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Germany vs Portugal: Under-21 EURO background, form guide, previous meetings

Germany are in the final for the third tournament in succession and are seeking their third title against a Portugal side bidding for their first.

The European U21 Championship trophy
The European U21 Championship trophy SPORTSFILE

Germany are in their third successive UEFA European Under-21 Championship final and can claim their third title if they overcome a Portugal side who are looking for their first.

• While Germany have reached their fifth final overall, fewer only than Spain (eight) and Italy (seven), Portugal are making their third appearance in the showpiece having lost out in 1994 and 2015.

• Both sides beat their neighbours in the semi-finals to set up this meeting, the Portuguese dethroning Spain – who beat Germany to the title two years ago having lost to them in the 2017 final – before Germany ousted the Netherlands.

Portugal v Germany past U21 EURO meetings

Final facts
• This is the 19th combination of teams to have met in a U21 final. England played West Germany in 1982 and Germany in 2009; Spain and Italy have met in three finals, in 1986, 1996 and 2013, while Spain and Germany were the finalists in both 2017 and 2019.

• Germany are only the second team to reach three successive U21 finals, after Italy (1992, 1994, 1996).

• Germany can join Spain (1986, 1998) and the Czech Republic (2002) in lifting the trophy having lost in the final two years previously.

• Only East Germany (1978, 1980) have lost successive U21 finals.

• Portugal are bidding to become the 11th team to win the UEFA European Under-21 Championship and the first new name since 2015, when they were beaten by Sweden in a final shoot-out.

• No side has lost three U21 EURO finals without winning the trophy. Portugal, Serbia, East Germany and Greece have all been runners-up twice; five-time champions Spain have suffered three final defeats, more than any other side.

• Portugal and Germany have met in two other UEFA European Championship finals; in 1994, Portugal prevailed in the Under-18 decider (1-1 aet, 4-1 pens), Germany triumphing 1-0 in the U19 final 20 years later.

2015 highlights: Portugal 5-0 Germany

Previous meetings
• Portugal have won their last five U21 matches against Germany, most recently a 1-0 friendly victory in Stuttgart in March 2017 with Bruno Fernandes scoring the only goal midway through the first half.

• Portugal have won the nations' three previous U21 EURO finals encounters, latterly in the 2015 semi-finals with a 5-0 victory in Olomouc in the Czech Republic thanks to goals from Bernardo Silva (25), Ricardo (33), Ivan Cavaleiro (45+1), João Mário (46) and Ricardo Horta (71).

• That is Portugal's record U21 EURO finals win and Germany's record defeat.

• In the 2004 finals, Portugal eliminated hosts Germany with a 2-1 victory in their last group game in Mainz. Lourenço hit a 78th-minute winner that lifted Portugal above the Germans into second place after Hugo Almeida and Bastian Schweinsteiger had traded goals.

• Portugal, as hosts, knocked Germany out once more in the 2006 tournament group stage, winning their last match 1-0 in Guimarães thanks to a João Moutinho goal in the fourth minute of added time. Portugal had already been eliminated.

2004 revisited: Portugal v Germany

• Germany's last competitive win against Portugal was in December 1996, a 2-1 success in Leiria in qualifying for the 1998 UEFA European Under-21 Championship with Kai Michalke scoring both goals. The sides drew 1-1 in Frankfurt the following September and Germany ended up as group winners, with Portugal eliminated in third place.

• Portugal and West Germany were both eliminated when they met in the same qualifying group for the 1986 U21 knockout phase – this after a 2-1 win for Portugal in Lisbon, and a 2-0 West German victory in Karlsruhe. Sweden topped the group.

• Overall the countries have met 12 times at U21 level with six wins for Portugal, three for Germany and three draws. In seven competitive meetings Portugal also have the upper hand with four wins to Germany's two.

• Markus Schubert, Vitaly Janelt, Niklas Dorsch, Ridle Baku, Salih Özcan and substitute Paul Jaeckel were all in the Germany side that beat Portugal 1-0 in a U20 friendly in Sandhausen on 22 March 2019. João Virgínia, Diogo Dalot, Diogo Leite, Florentino, Rafael Leão and substitute Gedson Fernandes all appeared for Portugal with Diogo Costa and Diogo Queirós unused replacements.

• Schubert and substitute David Raum helped Germany to another 1-0 U20 friendly win against Portugal in March 2018; Pedro Pereira represented Portugal.

• A Gonçalo Ramos goal was not enough to prevent Portugal suffering a 2-1 loss to Germany in a U19 friendly in November 2019.

• Vitinha and Tiago Tomás helped Portugal's U19s to a 1-0 friendly win against a Germany side including Jonathan Burkardt in November 2018.

• Dalot was in the Portugal side that beat hosts Germany 4-3 on Matchday 2 of the 2016 European U19 Championship; Diogo Costa was an unused substitute.

• Arne Maier scored Germany's fourth goal in a 5-0 U17 friendly victory against Portugal in Faro in February 2016. Goalkeeper Costa, Queirós, Florentino, Fernandes and substitutes Dalot and Leite all featured for Portugal with Virgínia an unused replacement.

Form guide

Watch all Germany's U21 EURO goals so far

• 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.

• This is Germany's fifth U21 final; their record is W2 L2:
1982: England L 4-5 on aggregate (1-3 away, 3-2 home – as West Germany)
2009: England W 4-0
2017: Spain W 1-0
2019: Spain L 1-2

• Stefan 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.

• Germany came second in Group A at these finals having finished level on five points in a three-way head-to-head with the Netherlands, who won the section, and eliminated Romania. They won their opening fixture against co-hosts Hungary 3-0 before draws against the Dutch (1-1) and Romania (0-0), Lukas Nmecha and Ridle Baku sharing the four goals with two each.

• Having eliminated Denmark 6-5 on penalties after a 2-2 draw in the quarter-finals, Florian Wirtz's early double (1, 8) proved enough to see off the Netherlands 2-1 in the last four.

All of Portugal's U21 EURO goals so far

• Portugal's last finals appearance came in 2017, when they were eliminated after finishing second in Group B behind Spain. They were victorious against Serbia (2-0) and North Macedonia (4-2), but a 3-1 loss against Spain on Matchday 2 proved crucial.

• Rui Jorge's side lost the 2015 final to Sweden in a penalty shoot-out on their first appearance in the tournament since 2007. They had also been runners-up in 1994 and quarter-finalists two years later. Subsequently the Portuguese came third in 2004, yet have otherwise been eliminated in the final tournament group stage – in 2002, 2006 (as hosts), 2007 and 2017.

• In charge since 2010, Rui Jorge guided his side to second place in Group 7 in qualifying for the 2021 finals. Portugal finished level with the Netherlands on 27 points, a 4-2 away defeat by the Dutch in their third fixture leaving them behind their opponents on head-to-head record in the final standings. Portugal won their other nine qualifiers, including the last seven, finishing with a 2-1 home victory against the Netherlands. They had the best record of all nine group runners-up.

• Portugal have now won 14 of their 28 games at U21 EURO final tournaments (D7 L7) and are on a run of 12 successive victories in the competition, qualifying included.

Highlights: Spain 0-1 Portugal

• Portugal finished first in Group D with a maximum nine points, beating Croatia (1-0), England (2-0) and Switzerland (3-0). Their goal difference of +6 was the joint best in the group stage along with Denmark.

• Portugal had been one of three sides, along with Denmark and Spain, to come through the group stage without conceding a goal but promptly shipped three against Italy in the last eight, goals from Dany Mota (6, 31) and Gonçalo Ramos (58) giving them 2-0 and 3-1 advantages they were unable to preserve. It took goals in the second half of extra time from Jota (109) and Francisco Conceição (119), with Italy reduced to ten men, to finally book Portugal's progress to the last four.

• An 80th-minute own goal from Spain's Jorge Cuenca was enough to take Portugal past their neighbours in the semi-finals.

• The Portuguese have lost both their previous U21 finals:
1994: Italy L 0-1 (aet)
2015: Sweden L 0-0 (aet; 3-4 pens)

U21 EURO Top Performer: Florian Wirtz

Links and trivia
• Portugal's Mota and Germany forward Nmecha are joint top scorers in these finals on three goals, along with Myron Boadu (Netherlands), Patrick Cutrone (Italy) and Javi Puado (Spain). Conceição of Portugal and Baku and Wirtz of Germany are among the 11 players on two goals.

• Nmecha scored England's winner in both the semi-final and the final at the 2017 European U19 Championship, the latter in a 2-1 victory against Portugal; having switched his international allegiance, the Hamburg-born striker made his Germany U21 debut in March 2019.

• Costa, Dalot, Queirós, Abdu Conté, Fernandes and Jota all started for Portugal in that final against Nmecha's England, while Rafael Leão came off the bench and Leite and Florentino were unused substitutes.

• Nmecha was a late substitute in Germany's 2-1 defeat by Spain in the final two years ago; Schubert and Maier were unused substitutes.

2016 U17 final highlights: Portugal v Spain

• Several Portugal players have already won European titles at youth level. Portugal prevailed 5-4 on penalties in the 2016 U17 EURO final against Spain, Dalot giving them the lead in a 1-1 draw. Dalot, Leite and Fernandes also scored from the spot in the subsequent shoot-out with goalkeeper Costa, Queirós, Jota, Florentino and substitute Leão also featuring. Luís Maximiano was an unused replacement.

• Jota scored twice in Portugal's 4-3 extra-time defeat of Italy in the 2018 European U19 Championship final; Virginia and Florentino also played with Queirós an unused substitute.

• Tomás Tavares, Vitinha, Fábio Vieira and Gonçalo Ramos were in the Portugal side beaten 2-0 by Spain in the 2019 U19 EURO final.

• A Benfica team including Florentino, Fernandes and Jota lost 2-1 to Mergim Berisha's Salzburg in the 2016/17 UEFA Youth League final.