Netherlands vs Germany: U21 semi-final preview
Thursday, June 3, 2021
Germany are eyeing a third straight final as they are rematched with the Netherlands in Székesfehérvár.
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The Netherlands face Germany in the UEFA European Under-21 Championship semi-finals in Székesfehérvár on Thursday 3 June at 21:00 CET.
For tickets click here; there will also be a ticket office at the stadium.
Just over two months on from their 1-1 group draw in Székesfehérvár, where Justin Kluivert's opener was cancelled out late on by Lukas Nmecha, the Netherlands and Germany face off in the same stadium for a spot in the final. Both came through dramatic quarter-finals, the Netherlands overturning a deficit to beat France 2-1 in Budapest with two Myron Boadu goals, the second deep in added time, and Germany equalising late in Székesfehérvár against Denmark before recovering from falling behind in extra time and winning 6-5 on penalties.
Germany, who have Niklas Dorsch back from suspension, and Salih Özcan, Ismail Jakobs and Vitaly Janelt all passed fit, are in a fourth straight semi-final and are hoping to reach a third consecutive decider. That would match the record they set between 1978 and 1982 and which was later equalled by Italy between 1992 and 1996. The Netherlands, in only their second semi-final since their title-winning campaigns of 2006 and 2007, were the sole victors on Monday not to require extra time.
Where to watch the semi-final
Fans can find their local U21 broadcast partner(s) and details of UEFA.tv coverage here.
Route to the semi-final
Qualifying: Group 7 winners, W9 D0 L1 F46 A5
Group A winners: Romania D1-1 (Budapest), Germany D1-1 (Székesfehérvár), Hungary W6-1 (Székesfehérvár)
Quarter-final: France W2-1 (Budapest)
Goalscorers: Myron Boadu (3), Cody Gakpo* (2), Sven Botman (1), Brian Brobbey (1), Dani de Wit (1), Justin Kluivert (1), Perr Schuurs (1)
Qualifying: Group 9 winners, W6 D0 L2 F22 A10
Group A runners-up: Hungary W3-0 (Székesfehérvár), Netherlands D1-1 (Székesfehérvár), Romania D0-0 (Budapest)
Quarter-final: Denmark D2-2, W6-5pens (Székesfehérvár)
Goalscorers: Lukas Nmecha (3), Ridle Baku (2), Jonathan Burkardt (1)
*Not included in knockout stage squad
Netherlands: Bijlow; Teze, Schuurs, Botman, Malacia; Harroui, De Wit, Kadioglu; Stengs, Boadu, Kluivert
Germany: Dahmen; Vagnoman, Pieper, Schlotterbeck, Raum; Dorsch, Maier; Baku, Wirtz, Berisha; Nmecha
Meet the teams
Netherlands: Erwin van de Looi's side play a 4-3-3 formation in which the full-backs seek to attack whenever possible. The midfield three is anchored by captain Dani de Wit, who has moved back from the more attacking role he occupied in the group stage. Adapting well to life without Teun Koopmeiners and Cody Gakpo – both called up for UEFA EURO 2020 duty – as well as winger Noa Lang, the Netherlands' main weapon is their fleet-footed attacking trio of Calvin Stengs, Boadu and Kluivert, which is capable of breaching any defence, and whose attributes are a perfect fit for playing on the counterattack.
Germany: Dominated large stretches of their quarter-final against a well-organised Denmark team, with captain Arne Maier running the midfield and full-backs David Raum and Josha Vagnoman (who will have a fitness test ahead of the semi-final) pushing up to great effect. Nmecha is a strong presence in attack, with 18-year-old Florian Wirtz, called up for the knockouts, providing creative support. Elsewhere, Ridle Baku proved important on the wing during the group stage while, against Denmark, Jonathan Burkardt came off the bench and made a vital contribution.
View from the camps
Erwin van de Looi, Netherlands coach: "I’m excited and looking forward to the game. There are four great nations left in the competition and we are happy to be part of it. But we want more than that. We’ll do everything we can to win. We have trained some different systems, but we also have to play based on our own strengths like against France.”
Calvin Stengs, Netherlands forward: "We know that Germany are a good team. They’re a solid team, they always play in different formations and that’s hard [for us]. We played against them in the group stage and it was hard. So it will be a nice battle. But I think we have enough quality to beat them."
Stefan Kuntz, Germany coach: "The Netherlands are full of confidence and they don’t change according to their opponents. Of course they are missing important players [promoted to the senior squad] but they eliminated France so I don’t think their quality has dropped too much."
Finn Dahmen, Germany goalkeeper: "Back [in the group stage] it was an important game for both teams, but a semi-final means something different. It’ll be heated again – a high-quality game. We’ll see how it turns out. They have some really good individuals as well as some experienced players who have played a bit in the first division there. But we don’t need to be afraid of them, we’ve already shown that we’re at least equal to them. We’ll approach the game optimistically."
Arne Maier, Germany midfielder: "I expect a very good team, they beat one of the favourites, France, who had a really good team, too. We played against them already, but I think it will be a different game, because knockout games are always a bit different."