• Ukraine lost 4-0 in Germany in their only previous Under-21 meeting, a friendly in Wilhelmshaven on 23 May 2008, Sami Khedira scoring the first two goals on 68 and 77 minutes.
• That Germany generation went on to win the title under Horst Hrubesch in Sweden in 2009, having previously lost the final as West Germany in 1982, also against England.
• Germany have qualified for four of the last six final tournaments, going out in the 2004, 2006 and 2013 group stages.
• Of the 2013 finals squad, goalkeepers Bernd Leno and Timo Horn, and forward Kevin Volland are in the 22 to play Ukraine.
• Joshua Kimmich, part of the Germany side that won the 2014 UEFA European Under-19 Championship, has been called up to the U21s for the first time.
• Ukraine last qualified in 2011 when they were eliminated in the group stage – but five years earlier they made it to the final in Portugal, losing to the Netherlands.
• Defender Ivan Ordets, midfielder Serhiy Bolbat and forward Pylyp Budkivskiy miss out on the play-offs after promotion to the senior Ukraine squad.
• Play-off record (ties): Ukraine – W2 L1; Germany – W4 L1
• Ukraine were one of the four best runners-up having recovered from a 2-0 home loss to Croatia in their opening game with six wins, plus a draw in Zagreb. Croatia pipped them to first place on head-to-head record.
• Germany, including several 2009 European U17 champions, strolled through their section, winning their first four matches and, after November draws in Montenegro and Romania, beating the Republic of Ireland 2-0 to top the pool with a game to spare.
Serhiy Kovalets, Ukraine: "Germany are a very interesting, strong and stable side. Firstly they are good in team play, have a mutual understanding and their team discipline is of the highest level. Then, all their players are regulars at their Bundesliga clubs which gives Germany another advantage over us. We are watching their matches. When we get together we will be analysing this information with the lads and planning our game. I believe the fans can expect some excitement."
Horst Hrubesch, Germany: "By progressing to the finals we can reward ourselves for the work of the past year. We have trained intensively, planned the squad and gained competitiveness during the group stage. We respect Ukraine as they have, for example, knocked out Switzerland during the group phase. I expect two tight matches, but my team have shown often enough that they can overcome such challenges. Also, for the return leg, we will have the passionate support of our fans in Essen, which should carry us to the finals. That's why it was my personal wish to play this match in the Hafenstrasse [stadium]. We want to win both legs and qualify for the finals."
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