Germany U21 EURO preview: German youngsters tipped for success

Stefan Kuntz prepares his talented German side for his first major tournament in charge, with big things expected back in Germany.

Germany U21 EURO preview: German youngsters tipped for success
German manager Stefan Kuntz | Photo via Getty Images/Stuart Franklin

Germany Under 21's kick off their European campaign on Sunday, Playing at the Tychy Stadium in Poland against the Czech Republic.

The actual tournament starts on Friday 16 June. The youngsters are hoping to improve upon their performance in the Czech Republic 2015 Euros, where they reached the semi-finals.

Stefan Kuntz, manager of Germany, has stated his side are there to "play a big part" in the Euro's and is hoping to carry on the recent success record of former boss Horst Hrubesch.

The 54-year-old is set to take charge of his first tournament, since taking the job last year and replacing Hrubesch. Kuntz does have experience at International level as a player though, winning the European Championship's with Germany in 1996.

In 2015, UEFA revealed an all-time best XI for players who have taken part in the Under-21 European Championships, which 3 German players were selected for. Manuel Neuer, Mesut Özil, and Mats Hummels were all included, which shows the amount of talent this tournament can produce.

Germany have won the tournament just once in their history, In the 2009 Championships which was held in Sweden. It's no coincidence that Germany have become the team to beat in men's international football over the past few years, as many members of the 09' winning squad currently feature in the men's national team.

Neuer, Benedikt Höwedes, Jérôme Boateng, Sami Khedira, Özil and Hummels along with others were part of that particular German team. This shows how winning an International competition as a youngster can develop into a future successful team.


This year's squad is arguably the most talented Under 21 side in the competition, but who are the star men to watch out for?

German Under 21's in training | Photo Via Getty Images/Thomas Niedermuelle

Key Players

Niklas Stark

The 22-year-old defensive minded player has featured both as a centre-back and defensive midfielder for Bundesliga side Hertha BSC. At 6' 2" tall, and a muscular build to go with that, he has the capabilities of being a top player. His awareness off the ball has been shown in the German top flight this season, and I believe thrives in front of the back line, rather than in the centre-back position. This allows Stark to act as 'The Wall' in front of the back four.

Mahmoud Dahoud

The 21-year-old has attracted a lot of attention from Premier League clubs this season, after some impressive displays for Borussia Mönchengladbach. He is usually deployed as a box-to-box midfielder, or as a deep playmaker. His passing range for such a young player is superb, but more impressively is the way in which he operates. From his movement on the ball to the movement off it, he seems to have both the attacking and defensive parts to his game covered.

Maximilian Arnold

Similar to Dahoud, Arnold is a box-to-box styled midfielder but is usually much more of an attacking threat. Unlike his attacking teammates, the 23-year-old boasts a tremendous amount of strength and power. Furthermore, his pace to ease past players when driving forward is mesmerising at times. His short bursts forward are either met with a powerful strike from range or an explicit pass. He is one of the senior players to this Under-21 side, so expect Arnold to capitalise on that, showing his confidence when on the ball.

Davie Selke

The RB Leipzig striker has scored 4 goals in 436 minutes of game time in the Bundesliga this season, averaging a goal every 109 minutes, this is an impressive return. The 22-year-old has starred for the German Under-21 side since making his debut in 2015, scoring 7 goals in 11 games. Selke is very much an aerial threat and is going to be very hard to keep him off the score sheet. He is 6' 4" in stature, which allows him to be used a target man, whilst also being very clinical in and around the box. With the quality of the German midfield, opponents are going to have to focus on keeping the ball away from him.

Group C

Germany, Czech Republic, Denmark, Italy

Fixtures

Vs CZE, 6PM on Sunday 18th. Vs DEN, 20:45 on Wednesday 21st. Vs ITA, 20:45 on Saturday 24th.

Squad

Goalkeepers

Marvin Schwäbe (Dynamo Dresden), Julian Pollersbeck (1. FC Kaiserslautern), Odisseas Vlachodimos (Panathinaikos)

Defenders

Jeremy Toljan (TSG Hofenheim), Yannick Gerhardt (VfL Wolfsburg), Waldemar Anton (Hannover 96), Niklas Stark (Hertha BSC), Gideon Jung (Hamburger SV), Lukas Klünter (1. FC Köln), Marc-Oliver Kempf (SC Freiburg), Thilo Kehrer (Schalke 04)

Midfielders

Max Meyer (Schalke 04), Mahmoud Dahoud (Borussia Monchengladbach), Maximilian Arnold (c) (VfL Wolfsburg), Mitchell Weiser (Hertha BSC), Nadiem Amiri (TSG Hofenheim), Janik Haberer (SC Freiburg), Levin Öztunalı (Mainz 05), Dominik Kohr (FC Augsburg)

Forwards

Davie Selke (RB Leipzig), Serge Gnabry (Bayern Munich), Felix Platte (Darmstadt 98), Maximilian Philipp (SC Freiburg)


Many pundits believe Germany are going to be the team to beat in the European Championships. Now only time will tell.

International Football