Co-hosts Hungary kick off their Group A campaign against Germany, who have reached the last two finals.
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UEFA European Under-21 Championship co-hosts Hungary face a stern challenge in their opening Group A game as they take on Germany, who have reached the finals in the last two tournaments.
• The fixture at the Sóstói Stadion in Székesfehérvár brings together Hungary, who are featuring in the finals for the first time since the introduction of an eight-team tournament in 1998, and a Germany side who have twice lifted this trophy and have reached the semi-finals or better in each of the last three editions of the competition.
• This is the sides' first competitive meeting at U21 level.
• The teams did cross paths in a Paderborn friendly on 1 September 2017, visitors Hungary running out 2-1 winners. A goal in each half from Donát Zsótér (15) and Máté Vida (60) proved decisive for a Hungary team led by German coach Michael Boris, Johannes Eggestein's 65th-minute response for Stefan Kuntz's Germany proving in vain.
• That was the teams' first fixture since a 3-0 Germany friendly win on 12 October 1994, an early Christian Nerlinger double (9, 16) setting up a victory that was confirmed by Alexander Zickler four minutes from time.
• Goalless draws in March 1994 and September 1983 mean it is honours even over the sides' four friendly fixtures with one win apiece.
• A Germany team including Jonathan Burkardt were 3-0 winners against Hungary in the European U19 Championship elite round on 26 March 2019. András Csonka, Norbert Szendrei and substitute Tamás Kiss were all in the Hungary team.
• This is the co-hosts' first appearance at the U21 EURO finals. Hungary and fellow hosts Slovenia are the only sides to be making their debuts at the 2021 tournament.
• Before the eight-team final tournament was introduced for 1998, Hungary reached the quarter-finals of the 1996 event, losing 4-3 to Scotland over two legs (2-1 h, 1-3 a).
• The Hungarians, who were also losing quarter-finalists in the inaugural edition of the U21 competition in 1978 and again two years later, enjoyed their most successful campaign in 1986, losing to eventual champions Spain 5-4 on aggregate in the semi-finals (3-1 h, 1-4 a) having beaten Poland 5-1 over two legs in the last eight (0-1 a, 5-0 h).
• Hungary's most successful European U21 Championship campaign since 1996 came in 2006, when they lost to holders Italy in the qualifying play-offs (1-1 h, 0-1 a).
• A team coached by Boris – who was succeeded by Zoltán Gera in June 2019 – finished fourth in qualifying Group 6 ahead of 2019 U21 EURO, behind Belgium, Sweden and Turkey having picked up 11 points from ten matches. Hungary lost their last five fixtures.
• Champions in 2009 and 2017, Germany were runners-up to Spain in the 2019 final in Italy, going down 2-1 in Udine having finished first in Group B ahead of Denmark, Austria and Serbia before beating Romania 4-2 in the semi-finals.
• This is the ninth time Germany have qualified for an eight or 12-team final tournament. Aside from their two titles, they were semi-finalists in 2015 and quarter-finalists in 1998. They also reached the last eight in 1990, 1992 and 1996.
• As West Germany, they were runners-up to England in 1982.
• Germany have reached the semi-finals or better in each of the last three U21 EUROs, and have progressed from the group stage in four of their last five finals appearances.
• Kuntz – who has been in charge since August 2016, leading the team to that 2017 European triumph – oversaw a 2021 qualifying campaign in which Germany finished five points ahead of runners-up Belgium in Group 9 despite losing home (2-3) and away (1-4) against them. Germany won their other six matches against Bosnia and Herzegovina, Wales and Moldova, including the last three.
Links and trivia
• Gera faced Germany in two international friendlies during his playing days - a 2-0 win in Kaislerslautern in 2004 and a 2-0 defeat in Gelsenkirchen in 2016.