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Schalke's Max Meyer promises strong Germany bid

Max Meyer acknowledged Germany have arrived in the Czech Republic with the firm intention of winning the UEFA European Under-21 Championship title for just the second time.

Max Meyer (left) says Germany are aiming for the U21 EURO crown
Max Meyer (left) says Germany are aiming for the U21 EURO crown ©Getty Images

Germany have only a single UEFA European Under-21 Championship crown to their name, but Max Meyer believes the current crop of talents has the ability to emulate the star-studded class of 2009.

FIFA World Cup winners Mats Hummels, Mesut Özil and Manuel Neuer were among those who lifted the U21 title in Sweden, which — surprisingly — also marks the only time Germany have made it beyond the group stage of the final tournament in their last four attempts.

They were hotly tipped to flourish in Israel two years ago, but failed to emerge from a testing section that also included the Netherlands and eventual winners Spain; Meyer & company are determined not to make the same mistake in the Czech Republic.

"I can't say we're favourites, but everyone is here to win the title, that's our aim," said the 19-year-old at the squad's hotel in central Prague ahead of Wednesday's Group A opener with Serbia.

"Every game is important for us. We know we have to be 100% focused. We know that it's the first of three matches, and that we absolutely must get something from it. Serbia are a good opening opponent for us. The whole squad is looking forward to it."

Meyer is one of a clutch of fresh faces in the squad following the disappointment of Israel, while the architect of the 2009 triumph, Horst Hrubesch, has returned to the dug-out in place of Rainer Adrion.

Hrubesch, a winner of the 1980 UEFA European Championship with the senior Nationalmannschaft, comfortably guided his charges through qualifying. However, two draws followed by a defeat by England in their build-up to the final tournament have tempered optimism, and ensured they have left nothing to chance in their final preparations.

"We know the other teams very well. We have seen Serbia's recent games. We have watched a lot of videos of them," said Emre Can, who revealed he would likely play in midfield rather than at right-back as he does for his club, Liverpool. "The anticipation ahead of this tournament is huge. We have been waiting two years for it. We have had a good week preparing in Austria, and also trained well in the last three days. We're very well prepared."