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Netherlands and Germany seek positive start

Published: Tuesday 4 June 2013, 11.48CET
The Netherlands and Germany have not appeared in the finals since last winning the title and each will be eager to make a victorious return in Petah Tikva.
Netherlands and Germany seek positive start
Germany coach Rainer Adrion takes a training session in Hodorov ©Getty Images

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Published: Tuesday 4 June 2013, 11.48CET

Netherlands and Germany seek positive start

The Netherlands and Germany have not appeared in the finals since last winning the title and each will be eager to make a victorious return in Petah Tikva.

Neither the Netherlands nor Germany have appeared in the UEFA European Under-21 Championship since last winning the title and each will be eager to make a positive start when they meet at Ha Moshava Stadium in Petah Tikva when Group B gets under way.

How they qualified
• The Netherlands won their first three qualifiers but then took only a point from their next two, both against Scotland. Fourteen goals for and just one against in their final three outings secured first place in Group 10, however – six points clear of Scotland – before two 2-0 wins against Slovakia in the play-offs.

• Germany recorded nine wins and a draw – 4-4 away at second-placed Bosnia and Herzegovina in their final game – to finish eight points clear at the top of Group 1, scoring 39 goals and conceding nine. They then overcame Switzerland in the play-offs, drawing 1-1 at home but winning 3-1 away; their 43 goals scored was eight more than the next highest total, Spain's 35.

Previous meetings
• This will be only the teams' fifth competitive meeting at U21 level and their first in almost 25 years. They were first paired together in qualifying for the 1988 tournament when the Netherlands came out on top against West Germany, winning the first game in Venlo 3-1 in April 1987 before a 2-0 away victory in Munster four months later. Those wins helped the Jong Oranje finish top of Group 8 with West Germany eliminated in third place; the Netherlands went on to lose to Greece in the two-legged semi-finals.

• West Germany quickly turned the tables, recording home and away victories in qualifying for the 1990 finals. Oliver Bierhoff and Steffen Effenberg scored in a 2-0 home win in Augsburg on 18 October 1988; Marcel Witeczek got the only goal of the Venlo return the following April. West Germany finished top of Group 4 with the Netherlands third; Germany lost in the next round, however, going down 3-2 on aggregate to the Soviet Union in the quarter-finals.

• Although they have not played competitively since that 1989 fixture, the teams have been regular friendly opponents and last met in Sittard on 25 March 2011. Visitors Germany ran out 3-1 winners, their goals coming from Pierre-Michel Lasogga (27), Sebastian Rudy (46) and Lewis Holtby (64) with Género Zeefuik (45+3) getting the Netherlands' sole reply.

• The teams were:
Netherlands: Padt (Zoedt 46), Evers, Bruma, Nuytinck (Ramsteijn 46), Blind (Nelom 85), Clasie (Nijholt 55), Fer, Vejinovic (Ebecilio 55), Narsingh, Zeefuik, Cabral (Kieftenbeld 75).
Germany: Baumann, Radjabali-Fardi (Ostrzolek 22), Jantschke, Neumann, Kirchhoff, Vogt, Rudy (Hornschuh 83), Vukcevic (Schindler 90), Holtby (Jung 90), Mlapa (Didavi 72), Lasogga (Sukuta-Pasu 72).

• The Netherlands were 4-0 away winners in Ahlen on 27 March 2009 while the teams played out a pair of 2-2 draws in 2006. Germany came out on top in the sides' first meeting of the 21st century, winning 4-1 on 19 November 2002 with Kevin Kuranyi scoring twice and Giuseppe Gemiti and Thomas Hitzlsperger also on target in Aachen; Arjen Robben got the visitors' goal.

Match background
• The Netherlands are in the finals for the first time since 2007, when they claimed a second successive title on home soil with a 4-1 final defeat of Serbia in Groningen. They had lifted the trophy for the first time with a 3-0 defeat of Ukraine in Portugal 12 months previously.

• The Jong Oranje's only previous appearances in the final tournament came in 1998, when they lost to Norway in the third-place play-off, and 2000, when they failed to survive the group stage. They were also semi-finalists in 1988 and reached the last eight four years later.

• Germany have also not featured in the final tournament since lifting the trophy, in their case in Sweden in 2009 where England were defeated 4-0 in the final in Malmo. That is Germany's sole U21 triumph, although as West Germany they were runners-up to England in 1982.

• Germany were eliminated in the group stage of the 2004 and 2006 finals – hosting the former edition – and lost in the quarter-finals in 1990, 1992, 1996 and 1998.

Team ties
• Netherlands coach Cor Pot was technical director at SG Dynamo Dresden in 2000/01.

• Luuk de Jong moved to VfL Borussia Mönchengladbach in summer 2012.

• Marco van Ginkel made his senior Netherlands debut in a goalless friendly draw against Germany on 14 November at the Amsterdam ArenA. Bruno Martins Indi, Ricardo van Rhijn and Stefan de Vrij were also in the home team with Holtby featuring for the visitors.

• Georginio Wijnaldum won his second cap for the senior Netherlands side in a 3-0 defeat by Germany in Hamburg on 15 November 2011.

• Leroy Fer and Ola John were in the Twente side beaten by FC Schalke 04 in the 2011/12 UEFA Europa League round of 16. Christoph Moritz was a substitute in Twente's 1-0 home win in the first leg, Holtby starting and Moritz again coming on in the return, won 4-1 by the German club.

Netherlands news
• The Netherlands were the first foreign team to arrive in Israel and begun their training camp in Haifa on 28 May.

• The Jong Oranje enjoyed a day off in Haifa on Sunday after an open training session on Saturday evening. They spent some time on the beach although Kevin Strootman, Memphis Depay, Stefan de Vrij and Bruno Martins Indi could not resist playing a game of beach football.

• The Dutch had a final training session in Haifa on Monday morning, before heading off to Tel Aviv by bus. They enjoyed an evening walk along the boulevard; on Tuesday the players were available for media interviews before training in the evening.

• The Netherlands squad includes 12 players with senior international experience and their starting lineup here promises to become quite different from qualifying. Coach Pot said: "It is my job to create a team from it. I am very clear in that. Everyone knows exactly how we are going to play."

Germany news
• The Germany squad was finally complete after Antonio Rüdiger joined the team on Monday. The centre-back played for VfB Stuttgart in their 3-2 defeat by FC Bayern München in Saturday's German Cup final and linked up with his team-mates on Monday morning.

• The rest of the Germany party had arrived in Tel Aviv just before midnight on Sunday following two training camps in Bavaria and Cyprus.

• Coach Rainer Adrion has all 23 players fit and available, although there was a scare during Monday's training session when midfielder Patrick Herrmann received treatment from the medical staff because of a hip problem. "It still hurts, but I will manage," the Mönchengladbach winger said.

• Adrion said: "I'm happy that I now have my full team here in Israel and although it has been a long season for all of them, I have a lot of confidence that we will deliver some good games. The fans here in Israel are fantastic, they show a lot of enthusiasm for this tournament."

Last updated: 04/06/13 17.19CET