Germany are back in the finals after missing out last time, and the top scorers in qualifying will be looking for a repeat of their 2009 success in Israel under Rainer Adrion.
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While this is the ninth time that Germany have qualified for the Under-21 finals, it is a first for coach Rainer Adrion, who failed to lead the then reigning champions to Denmark during his first campaign in charge. He more than made amends this time round, though, as his team dropped just two points – on the last matchday – in the qualifying group stage, scoring a competition-leading 39 goals in the process.
It looked as if Germany had fluffed their lines in the play-off, however, when they drew the first leg 1-1 at home to a strong Switzerland side, but they then stormed to a 3-1 win in Luzern to confirm their place in Israel.
This Germany team boasts many talents, with probably the brightest being attacking midfielder Lewis Holtby. Purchased by Tottenham Hotspur FC in January, Holtby has won three senior caps already and is adept at both scoring and creating goals. Up front, Adrion has a wealth of options, including Peniel Mlapa, who scored eight goals in qualifying, while the midfield is anchored by Sebastian Rudy. An attacking philosophy has left Germany slightly open at the back – they kept only three clean sheets in nine games in 2012. That trait has continued into 2013, with a 1-0 loss to Italy and 2-1 win against Israel completing their friendly schedule.
Former VfB Stuttgart coach Adrion is aiming high. "The current team will be the frame for the European Championship. If we are not up against Brazil, Argentina or Spain, Germany are always perceived as favourites. That's how it will also be at the finals."