Time may be up on Germany's adventure in Israel, but for some, the mental preparation for the 2015 UEFA European Under-21 Championship in the Czech Republic has already begun.
Having been eliminated early after defeats by the Netherlands and Spain, Rainer Adrion's charges are keen to put a disappointing campaign behind them and, with eight players in the squad eligible for the 2015 campaign, the focus is now very much on the future.
Matthias Ginter featured in all three Group B games and the SC Freiburg defender is planning to take stock of where it went wrong. "We had different plans in mind before we came here but we would never have thought we'd be eliminated after two games," said Ginter. "We're massively disappointed at the moment and the criticism we received was partially deserved."
Shkodran Mustafi came into Adrion's side for the 2-1 win against Russia in their final Group B match and he is another of the young crop hoping to make their mark on the road to the Czech Republic. "For me it was important to be here and get a first taste," said the UC Sampdoria defender. "This great experience means we have a good chance of mastering the tasks ahead of us."
However, while some players will get an opportunity to make amends, it is the end of the U21 road for captain Lewis Holtby, who bows out of age-group football on a sour note. "There is lots of sadness and great memories to be kept forever," said the Tottenham Hotspur FC midfielder. "
The last three years were great and helped me develop as a person and as a footballer. I am proud to have been the captain of such a great team."
Coach Adrion is yet to decide who will take over the captain's armband from Holtby but is convinced that the next generation have what it takes to improve on the 2013 display. "It will be a new U21 side, but it certainly can't hurt to have some players who have gained experience here," he said. "All of them have great qualities, otherwise we wouldn't have picked them for this tournament.
"We will have a great team again and especially in defence we already have the framework in place. After the summer there is hardly a break and we will have six out of eight qualifying matches before the year is over." For those still eligible, the chance for redemption is just around the corner.
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