Germany vs. Spain. A classic encounter awaits the U19s in the final of the European Championships. A win for the DFB Team against the reigning European champions would be their seventh Euros triumph and the first since 2011. “We’re very happy and proud to have reached the final,” said head coach Maren Meinert. “We haven’t been in the final for seven years so being here is fantastic for us. The final is a game that everyone will approach with a lot of excitement and pride. We’re just one step away from the title and we’ll try everything to get a positive outcome.”
The German team, which is made mostly of players from the class of 2000, beat Denmark (1-0) and Italy (2-0) in the group stage, but lost to the Netherlands (1-0). Nevertheless, thanks to their superior goal difference over the Dutch, Meinert’s team advanced to the semi-finals in second place in their group, where they overcame Norway to make it all the way to the final.
As a coach, Meinert is already a European champion at this level after winning the tournament in 2006, and she believes the 2-0 win over the Scandinavians was deserved. “We got our tactics right and executed them just as we wanted. It also played into our hands that we scored shortly before and shortly after the break - luck always plays a certain role. Throughout the tournament, I think we’ve seen a team that has worked very hard to execute in games what was planned beforehand. That’s how and why we won the semi-final.”
Now, there's just one final hurdle standing between the U19s and the trophy. Interestingly, Meinert’s team will be facing a side that the coach knows all too well, as Germany and Spain have faced each other in the last three European championships.“In Spain, we’ll face a confident, strong side with good individuals. Their strength lies in one-on-one situations, they’re deadly in front of goal and just as strong in defence as in attack. The Spaniards will demand a lot from us,” noted the 44 year old. “There isn’t a favourite for this final, form on the day will decide it. We hope to have the better day and come out on top.”