Following their successful qualification for Euro 2019, Germany Under-21s will play their final group game against Ireland on Tuesday (18:15 CEST).
Qualification secured: With their 2-1 win over Norway, Germany U21s confirmed their place as group winners and booked themselves a spot at Euro 2019 in Italy and San Marino next year. Cedric Teuchert, who is unavailable against Ireland, and Luca Waldschmidt put Stefan Kuntz’s side 2-0 up before Birk Risa got one back for Norway. It’s the fourth time in a row that Germany have qualified for the European Championship finals and the twelfth time overall. The last time that the team missed out was in 2011, whilst they won the competition in 2009 and 2017.
Balance: Germany U21s are unbeaten in their last nine meetings with Ireland (five wins and four draws). All four draws were in friendly games (three 2-2 and one 1-1). The five wins were all in European Championship qualification and Germany U21s are yet to concede (21 goals without reply). Ireland are the only opponent that Germany have played five times in a row without conceding.
History: The two sides met in a competitive match for the first time when qualifying for the 1994 European Championships. Under Hannes Löhr, Germany U21s won 1-0 in Dublin before a giant 8-0 victory in Baunatal. In the end, Germany failed to qualify for the tournament after finishing seven points behind Spain. Ireland finished fourth with four points.
Resounding victories: The two sides last met back in September, when Germany won 6-0. Before that, the sides faced each other twice in the qualifying stages of the European Championships in 2015. Horst Hrubesch’s side won 4-0 in Sligo thanks to goals from Kevin Volland (2), Moritz Leitner and Philipp Hofmann. The second game was a 2-0 victory, with the goals coming from Philipp and Jonas Hofmann.
Qualification impossible: Ireland lost 3-1 in Israel in their last game and so cannot qualify for the finals next year. The side can still finish second in the group if they better Norway’s result against Azerbaijan, but they won’t be getting a play-off place as one of the best second-placed teams as Group 5 is so close. Ireland U21s have never qualified for the European Championships and have once again missed out on a spot.
Running out of steam: The Irish seemed to let their performance levels drop towards the end of their qualifying campaign. They followed up their 1-1 draw in Kosovo with a 6-0 home defeat to Germany a then lost 3-1 in Israel. Just one point from their last three games stopped their qualification bid in its tracks.
Records: Ireland U21’s record victory came when they beat Estonia 5-0 in 2010. The game was current manager Noel King’s first game in charge. The side’s highest defeat was the 8-0 loss to Germany in Baunatal.
Defensive weaknesses: Ireland have taken just one point from their last three games, conceding ten goals along the way.
The coach: Noel King has been in charge since July 2010. He also managed the Ireland senior side for a couple of games in 2013 after the departure of Giovanni Trapattoni.
Most appearances: Shane Redmond holds the record for most appearances for Ireland U21s, with 21 caps. Robbie Brady is the team’s record goalscorer with seven goals. In the current squad, captain Josh Cullen has the most caps, with 18. Reece Grego-Cox has scored five goals in 11 U21 games so far, making him the most prolific in the current squad.
The squad: Two players have been called up from Scottish league-leaders Hearts. 15 of the squad currently play in England, with 14 between the second and fifth divisions. The only player currently with a Premier League club is Harry Charsley, at Everton. Only seven of the squad were born in Ireland.
Unbeaten: Germany U21s are currently unbeaten for over a year (six wins, one draw). The team’s last defeat was a 3-1 loss to Norway back in October 2017. The last time they went so long unbeaten was a 13-game winning run between September 2015 and November 2016.
The winning feeling: Germany U21s have won 21 of their last 23 games in European Championship qualifiers.
Strong after the break: Germany U21s are unbeaten in the second half of matches in 53 games.
Goals: The side have failed to score only once in their last 13 games. They have averaged 3.2 goals a game in the other 12.
Possible debutants: Abdelhamid Sabiri (Huddersfield Town), Maximilian Mittelstädt (Hertha BSC) and Moritz Nicolas (Borussia Mönchengladbach) could all make their debuts in the game.
First time: Germany U21s are playing their first game in Heidenheim. The Voith-Arena is home to second division side 1. FC Heidenheim and has a capacity of 15,000.###more###