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Germany v Serbia background

The last time Germany met Serbia on the opening day of the UEFA European Under-21 Championship they won – but it was all downhill from there for the 2009 winners.

Philipp Hofmann (second left) was Germany's seven-goal top scorer in qualifying
Philipp Hofmann (second left) was Germany's seven-goal top scorer in qualifying ©Getty Images

Germany won the last time they faced Serbia on the opening day of the UEFA European Under-21 Championship and while they will hope of a repeat, they will be eager to avoid what followed.

Previous meetings 
• Group A rivals Germany and Serbia have met only once in this competition, qualifying included: in the opening game of the 2006 final tournament. A 61st-minute goal from Eugen Polanski earned Germany a 1-0 win against what was then Serbia and Montenegro.

• The teams at the Estádio Cidade de Barcelos on 23 May 2006 were:
Serbia and Montenegro: Stojković, Ivanović, Stepanov, Biševac, Lomić, Basta, Krasić, Milovanović (Milijaš 68), Vukčević (Todorović 77), Janković (Purović 65), Vučinić.
Germany: Rensing, Volz, Sinkiewicz, Matip, Fathi, Lehmann, Polanski (Castro 68), Schulz, Hilbert (Brzenska 90+2), Kiessling, Nando Rafael (Eigler 77).

• The result was a false omen: Germany did not pick up another point and bowed out at the end of the group stage after finishing in a three-way tie for second behind France. Serbia and Montenegro went through on goal difference but lost 5-4 on penalties to Ukraine in the last four after a goalless 120 minutes.

Match background 
• Germany have only gone beyond the last eight twice in nine previous final tournament appearances, in 1982 and 2009, meeting England in the final on each occasion. They lost in 1982 and won in 2009.

• Six of Germany's 2014 FIFA World Cup-winning squad played in the side which beat England 4-0 in the 2009 final.

• As part of Yugoslavia, Serbia won the inaugural title in 1978. A second-leg hat-trick from Vahid Halilhodžić, adding to his goal (the only goal) in the first meeting, sealed a 5-4 final victory over East Germany.

• After the break-up of Yugoslavia, Serbia were twice runners-up in 2004 and 2007, reach the semi-finals in 2006 and contested the group stage in 2009. They did not qualify for the last two editions.

Coach profiles
Germany: Horst Hrubesch 
Born 17/04/51
Curiously, Hrubesch replaced his successor Rainer Adrion after Germany's disappointing showing at Israel 2013. The former West Germany striker, who had guided the U21s to glory at the 2009 finals in Sweden, scored both goals during his nation's 2-1 triumph over Belgium in the 1980 UEFA European Championship final.

Serbia: Mladen Dodić
Born 17/10/69
Dodić steered FK Jagodina to a third-place finish in 2013/14 and the final of the Serbian Cup. The former Napredak, Novi Pazar and Javor boss was hired in late December to replace Radovan Ćurčić, who succeeded Dick Advocaat at the helm of the senior national side.

Form guide 
Germany 
Last five games (most recent first): LDDWW
Qualifying top scorer: Philipp Hofmann (7)

Serbia 
Last five games (most recent first): WLWDW
Qualifying top scorer: Aleksandar Mitrović (4)

Germany team news
• Germany prepared for the tournament with a training camp in Leogang, Austria.

• Coach Hrubesch had the majority of his players available for the eight-day camp, which entailed 13 sessions of varying intensity.

• Goalkeeper Marc-André ter Stegen did not take part because he was involved in the UEFA Champions League final with Barcelona.

• Emre Can suffers from ongoing calf problems but remains sure he will be fully fit in time for the match.

• Midfielder Nico Schulz said: "Following a long season it was important for all of us to spend time together. Apart from training hard, we talked a lot and had a lot of fun together, which is vital if you want to have success as a team."

• The team cited a BBQ on the night of the UEFA Champions League final as one of the highlights of the training camp. They also enjoyed a visit from Olympic beach volleyball gold medallists Julius Brink and Jonas Reckermann.

Serbia team news
• Mladen Dodić's squad met up on 1 June in the 'ethno-village' resort of Stanisic – a popular, traditional-style model village just across the border in Bosnia and Herzegovina, which has hosted Serbia's U21s in the past. They then moved on to the Football Association of Serbia (FSS) training base in Stara Pazova, just outside Belgrade. Their preparations have included no warm-up match.

• Dodić was without two of his 23 players when training began. Filip Djuričić joined up with his colleagues on Sunday after playing for the last nine minutes of the senior Serbia squad's 2-0 defeat in Denmark in UEFA EURO 2016 qualifying on Saturday.

• Filip Kostic pulled out of the squad with injury, with Aleksandar Čavrić taking his place. Last Friday, Čukarički forward Nikola Stoiljkovic suffered a knee injury and was replaced by newly-signed Partizan winger Nikola Trujić.

• "We've worked on cutting out some of our past weaknesses," said captain Marko Petković. "We are ready for this competition."

• Dodić is without a number of age-eligible players from the senior squad – Lazar Marković, Aleksandar Mitrović and Matija Nastasić – while some of Serbia's other talented youngsters are on duty at the FIFA U-20 World Cup in New Zealand.