For the second tournament running, Germany will meet the Czech Republic in the group stage, the Germans having ended the then-hosts' campaign two years ago.
Article top media content
Germany may have had the upper hand in UEFA European Under-21 Championship contests down the years but it was honours even when these teams last met, in the 2015 group stage – although even then, the result favoured Germany.
• Germany have won four of the sides' eight competitive fixtures, losing only one. They have scored 11 goals, with the Czechs managing six.
• The teams drew 1-1 on matchday three of the 2015 finals, Nico Schulz giving Horst Hrubesch's Germany a 55th-minute lead before Ladislav Krejčí replied 11 minutes later for a Czech outfit coached by Jakub Dovalil. The draw was not enough for the Czech hosts, however, who came third in Group A – a point and a place behind their opponents.
• The lineups at Prague's Eden Stadium on 23 June 2015 were:
Czech Republic: Koubek, Kalas, Kadeřábek, Brabec, Petrák, Zmrhal, Kliment, Skalák (Masopust 61), Frýdek (Přikryl 79), Trávník (Krejčí 59), Hybš.
Germany: Ter Stegen, Korb, Ginter, Günter, Schulz (Hofmann 90+2), Can, Kimmich, Younes (Bittencourt64), Heintz, Meyer (Malli 82), Volland.
• The Czechs had, however, prevailed against Germany – then the holders – in qualifying for the 2011 tournament. Michael Rabušic got both goals in a 2-1 Czech away win in September 2009 before a 1-1 home draw in Malada Boleslav in the penultimate round of fixtures. The Czechs topped Group 5, ten points and two places above eliminated Germany.
• That Wiesbaden defeat in September 2009 was Germany's first against the Czech Republic or Czechoslovakia; they had won three and drawn one of the previous four matches.
• Germany scored 35 goals – more than any other side in qualifying – to win Group 7, and were the only team to reach the finals with a perfect record having won all ten qualifiers. They struck four goals in four of their five home games, although their biggest victory came away – 6-0 in the Faroe Islands. Stefan Kuntz's men finished eight points clear of second-placed Austria.
• Semi-finalists in 2015 – losing to Portugal – Germany's sole U21 title came in 2009, when a squad including Manuel Neuer, Benedikt Höwedes, Jérôme Boateng, Mats Hummels, Marcel Schmelzer, Sami Khedira and Mesut Özil lifted the trophy in Sweden.
• Germany have appeared in five of the last seven tournaments, yet survived the group stage in only 2009 and 2015. They were beaten quarter-finalists in 1992, 1996 and 1998.
• West Germany were runners-up in 1982, also making the quarter-finals in 1990.
• The Czech Republic won qualifying Group 1 by five points, despite losing their penultimate fixture away to runners-up Belgium. Their 7-0 success in Malta was the joint-biggest victory of 2017 qualification – along with Austria's thrashing of Azerbaijan by the same scoreline – and they also boasted the overall leading marksman, Patrik Schick managing ten goals in nine outings.
• No finalist team conceded more goals in qualifying than the Czechs' ten.
• Winners in 2002 with a squad featuring Petr Čech, Milan Baroš, Zdeněk Grygera, David Rozehnal, Jan Polák and Tomáš Hübschman – who would all earn more than 50 senior caps – the Czech Republic are in the final tournament for a sixth time. In addition to 2002, they were runners-up in 2000, finished fourth in 2011, and fell in the group stage in both 2007 and, as hosts, 2015.
• Czechoslovakia reached the U21 quarter-finals on six occasions, but never went any further in the competition. The Czech Republic did likewise in 1996, when only the semi-finals, third-place play-off and final were played at a single venue.
Coach and player links
• Václav Černý was a half-time substitute in the Czech side that crashed 6-0 to Germany in the 2015 European U19 Championship elite round. Nadiem Amiri was a scorer in the German ranks that day.
• A Lukáš Juliš goal secured the Czechs a 1-1 draw with Germany in the 2011 European U17 Championship group stage. Lukáš Zima and Michael Lüftner were also in the Czech team.
Stefan Kuntz, Germany
An influential figure wherever he played, Kuntz was most successful during a six-year spell at Kaiserslautern. He lifted two trophies – the 1991 Bundesliga and 1990 German Cup – and was named Germany's footballer of the year for 1991. Twice a Bundesliga Golden Boot recipient, he nonetheless had just a short international career of four years, though that did incorporate victory at EURO '96.
His coaching career began in the lower leagues and Kuntz has still never managed a team higher than the 2. Bundesliga. After five years at four different clubs he moved up to become general manager at Koblenz and later Bochum. Then, following an eight-year stint as Kaiserslautern CEO, Kuntz succeeded Horst Hrubesch as Germany U21 boss.
Vítězslav Lavička, Czech Republic
Having started his playing days around his home town of Plzen – later turning out for Viktoria Plzeň – Lavička peaked with Sparta Praha, where he claimed seven league titles across three stays. His later coaching career was inspired by Václav Ježek, with Lavička's first big success being to guide Slovan Liberec to the 2006 championship.
A year later he became Czech U21 coach for the first time, though he was back at Sparta within six months. A subsequent sojourn followed at Sydney FC between 2009 and 2012 – with an Australian title landed in 2010 – yet he returned to Sparta in 2012, winning the league, cup and Czech Super Cup two years later. Restored to the U21 helm in 2015, he steered his charges to this summer's UEFA European Championship and was duly named Czech coach of the year for 2016.