Denmark spoiled the opening-day party of 2015 hosts the Czech Republic – and will be out to record another victory when the teams meet again on matchday three in Group C.
Denmark have won only one of their five meetings with the Czech Republic, although they should have cause for optimism given that sole victory came in the 2015 UEFA European Under-21 Championship.
• While Denmark and the Czech Republic have met in three previous fixtures, the Danes also took on Czechoslovakia twice, winning just one of those five games with three defeats.
• Two years ago, finals hosts the Czech Republic played Denmark in Prague on the tournament's opening day, Pavel Kadeřábek giving the home side a 35th-minute lead only for second-half strikes from Jannik Vestergaard (56) and Pione Sisto (84) to secure Denmark victory in front of a 15,987 crowd.
• The teams at the Eden Stadium on 17 June 2015 were:
Czech Republic: Koubek, Kadeřábek, Brabec, Petrák, Zmrhal, Kliment, Frýdek, Krejčí (Skalák 76), Baránek (Jánoš 82), Přikryl (Trávník 62), Hybš.
Denmark: Busk, Scholz, Sørensen (L Christensten 25), A Christensen, Vestergaard, Knudsen, Poulsen, Højbjerg, Thomsen, Fischer (Sisto 84), Falk (Berggreen 89).
• The Czechs had recorded two victories against Denmark in qualifying for the 2002 finals – which they went on to win. Milan Baroš scored twice in a 3-0 home success in March 2001 before Libor Žůrek got the seventh and final goal of a pulsating game in Odense three minutes into added time, the Czechs recovering from conceding twice in the first seven minutes to triumph 4-3.
• Czechoslovakia registered an away win (1-0) and a home draw (1-1) in qualifying for the 1988 U21 finals. They went on to top the group, two points above the second-placed Danes, but lost to Greece in the quarter-finals.
• The Czechs finished five points clear in qualifying Group 1 despite losing their penultimate fixture, away to second-placed Belgium. Their 7-0 victory away to Malta was the joint-biggest win in 2017 qualifying – along with Austria's defeat of Azerbaijan by the same scoreline – and they also boasted the top scorer in qualifying, Patrik Schick managing ten goals in nine appearances.
• No team in the finals conceded more goals in qualifying than the Czech Republic's ten.
• Winners in 2002 with a squad including Petr Čech, Baroš, Zdeněk Grygera, David Rozehnal, Jan Polák and Tomáš Hübschman – who all amassed more than 50 senior caps – the Czech Republic are in the final tournament for the sixth time. Quarter-finalists in 1996 and runners-up in 2000, they were then knocked out in the group stage in both 2007 and, as hosts, 2015 – yet in between times finished fourth in 2011.
• Czechoslovakia reached the U21 quarter-finals on six occasions, but never went any further in the competition.
• Denmark drew their first Group 5 qualifier at home to Wales but won all of the next nine – keeping clean sheets in their first five matches and managing seven shut-outs overall. Their three-goals-against column was the joint lowest in qualifying, along with Italy and England.
• The Danes were semi-finalists – falling to neighbours Sweden – for just the second time in 2015, having also lost in the last four in 1992. They reached the quarter-finals in 1978 and 1986, but otherwise have only two finals appearances to their name, being eliminated in the group stage in 2006 and, as hosts, 2011.
Coach and player links
• Patrik Schick scored twice in the Czech Republic's 3-0 win against Denmark in the 2012/13 European U17 Championship qualifying round. Aleš Matějů and Václav Černý also figured for the Czechs, for whom Petr Rys was an unused substitute. Andreas Christensen and substitute Marcus Ingvartsen featured for Denmark.
• Kenneth Zohore got two goals as Denmark dispatched the Czech Republic 5-0 in the 2013 European U19 Championship elite round, Patrick Da Silva notching the final goal. Frederik Holst, Patrick Banggaard, Lasse Vigen Christensen, Christian Nørgaard and substitute Lucas Andersen also played for Denmark; the Czech team included Lukáš Zima, Michal Trávník, Lukáš Juliš, Patrizio Stronati, Aleš Čermák and Petr Ševčík, Zdeněk Linhart came on as a substitute and Luděk Vejmola and Stefan Simič were unused replacements.
• Kasper Dolberg and Václav Černý are team-mates at Ajax.
Vítězslav Lavička, Czech Republic
Having started his playing career around his home town of Plzen – later turning out for Viktoria Plzeň – Lavička peaked with Sparta Praha, where he won seven league championships over three spells. His later coaching career was inspired by Václav Ježek, with Lavička's first big success being to guide Slovan Liberec to the 2006 domestic title.
A year later he became Czech U21 coach for the first time, although he was back at Sparta within six months. There followed an Australian sojourn with Sydney FC between 2009 and 2012, with a championship secured in 2010, before a return to Sparta in 2012 – capped by league, cup and Czech Super Cup glory two years later. Having resumed control of the U21s in 2015, he steered them to the UEFA European Championship to be honoured as Czech Coach of the Year for 2016.
Niels Frederiksen, Denmark
Frederiksen did not have a professional playing career; he was educated in economics and worked in banking for several years while working part-time as a youth coach at B93 and Lyngby. Subsequently he replaced Henrik Larsen as Lyngby coach in 2009 and in his first full season, 2009/10, earned promotion to the Danish top flight.
Frederiksen then replaced Jess Thorup – who had taken command of Denmark's U21s – as Esbjerg boss at the beginning of 2013/14. He once again succeeded Thorup in his current post in August 2015.