By Türker Tozar in Istanbul
Germany broke Turkish hearts and silenced more than 50,000 fans at the Sükrü Saraçoglu stadium as Benjamin Auer's injury-time goal secured their place in the UEFA European Under-21 Championship finals.
Trailing 1-0 from the first leg in Leverkusen, Turkey had drawn level through Hamit Altintop's second-half goal and were preparing for 30 minutes of extra time when Auer struck. With 93 minutes on the clock, the FSV Mainz 05 striker got a touch to a Christian Tiffert free-kick from the left, steering the ball past Volkan Damirel to secure a 2-1 aggregate success.
Solid back line
Turkey had started the game with Halil Altintop spearheading a 4-5-1 formation. However, the tactic of playing balls behind the opposition defence for their wide men to run on to enjoyed little success against a solid German back line in the first half. Indeed Germany, while creating few clear openings, looked threatening when they counterattacked.
Turkey improved after the break as Sinan Kaloglu came on in place of Fenerbahçe SK midfield player Kemal Aslan to increase their forward options. Ten minutes into the second half, Hamit Altintop went close when he flashed a volley wide after a cross from the left.
Two minutes later, Serkan Balci missed an even better chance but the breakthrough finally came on 68 minutes, as Hamit Altintop struck with a brilliant right-foot shot from outside the penalty area.
Germany march on
Rather than inspire Turkey, however, the goal seemed to offer a cue for Germany to push forward. On 78 minutes, Auer had a header saved by Turkey goalkeeper Volkan, but he was not to be denied. It was all too much for Turkey substitute Beyhan Sümer, who was sent off after clashing with Germany players following Auer's late strike.