On Friday, Germany U21s can qualify for next summer’s European Championship with a victory at home against Norway in Ingolstadt’s Audi-Sportpark (20:00 CEST). Here are facts you need to know ahead of the match.
NO PREVIOUS WINS: Germany U21s have never defeated Norway on the three occasions Stefan Kuntz’s side have faced Friday’s opponents. Germany have lost twice and drawn once, meaning that Norway are the first nation that Germany have faced on three occasions without emerging victorious at least once. In the first meeting between the two sides, in Aschaffenburg in 2000, the sides drew 2-2 before Norway won 3-0 a year later in Lilleström. When the two nations met earlier in qualifying, it was the Norwegians who again emerged victorious with a 3-1 home win in Drammen. Cedric Teuchert was on the scoresheet for Germany.
HOME ADVANTAGE: Germany U21s have played on four previous occasions in Ingolstadt’s Audi-Sportpark and won on all four occasions, including a 3-0 win over Northern Ireland in European qualifying in September 2010 courtesy of a Lewis Holtby brace and a Patrick Hermann strike. Around a year later, the home again 3-0, this time against Bosnia-Herzegovina in European qualifying with Peniel Mlapa, Sebastian Neumann and Holtby all scoring. In November 2014, goals from Amin Younes, Dominique Heintz and Max Mayer helped Germany to a 3-1 home win over the Netherlands. On their last home outing in Ingolstadt, Germany defeated Russia 4-3 in a European qualifier as two goals from Serge Gnabry and Davie Selke helped the side to victory.
UNBEATEN RECORDS: Both Germany and Norway head into Friday’s match on the back of some positive results. Stefan Kuntz’s side are unbeaten in their last six matches, winning five of those matches. However, Norway’s unbeaten stretches even further with four wins and three draws in their last seven matches. The last time the visitors lost was in September 2017 when they surrendered a 2-0 lead to lose 3-2 in Kosovo.
FOUR DEBUTANTS: Four players could make their U21s debut on Friday night but Borussia Mönchengladbach goalkeeper Moritz Nicolas, who was called up as a backup goalkeeper, is unlikely to feature. Defenders Robin Koch (SC Freiburg) and Maximilian Mittelstädt (Hertha BSC) alongside Huddersfield Town striker Abdelhamid Sabiri will all hope to feature in Ingolstadt.
ONLY TWO TOURNAMENT APPEARANCES: In 21 qualifying attempts, Norway U21s have only qualified for two European Championships, reaching the semi-finals on both occasions. The Norwegians went on to finish in third place in the 1998 tournament, defeating the Netherlands in a third-place playoff, and finishing fourth in 2013.
RECORD TO DEFEND: In 377 minutes of match time, spanning four matches, Germany U21s have not conceded a single goal. The last time the team achieved this was between September and October 2014 and the team have only over gone longer without conceding once. This was under coach Berti Vogts between April 1988 and April 1989 when the U21s kept five consecutive clean sheets.
GUARANTEED GOALS: Germany U21s have scored at least once in 21 of their last 22 home matches, the only exception coming in a 1-0 home defeat to Portugal in Stuttgart in March 2017. Germany have scored 62 goals in their 22 home matches with an average of 2.8 goals per match.
SEVEN IN SEVEN: Cedric Teuchert, who was on the scoresheet in Norway when the teams last met, scored a hat-trick in the most recent qualifier in Dublin against Ireland. FC Schalke 04’s striker scored seventh goal for Germany U21s in just his seventh appearance for the team and is only the second player to ever achieve this after Heiko Herrlich.