Germany U21s begin their U21 European Championship campaign on Monday as they face Denmark in Stadio Friuli in Udine (21:00 CEST). The two teams also met at the last European Championships as 2017 as Stefan Kuntz’s side went on to win the tournament. Here is everything you need to know ahead of Monday’s group opener.
Record between the two sides: Germany U21s have faced Denmark on ten previous occasions, winning six of those matches including the last four. Denmark have only secured one victory against their neighbours, drawing the other three matches. The two teams have met on two previous occasions at the European Championship, Germany coming out on top with two 3-0 victories.
Last meeting: Stefan Kuntz’s side last faced Denmark almost exactly two years ago at the 2017 U21 European Championship in Poland. In their group stage match, Davie Selke (53’), Marc-Oliver Kempf (73’) and Nadiem Amiri (79’) secured a second half victory for Germany and a place in the semi-finals as the highest placed group runner-up. Kuntz’s side went on to defeat England on penalties in the semi-finals before defeating Spain 1-0 in the final to lift the trophy.
Mission Title Defence:After Germany’s second U21 European Championship triumph in 2017, the aim for this tournament will be to defend the title for the very first time. Spain were the most recent side to secure back-to-back titles, winning the tournament in 2011 and 2013. There are four members of the Germany title winning team in 2017 who could feature again at this tournament: Waldemar Anton, Mahmoud Dahoud, Nadiem Amiri and Levin Öztunali.
Tournament dress rehearsal: Germany U21s haven’t played an official competitive friendly since 26th March which was their tournament dress rehearsal against England in Bournemouth. After Mahmoud Dahoud gave the visitors the lead just before the half hour mark, Dominic Solanke equalised on the stroke of half-time. However, Felix Uduokhai scored his first goal for Germany U21s in the first minute of second half stoppage time to give Kuntz’s side the victory. Meanwhile, in their final friendly ahead of the Euros in Italy and San Marino, Denmark fell to their first defeat of 2019. Toma Basic scored the only goal of the game in Pula as Denmark came away empty handed.
Match venue: The match will take place at the 25,144 capacity Stadio Friuli in Udine. This one of five venues in Italy being used for the tournament with the sixth venue in Serraville, San Marino. Udine is the second largest city in the Friuli Venezia Giulia region in north easrtern Italy with 100,000 inhabitants. Only Trieste, located near the Slovenian and Croatian borders, is bigger. Serie A side Udinese are also based in Udine.
Tomorrow’s opponents: Denmark U21s played their first international match on 25th August 1976, a 2-0 defeat in Holstebro against Norway. The Danes’ biggest ever victory came against Luxembourg in 2002 (9-0) while their heaviest defeat was a 6-0 to Bulgaria in 1989. Denmark are making their eighth appearance at a U21 European Championship this summer and the furthest the team have made it in the competition is the semi-finals. The Danes reached the last four in both 1992 and 2015. Jonas Kamper, who played for Arminia Bielefeld between 2006 and 2010, holds the record number of appearances at 39. Marcus Ingvartsen, who plays for KRC Genk, has scored more goals for Denmark U21s than any other player (17 goals in 28 appearances).
Danish players currently playing in Germany: Three members of the Danish squad are currently playing in Germany. Jacob Bruun Larsen (Borussia Dortmund), Andreas Poulsen (Borussia Mönchengladbach) and Asger Sörensen (Jahn Regensburg) are just three of thirteen players in the Denmark team currently playing their football abroad. However, Danish Superliga side FC Nordsjaelland have more players in the squad than any other club (5).
Long unbeaten run: Germany U21s are currently unbeaten in almost two years. Stefan Kuntz’s last defeat in charge of the team came in a 3-1 defeat to Norway in October 2017. Since this defeat, Kuntz’s side have gone on a 12 game unbeaten run, winning ten of those matches. Germany have also won seven of their last eight matches, the only draw coming in a 2-2 stalemate with France in March. Hungry for goals: Germany have scored at least twice in each of their last eight matches, scoring 22 goals in this time at an average of 2.8 goals per match. However, opponents Denmark also know how to find the back of the net. The Danes have only failed to score in two of their last 19 matches. In the 17 matches in which they have scored, they have gone on to score 46 goals at an average of 2.7 goals per game.
Celebrations and records: Levin Öztunali could make his 26th appearances for Germany U21s in Italy, which would draw him level with Mike Hanke third on the list of all time record appearances for the team. Only Andreas Beck (27) and Fabian Ernst (31) would be ahead of the Mainz attacker. The only way Öztunali could break the record this summer would be if Germany reached the final and he played every game. Germany are also just five goals short of scoring their 750th international goal.