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Germany make final after Serra sinks Russia

Germany 1-0 Russia
A towering 68th-minute header from Janni Serra put Christian Wück's men into a final with France after securing another clean sheet in Stara Zagora.

Highlights: Germany 1-0 Russia
Highlights: Germany 1-0 Russia

• Janni Serra's 68th-minute header enough to take Germany into Friday's final
Victors struck woodwork twice in first period but failed to make breakthrough
• Christian Wück's men still yet to concede in finals ahead of meeting with France
Germany hoping to win first title since 2009 after losing 2011 and 2012 finals

Janni Serra headed the only goal of the game as Germany secured a narrow last-four win against Russia to return to the UEFA European Under-17 Championship final for the first time since 2012.

Germany struck the woodwork twice in the opening period but the game looked to be heading for penalties until Serra's 68th-minute intervention. The forward's header proved enough as Christian Wück's side maintained their perfect defensive record in the finals to seal a place in Friday's decider against France.

It is captain Felix Passlack who has led the way for Germany so far in the tournament with his three goals and he played in Salih Özcan for the game's first chance, but the No15's snap shot from 20 metres crashed into the crossbar. Dmitri Pletnev forced Constantin Frommann into a good save at the other end while Serra fired over and Gökhan Gül headed against the Russian woodwork for a second time.

Things remained tight after the restart but a neat one-two allowed Ivan Galanin to test Frommann once again while Amir Gavrilov made an outstanding intervention to prevent Serra slotting in from ten metres with the forward set to pull the trigger. It seemed Wück's men had passed up the opportunity to win it in normal time when Niklas Schmidt slipped Passlack into the right of the area and Aleksandr Maksimenko made an outstanding reaction stop from the Borussia Dortmund midfielder's rocket of a shot.

However, the winner did arrive thanks to a towering header. Full-back Enes Akyol was played into space on the left flank and whipped in a lethal cross, inviting the No16 to get between the central defenders and guide an effort into the far corner, leaving Germany just 80 minutes away from winning a first U17 title since 2009.

Daniel Nesseler, Joel Abu Hanna and Salih Özcan celebrate Germany's victory
Daniel Nesseler, Joel Abu Hanna and Salih Özcan celebrate Germany's victory©Sportsfile
Russia captain Georgi Makhatadze fends off Germany's Vitaly Janelt
Russia captain Georgi Makhatadze fends off Germany's Vitaly Janelt©Sportsfile
Niklas Schmidt and Amir Gavrilov compete for an aerial ball
Niklas Schmidt and Amir Gavrilov compete for an aerial ball©Sportsfile
Russia's Ivan Galanin shields possession from Vitaly Janelt
Russia's Ivan Galanin shields possession from Vitaly Janelt©Sportsfile
Vitaly Janelt gets up above Russia forward Yegor Denisov
Vitaly Janelt gets up above Russia forward Yegor Denisov©Sportsfile