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 right now being attacking midfielder Lewis Holtby. A regular starter for FC Schalke 04, Holtby has won a couple of 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 have kept only three clean sheets in nine games in 2012.
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."
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