The 2013 UEFA European Under-21 Championship comprises a qualifying group stage and play-off round to determine which seven teams join hosts Israel in the final tournament.
Qualifying group stage
Teams are split into ten groups – two of six teams and eight of five – and play each other on a home and away basis. The ten group winners and four runners-up with the best record against the teams first, third, fourth and fifth in their sections advance to the play-offs.
Play-off matches are played according to the knockout system, with each team playing each opponent home and away. The team which scores the greater aggregate of goals qualifies for the next round, with away goals, extra time and then penalties used to determine the winner in the event of a draw.
The final tournament comprises the seven play-off winners and Israel, who qualify automatically as hosts. The eight teams are split into two groups of four. Each team plays each other once in their group with the winners and runners-up advancing to the semi-finals where the winner of Group A plays the Group B runner-up and vice-versa. The winners advance to the final.
Further details, including the criteria for separating teams that finish level on points in a group, can be found in the official competition regulations.
Germany will return to the UEFA European Under-21 Championship finals for the first time since lifting the trophy in 2009 after Lewis Holtby's powerful first-half performance laid the platform against 2011 runners-up Switzerland.
With the tie delicately balanced at 1-1 after the first leg in Leverkusen, skipper Holtby seized control of the game in the eighth minute when he curled a free-kick from the Germany right inside Roman Bürki's far post. The FC Schalke 04 midfielder wreaked further havoc 12 minutes later from an almost identical position, his set piece cannoning in off team-mate Lasse Sobiech to silence the Lucerne crowd.
Empowered by their early double, Rainer Adrion's team built on their dominance in midfield, and through Stefan Thesker's wayward close-range header they threatened a third. Perseverance was to reap rewards on the stroke of half-time as Holtby pulled the strings in the centre circle, setting Karim Bellarabi free on the Germany left. The Bayer 04 Leverkusen winger teed up a tap-in for Sebastian Polter to put the tie beyond Switzerland's reach.
Pierluigi Tami's side battled on gamely, but Bernd Leno in the Germany goal was at his athletic best when called upon. He parried Nzuzi Toko's stinging volley to safety and was on hand at the near post to repel substitute Oliver Buff's effort at the end of a tricky run. Eventually, the hosts ensured that Germany's passage to the finals in Israel would not be blemish free, as first-leg scorer Josip Drmic met Buff's pass to slide home a 75th-minute consolation.
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|Pierluigi Tami (SUI)||Rainer Adrion (GER)|
|Matej Jug (SVN)|
|Gregor Rojko (SVN), Robert Vukan (SVN)|
|Dejan Balažić (SVN)|