Austria will aim to reverse their recent fortunes against neighbours Germany when they conclude their Group B campaign at the Ernst-Happel-Stadion.
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UEFA EURO 2008™ co-hosts Austria will have to reverse their recent fortunes against neighbours Germany when they conclude their Group B campaign with a local derby at the Ernst-Happel-Stadion.
• Having rescued a draw in their second fixture against Poland in Vienna thanks to Ivica Vastic's added-time penalty, Josef Hickersberger's team know that nothing less than three points will be sufficient to keep them in the competition. Even that might not be enough should Poland beat Croatia in the section's other concluding fixture, with goal difference likely to decide who finishes as runner-up to Croatia in that eventuality.
• It might have been even worse for Austria as Poland took a 30th-minute lead at the Ernst-Happel-Stadion through Roger Guerreiro. Just as a second successive 1-0 defeat loomed, however, Sebastian Prödl had his shirt pulled by Marcin Wasilewski in added time and substitute Vastic made no mistake from the spot, becoming the oldest goalscorer in UEFA European Championship finals history at the age of 38 years and 257 days in the process. It was Austria's first goal in a UEFA European Championship final tournament.
• Austria had opened their finals with a 1-0 defeat against Croatia in Vienna, Luka Modrić scoring the only goal from the penalty spot in the fourth minute – the earliest successful spot-kick in final history.
• Germany, meanwhile, made a much more positive start as two goals from the Polish-born Lukas Podolski (20 and 72 minutes) secured victory against Poland in Klagenfurt. The FC Bayern München striker also found the net in the second round of matches, striking in the 79th minute against Croatia at the Wörthersee Stadion – although that was insufficient to take anything from the game as Darijo Srna (24 minutes) and Ivica Olić (62) had already given Croatia a 2-0 lead. There was more bad news for coach Joachim Löw as Bastian Schweinsteiger was sent off for retaliation in added time.
• Nevertheless, a point against Austria would be sufficient to take Germany into the quarter-finals for the first time since they won the tournament in 1996.
• Hickersberger's team will once again enjoy the backing of their home support in Vienna but will know arguably their toughest test of the group stage awaits them against opponents who have won the sides' last four meetings with an aggregate score of 17-4.
• The first of these four wins came on 2 June 1994 when Germany prevailed 5-1 in Vienna thanks to two Andreas Möller goals and one each from Matthias Sammer, Jürgen Klinsmann and Mario Basler.
• Germany then beat Austria 6-2 in Leverkusen on May 2002 – with Miroslav Klose scoring a hat-trick – while it was Kevin Kuranyi's turn to record a treble in the visitors' 3-1 success in Vienna on 18 August 2004. Austria's goal came from Martin Amerhauser.
• The teams for the August 2004 meeting were:
Austria: Thomas Mandl, Martin Stranzl, Anton Ehmann, Martin Hiden, Markus Katzer, Markus Schopp (Roland Kirchler 46), Dietmar Kühbauer, René Aufhauser, Andreas Ivanschitz, Roland Kollmann (Roman Wallner 70), Martin Amerhauser (Roland Linz 61).
Germany: Oliver Kahn (Jens Lehmann 46), Andreas Hinkel (Robert Huth 86), Frank Fahrenhorst, Thomas Linke, Philipp Lahm, Tim Borowski, Torsten Frings (Frank Baumann 86), Bastian Schweinsteiger (Fabian Ernst 62), Michael Ballack, Gerald Asamoah (Lukas Podolski 78), Kevin Kuranyi (Thomas Brdaric 78).
• On 6 February this year, the two nations met again in Vienna. While Austria showed plenty of promise, they were undone by second-half goals from Thomas Hitzlsperger, Miroslav Klose and Mario Gómez.
• The teams were:
Austria: Alex Manninger, Emanuel Pogatetz, Martin Stranzl, Sebastian Prödl, Joachim Standfest, René Aufhauser (Thomas Prager 69), Jürgen Säumel, Christian Fuchs, Andreas Ivanschitz, Martin Harnik (Roman Kienast 74), Roland Linz (Veli Kavlak 82).
Germany: Jens Lehmann, Heiko Westermann, Per Mertesacker, Manuel Friedrich (Roberto Hilbert 74), Philipp Lahm, Bernd Schneider (Lukas Podolski 59), Michael Ballack (Simon Rolfes 87), Thomas Hitzelsperger (Jermaine Jones 82), Bastian Schweinsteiger, Miroslav Klose, Kevin Kuranyi (Mario Gómez 59).
• Austria's last win against Germany was back in October 1986 when they recorded a 4-1 friendly success in Vienna courtesy of two goals from both Toni Polster and Reinhard Kienast – the uncle of current Austria striker Roman Kienast.
• The teams' last competitive meetings came in the qualifying round of the 1984 UEFA European Championship. After a goalless draw in Vienna on 27 April 1983, Germany won the return match 3-0 in Gelsenkirchen on 5 October that same year.
• Germany beat Austria 3-2 in the play-off for third place at the 1934 FIFA World Cup. Twenty years later Austria lost 6-1 to eventual champions West Germany at the semi-final stage of the World Cup in Switzerland.
• Austria coach Josef Hickersberger played in his country's only competitive victory against their neighbours – a 3-2 triumph in the second group stage of the 1978 World Cup which featured two goals from striker Hans Krankl and confirmed West Germany's elimination.
• Four years later the two teams met at the 1982 World Cup. Germany's 1-0 victory enabled both teams to progress to the second round at the expense of Algeria, who had already completed their games.
• The overall record in 34 head-to-head games is eight wins for Austria, 20 for Germany, and six draws. Germany have scored 75 goals to Austria's 51 in those matches. Fifteen previous encounters in Vienna have produced four wins for Austria, nine for Germany and two draws.
• Austria coach Hickersberger played in Germany from 1972-78 with Offenbacher Kickers 1901 and Fortuna Düsseldorf 1895. He later coached Fortuna from December 1990 to August 1991.
• Hickersberger's SK Rapid Wien side suffered defeats both at home (0-1) and away (0-4) against FC Bayern München in the 2005/06 UEFA Champions League group stage. The two matches pitted German internationals Lahm and Schweinsteiger against Austrian counterparts György Garics, Martin Hiden, Ivanschitz and Markus Katzer.
• Germany coach Joachim Löw won the 2001/02 Austrian Bundesliga with FC Tirol Innsbruck. However, the club's financial problems meant they were denied a professional licence for the following season and Löw subsequently moved on to a spell at FK Austria Wien.
• Austria midfielder Martin Harnik is a colleague of Tim Borowski, Torsten Frings, Clemens Fritz and Per Mertesacker at Werder Bremen. Another Austrian international, Sebastian Prödl, will join Bremen from SK Sturm Graz in the summer.
• Austria's third-choice goalkeeper Ramazan Özcan spent the second half of 2007/08 on loan at 2. Bundesliga side TSG 1899 Hoffenheim, making 17 appearances as the club won promotion to the German top flight.
• This is Austria's first appearance at a EURO final tournament. Their best performance in the UEFA European Championship came in the inaugural edition of 1960 where they reached the quarter-finals before losing 9-4 on aggregate to France.
• Germany were European champions last in 1996 having earlier lifted the continental crown as West Germany in 1972 and 1980. Runners-up in 1976 and 1992, they have appeared in every edition of the UEFA European Championship since the inception of the final round in 1980.
• This is the 13th edition of the UEFA European Championship and the eighth edition that features a final tournament with a group phase.
• Three teams have won the UEFA European Championship as hosts. Spain and Italy triumphed in 1964 and 1968 respectively, when staging the semi-finals and final. France in 1984 became the only winners since a proper final tournament was established in 1980.