Germany may have only won the UEFA European Under-21 Championship once, but they will again be among the favourites at this summer's finals in Israel.
Rainer Adrion's team dropped just two points in qualifying round Group 1 before negotiating a play-off against Switzerland to book their place at the tournament. Though Germany were not quite as eye-catching en route to the 2009 finals, they nevertheless lifted the trophy for the first time in Sweden. That was a triumph inspired by a golden generation of players such as Sami Khedira, Manuel Neuer and Mesut Ozil, and Adrion is sure the current squad have the characteristics to repeat that feat.
"That team also got better and developed further within the tournament, and also had leading players in the team," said Adrion. "The hierarchy within that team was also great, and the individual players who started their career afterwards put their stamp on the team. We also have players in our team now that can take the same road."
Among the most likely contenders to follow in those illustrious footsteps are Peniel Mlapa, who scored eight goals in qualifying, and Lewis Holtby, who is already a full international and has UEFA Champions League experience with FC Schalke 04.
"Lewis has leadership qualities off the pitch, he is the head of the team, and that's why he is the captain," added Adrion. "He is an example in motivation, in hunger for success, and he manages to transfer that to the team. His football skills are top class, his play in central midfield, being dangerous in attack, even scoring goals himself. That's why he is a leading and key player for this team."
To see more of Adrion's interview with UEFA.com, view the video above.
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