richter.
The match could have taken a turn in the 24th minute as the Mainz midfielder could have brought head coach Stefan Kuntz’s side back into the match after a slow start. Öztunali didn’t connect fully with the ball and their opponents were able to hang onto their lead after Fabian Ruiz (SSC Napoli) scored in the 7th minute. Dani Olmo (Dinamo Zagreb) added to Spain’s lead after a bobble from Nübel in the 69th minute. Hoffenheim’s Nadiem Amiri cut the lead in half in the 88th minute but it was too little too late to prevent Spain from avenging their loss to Germany in the final at the 2017 Euros (1-0).
Mainz are able to look back on the tournament in Italy and San Marino with a certain amount of pride. With France’s Moussa Niakhaté and Jean-Philippe Mateta (who were knocked out in the semifinals by Spain), Mainz were the most well-represented Bundesliga club in the knockout rounds of the tournament. Now, the club can look forward to welcoming back European champion Aarón before heading to training camp in Grassau on 14th July.