Ex-Preston North End loan star is Germany’s matchwinner in Euro Under-21s final

Former Preston North End loan striker Lukas Nmecha helped Germany win the European Under-21s Championship with the only goal of the final against Portugal in Slovenia.

Nmecha, the leading marksman – across both the group stage and knockout phase – scored his fourth goal in the tournament after 49 minutes in Ljubljana to secure a 1-0 win.

He spent the 2018/19 season on loan at Deepdale from Manchester City, scoring four goals in 44 appearances, 19 of which were as a substitute.

He was a raw teenager at the time, North End playing him both up front and on the wing, with it being his first loan spell away from City.

Lukas Nmchea scores Germany's winner against Portugal in the European Under-21s Championship final

Loans at Wolfsburg and Middlesbrough followed, neither of which went well, with Nmecha having spent the season just finished on loan at Anderlecht in Belguim.

The 22-year-old was a big hit there, scoring 18 goals in 37 games.

With that record, Nmecha is expected to be in demand this summer.

After both Germany and Portugal had beaten old rivals, Holland and Spain respectively, in the semi-finals, the final was a cagey affair and it took a smart finish from Nmecha to break the deadlock early into the second period.

Lukas Nmecha during his loan spell with PNE

Ridle Baku kept his composure after an excellent burst forward to pick out the City forward inside the area where Nmecha rounded Diogo Costa and slotted in from close range to seal more glory for his country at under-21 level.

The Hamburg-born match-winner, who represented England at various age groups before he switched nationality in 2019, ensured Germany won the tournament for a second time in three editions and for a third time overall.

Portugal have now lost in the final on three occasions.

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