Germany host Switzerland in Friday's play-off first leg in Leverkusen and, despite boasting an almost perfect qualifying round record, coach Rainer Adrion is taking nothing for granted against the 2011 finalists.
Germany sailed through Group 1 with nine wins from ten games while Switzerland had to settle for second spot behind holders Spain in Group 5. However, Adrion is wary of rivals who held La Roja to a goalless draw in their penultimate match. "They were the team with the highest coefficient in pot two," he said. "They reached the final in Denmark in 2011 and have some FIFA U-17 World Cup winners in their squad.
"We have worked hard for two years to reach these games. Now it is our goal to get past Switzerland and get to the finals. I am convinced we can overcome this hurdle."
Holding midfielder Patrick Funk played regularly in the group stage and hopes his team-mates can carry their excellent form into the play-offs. "The play-offs are never easy and we have been drawn against a tough side," said the FC St Pauli man. "If we want to make the finals in Israel and compete there, we have to beat Switzerland. We have a very good team with lots of quality and I am confident we will succeed."
Yet they must do so without Patrick Herrmann, who is missing with a thigh injury, and Boris Vukcevic, still recovering after a car accident. "We are also playing for Boris," added coach Adrion. "Our thoughts are with him and we want to win these matches for him."
Adrion's opposite number Pierluigi Tami, voted Swiss coach of the year for his achievements at the 2011 tournament, also expects a tough assignment against the team he wanted to avoid in the draw. "This was the strongest opponent we could possibly have got," he said. "We definitely did not want to face Germany but now we have to play them.
"Many of their players are already starters in the Bundesliga, one of the strongest leagues around. But it is also a chance for us to play one of the strongest sides twice. We will do so with confidence and bravery."
Both countries have U21-eligible players that are on senior duty instead. Mario Götze, Toni Kroos, André Schürrle, İlkay Gündoğan, Marc-André ter Stegen and the injured Julian Draxler fall into that category for the hosts, while VfL Borussia Mönchengladbach's Granit Xhaka and FC Bayern München's Xherdan Shaqiri could have featured for Switzerland.
Oliver Baumann (SC Freiburg), Bernd Leno (Bayer 04 Leverkusen), Kevin Trapp (Eintracht Frankfurt).
Marc Hornschuh (Borussia Dortmund), Tony Jantschke (VfL Borussia Mönchengladbach), Sebastian Jung (Eintracht Frankfurt), Jan Kirchhoff (1. FSV Mainz 05), Sebastian Neumann (VfL Osnabrück), Lasse Sobich (SpVgg Greuther Fürth), Stefan Thesker (TSG 1899 Hoffenheim).
Patrick Funk (FC St Pauli), Lewis Holtby (FC Schalke 04), Moritz Leitner (Borussia Dortmund), Christoph Moritz (FC Schalke 04), Sebastian Rode (Eintracht Frankfurt), Sebastian Rudy (TSG 1899 Hoffenheim).
Maximilian Beister (Hamburger SV), Karim Bellarabi (Bayer 04 Leverkusen), Alexander Esswein (1. FC Nürnberg), Peniel Mlapa (VfL Borussia Mönchengladbach), Sebastian Polter (1. FC Nürnberg), Kevin Volland (TSG 1899 Hoffenheim).
Roman Bürki (Grasshopper-Club), Joël Mall (FC Aarau), Benjamin Siegrist (Aston Villa FC).
François Affolter (SV Werder Bremen), Fabio Daprela (Brescia Calcio), Berat Djimsiti (FC Zürich), Mickaël Facchinetti (FC Lausanne-Sport), Philippe Koch (FC Zürich), Fabian Schär (FC Basel 1893), Silvan Widmer (FC Aarau).
Amir Abrashi (Grasshopper-Club), Oliver Buff (FC Zürich), Izet Hajrović (Grasshopper-Club), Pajtim Kasami (Fulham FC), Antonio Marchesano (AC Bellinzona), Nzuzi Toko (Grasshopper-Club), Alain Wiss (FC Luzern), Steven Zuber (Grasshopper-Club)
Orhan Ademi (Eintracht Braunschweig), Josip Drmić (FC Zürich), Haris Seferović (ACF Fiorentina).
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