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Group B: Bulgaria, Germany, Ukraine, Serbia

Published: Thursday 17 July 2014, 9.23CET
Germany and Ukraine, champions in 2008 and 2009 respectively, are both back in the finals for the first time since those wins and aiming to dethrone holders Serbia.
Group B: Bulgaria, Germany, Ukraine, Serbia
Bulgaria celebrate reaching a first finals since 2008 ©Ani Georgieva
Published: Thursday 17 July 2014, 9.23CET

Group B: Bulgaria, Germany, Ukraine, Serbia

Germany and Ukraine, champions in 2008 and 2009 respectively, are both back in the finals for the first time since those wins and aiming to dethrone holders Serbia.

Bulgaria
Back in the finals for the first time since their 2008 debut, Bulgaria made the most of home advantage in the elite round to finish ahead of Sweden, the Czech Republic and Italy. Coach Aleksandar Dimitrov has been working with the squad for four years, although the absence of PFC Levski Sofia midfielder Borislav Tsonev due to a serious knee injury is a major blow.

Best performance: group stage 2008

Key players: Antonio Vutov (midfielder, Udinese Calcio), Stefan Velkov (defender, PFC Slavia Sofia), Radoslav Tsonev (midfielder, PFC Levski Sofia), Nikola Kolev (midfielder, PFC Litex Lovech)

Aleksandar Dimitrov, coach: "We must approach every game with one aim: giving our best and trying to grind out a result. Every single point will be important for our targets."

©UEFA.com

Germany last qualified in 2008

Germany
Having not featured since 2008, when a squad including Lars and Sven Bender and Ron-Robert Zieler lifted the trophy in the Czech Republic, Germany returned in style by beating six-time champions Spain in the elite round. That was one of five victories in their six qualifying matches, striker Davie Selke contributing five of their 17 goals.

Best performance: winners 2008

Key players: Pascal Itter (defender, FC Schalke 04), Julian Brandt (midfielder, Bayer 04 Leverkusen), Niklas Stark (midfielder, 1. FC Nürnberg), Davie Selke (forward, SV Werder Bremen)

Marcus Sorg, coach: "We will do anything in our power to go as far as possible. Like all German teams, we put great emphasis on discipline and organisation. Of course we also have players with exceptional quality, especially in attack."

©UEFA.com

Ukraine's celebrations in 2009

Ukraine
Ukraine collected seven points in both the qualifying and elite rounds to return to the finals for the first time since becoming the first hosts to lift the trophy back in 2009. The 1-0 win that eliminated England in the concluding elite round fixture prompted coach Oleksandr Petrakov to award his team "five out of five" for their performances, adding: "I'll remember this day for the rest of my life."

Best performance: winners 2009

Key players: Roman Pidkivka (goalkeeper, FC Karpaty Lviv), Eduard Sobol (defender, FC Shakhtar Donetsk), Ihor Kharatin (midfielder, FC Dynamo Kyiv), Artem Radchenko (forward, FC Metalist Kharkiv)

Oleksandr Petrakov, coach: "[We have a] Never-say-die attitude, fighting spirit, will to win and a tight-knit group. [These tournaments] demonstrate how Europe's best young players play; we have to learn from them. I want my lads to progress and become players of a good standard."

©Sportsfile

Serbia will defend the trophy in Hungary

Serbia
The holders make it three former champions in Group B, seeking to repeat last year's success in Lithuania. Just two goals conceded in their six qualifiers showed their defensive fortitude and a squad containing five of the 2013 champions should not be short of tournament know-how. Coach Veljko Paunović succeeded Ljubinko Drulović after last year's triumph, which the new man described as "the greatest moment in our history".

Best performance: winners 2013

Key players: Nemanja Maksimović (midfielder, Hellas Verona FC), Predrag Rajković (goalkeeper, FK Crvena zvezda), Sergej Milinković-Savić (midfielder, FK Vojvodina), Mijat Gačinović (forward, FK Vojvodina)

Veljko Paunović, coach: "We are happy with what awaits us, but we are also cautious. We know that we have to prepare ourselves very well for the matches in this group and – if we manage to go through – for the latter stages. In tournaments it is always the first match that is the most important."

Last updated: 17/07/14 9.33CET

http://www.uefa.com/under19/news/newsid=2123866.html#group+b+bulgaria+germany+ukraine+serbia

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