European U21 Championship 2015: Germany Team Guide

Sam Tighe@@stighefootballWorld Football Tactics Lead WriterJune 10, 2015

European U21 Championship 2015: Germany Team Guide

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    The European U21 Championship kicks off on June 17 in Prague, giving us football fans a welcome reprieve from tedious summer transfer links and a lack of competitive domestic football.

    This exciting tournament is where some of tomorrow's stars announce themselves, and the squads selected for it ooze class and quality. In 2013, Thiago Alcantara, Isco, Asier Illarramendi and more all shone as Spain decimated, but who will catch the eye this year?

    We're previewing each of the eight nations competing right here at Bleacher Report, and we're continuing the series with Germany.

    Link to the series:

Road to the Finals

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    Germany started fast and finished strong, topping Group 6 with ease. They demolished Faroe Islands, Republic of Ireland and Romania with ease, and seven different players managed to find their way onto the scoresheet during the 8-0 drubbing of the latter.

    Results

    Faroe Islands 0-3 Germany

    Republic of Ireland 0-4 Germany

    Germany 2-0 Montenegro

    Germany 3-2 Faroe Islands

    Montenegro 1-1 Germany

    Romania 2-2 Germany

    Germany 2-0 Republic of Ireland

    Germany 8-0 Romania

    As a seeded nation, Germany drew Ukraine in the play-off to reach the finals and destroyed them 5-0 over two legs. The tie was done at the halfway point after Die Mannschaft managed a 3-0 win in Cherkassy.

Squad

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    The German Football Association (DFB) announced their official squad list for the tournament on their website. A provisional squad of 28 was cut down to 23 in time for the start of the tournament, confirmed by the official Twitter account.

    Here's the squad: 

    Goalkeepers: Timo Horn (FC Koln), Bernd Leno (Bayer Leverkusen), Marc-Andre ter Stegen (Barcelona)

    Defenders: Matthias Ginter (Borussia Dortmund), Christian Gunter (Freiburg), Dominique Heintz (Kaiserslautern), Robin Knoche (Wolfsburg), Julian Korb (Borussia Monchengladbach), Nico Schulz (Hertha Berlin)

    Midfielders: Maximilian Arnold (Wolfsburg), Leonardo Bittencourt (Hannover), Emre Can (Liverpool), Kerem Demirbay (Kaiserslautern), Johannes Geis (Mainz), Joshua Kimmich (RB Leipzig), Felix Klaus (Freiburg), Mortiz Leitner (Stuttgart), Yunus Malli (Mainz), Max Meyer (Schalke), Amin Younes (Kaiserslautern)

    Forwards: Serge Gnabry (Arsenal), Philipp Hofmann (Kaiserslautern), Kevin Volland (Hoffenheim)

Manager Profile: Horst Hrubesch

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    Horst Hrubesch knows the European U21 Championship better than most, having won the tournament in 2009 with Germany. They defeated England 4-0 in the final, sweeping Stuart Pearce's men aside with ease.

    On the teamsheet that day were Manuel Neuer, Benedikt Howedes, Jerome Boateng, Mats Hummels, Sami Khedira and Mesut Ozil—six players who won the FIFA World Cup last summer. For anyone suggesting the U21 tournaments don't amount to much, consider this its defence.

    Hrubesch rotated like no other during the qualifying period, allowing 22 players to start at least two games, utilising three different goalkeepers and swapping every other facet of the team around with frequency.

    It makes his XI and approach tough to predict, but it also underlines the immense strength in depth he has his disposal. Hrubesch as a few Champions League regulars available to him—one of which has been crowned a winner with Barcelona this month.

Star Player: Marc-Andre ter Stegen

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    Picking a star player for Germany is tough; unlike with the Czech Republic, where there are perhaps one of two choices, Die Mannschaft have a wealth of quality options. There are also absolutely no guarantees over who starts and who doesn't come tournament time.

    With that in mind, we've chosen one of the constants. Goalkeeper Marc-Andre ter Stegen may be a bit of a boring selection, but if you're looking for a "star," you might as well plump for a UEFA Champions League winner.

    Germany's defence is not the strongest, and some of their starters, such as Robin Knoche, have much to prove. Ter Stegen stands to be a lot busier than he is for Barcelona—even when he's playing a European final! 

One to Watch: Max Meyer

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    Leonardo Bittencourt, Philipp Hofmann and Jonas Hofmann were mainstays in the Germany U21 setup throughout qualifying, but Horst Hrubesch has thrown a 19-year-old spanner in the works for the finals.

    Max Meyer, who made just two appearances in qualifying, is a very attractive option for the manager to add into the mix. The Schalke man is a wonderfully gifted dribbler, passer and creative type, capable of changing a game in an instant.

    Able to play in the No. 10 position or just off the left, he'll complement the forwards superbly and torture opposing holding midfielders and full-backs.

European U21 Championships Record

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    Germany's record in this competition is split between Germany and West Germany. The reunification of the country took place in 1990.

    Their sole victory came under Horst Hrubesch in 2009, where they took apart England 4-0 in the final. Die Mannschaft are surprisingly lacking in success in this tournament, but never before has their youth pool been so deep; they're set up for a far better next decade than ever before.

    Team Record at the Euro U21 Championships (as Germany)

    Wins: 1

    Runners-up: 1

    Quarter-finals: 3

    Group-stage finishes: 3

    Failed to qualify: 4

    Team Record at the Euro U21 Championships (as West Germany)

    Runners-up: 1

    Quarter-finalists: 1

    Failed to qualify: 3

Group Fixtures

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    Match 1: Germany vs. Serbia

    Venue: Stadion Letna, Prague

    Date: June 17, 2015

    Time: 7:45 p.m. BST

    Match 2: Germany vs. Denmark

    Venue: Stadion Eden, Prague

    Date: June 20, 2015

    Time: 7:45 p.m. BST

    Match 3: Czech Republic vs. Germany

    Venue: Stadion Eden, Prague

    Date: June 23, 2015

    Time: 7:45 p.m. BST

    All statistics, fixture details and results via UEFA.com unless noted otherwise.