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Hrubesch hopes for repeat performance

Germany coach Horst Hrubesch is aiming to orchestrate another victory against Spanish opponents in his side's Group B opener against Juan Ramón López Caro's team at the UEFA European Under-21 Championship.

Germany coach Horst Hrubesch has enjoyed success against Spanish sides in the past
Germany coach Horst Hrubesch has enjoyed success against Spanish sides in the past ©Getty Images

Horst Hrubesch will hope to oversee another memorable victory against opponents from Spain in Germany's opening game at the UEFA European Under-21 Championship.

• Hrubesch's team face a potentially tough first test against Juan Ramón López Caro's Spain in Gothenburg but the Germany coach has at least successfully plotted a winning start against Spanish opposition before.

• As trainer of the Germany U19s last summer, Hrubesch saw his charges defeat Spain 2-1 in their opening group game en route to capturing the European crown.

• In his days as a rampaging centre-forward in the 1980s, meanwhile, he was in the Hamburger SV side that defeated both Real Madrid CF and Real Sociedad de Fútbol in European Champion Clubs' Cup semi-finals. Indeed Hrubesch scored twice as Hamburg beat Madrid 5-1 to overturn a 2-0 first-leg deficit at the last-four stage in 1980.

• Germany have never won the U21 championship and under previous coach Dieter Eilts, they secured their passage to Sweden by the skin of their teeth. Benedikt Höwedes's solitary 90th-minute strike in France secured a 2-1 aggregate win just when the French had looked poised to progress on away goals.

• Winners in 1986 and 1998, Spain qualified in equally dramatic fashion in their play-off against Switzerland. Beaten 2-1 in the first leg, they were trailing 3-2 on aggregate entering the fifth minute of added time in the return in Murcia before Sisi popped up to force extra time. López Caro's team duly progressed when Raúl García struck to earn Spain a 3-1 win and 4-3 aggregate success.

• Germany's U21 footballers have won only two matches since the introduction of a final tournament, namely their opening games in 2004 and 2006 and on both occasions they lost the next two and were eliminated

• Spain have lost just one of their 12 previous matches at U21 final tournaments. Their record is P12 W8 D3 L1, although one of those draws was followed by a penalty shoot-out defeat against Italy in the 1996 semi-finals.

• Surprisingly for two of Europe's traditional heavyweights, Spain and Germany have met just four times in competitive U21 fixtures. Spain hold the upper hand having recorded three victories and a solitary defeat.

• The breakdown of results is:
1994 Qualifying Group 3
15.12.92 Germany 1-2 Spain, Osnabruck
14.12.93 Spain 3-1 Germany, Cordoba

1982 Quarter-finals
24.02.82 Spain 1-0 West Germany, Santa Cruz de Tenerife
06.04.82 West Germany 2-0 Spain, Augsburg

• East Germany reached the first two finals of the UEFA European Under-21 Championship in 1978 and 1980, and in 1982 it was West Germany's turn after they defeated Spain in the last eight.

• They recovered from a 1-0 first-leg defeat in Tenerife to win 2-0 in Augsburg through goals from Rudi Völler and Pierre Littbarski. Völler scored twice more in an extraordinary 9-3 aggregate win against the Soviet Union in the semi-finals before West Germany lost to England 5-4 over two legs in the final.

• Spain got revenge of a kind when the countries were drawn together again in qualifying for the 1994 European U21 Championship. The Spanish advanced to the quarter-finals at Germany's expense when they built on a 2-1 win in Osnabruck with a 3-1 home success 12 months later, Julen Guerrero scoring twice. After beating Greece in the last eight, they lost to Portugal in the semi-finals.

• Spain U21 forward Bojan Krkić scored his country's goal in a 1-1 draw with Germany in the third-place play-off at the UEFA European U17 Championship in 2006. The FC Barcelona player also converted in the subsequent shoot-out, as did Germany's Marko Marin, in which Spain prevailed 3-2.

• Germany defender Gonzalo Castro was born in Wuppertal to Spanish parents and holds dual German-Spanish nationality.

• At senior level there have been 20 meetings between the countries which have produced eight wins for Germany, six for Spain and six draws.

• Spain's U21 footballers can look to the example of their senior counterparts who defeated Germany 1-0 in the final of UEFA EURO 2008™ in Vienna last summer. Fernando Torres's 33rd-minute goal made Spain champions of Europe for the second time.

• Torres also scored the only goal of the game in the 2002 UEFA European U19 Championship final between the teams.

Squad news

• Having arrived in Sweden on Thursday, Germany have made themselves at home at their camp in the small town of Lerum, to the north-east of Gothenburg.

• "We have prepared in the best way possible for this tournament," said Sami Khedira. "We have grown closer during our preparation, which will be decisive at the finals. We want to achieve the maximum. We want the title."

• Hrubesch is eager to build on recent German successes at U17 and U19 level. "Luckily, we have no problems with injuries; all players are fit," he said on Friday. Manuel Neuer, Marko Marin, Andreas Beck, Mesut Özil and Gonzalo Castro have all represented the senior side, although Hrubesch acknowledges there are still issues to resolve up front, saying: "This is where our problem is. The question is can Sandro [Wagner] assert himself? If not, others have to take over."

• Senior Germany coach Joachim Löw will attend the first two group matches against Spain and Finland, before travelling to the FIFA Confederations Cup in South Africa.

• Spain started their preparations in Sweden with a double training session in Gothenburg, following the strict programme coach López Caro began at the Ciudad del Fútbol at Las Rozas in Madrid.

• The first Group B team to arrive, Spain have settled into their hotel in central Gothenburg and had Saturday afternoon off ahead of their first official training session at the Gamla Ullevi on Sunday evening.