UEFA U21 European Championships, Stadion Miesjski, Poland 4pm
Germany U21’s vs Czech Republic U21’s – Match Preview – Tournament second-favourites Germany begin their tournament by facing underdogs Czech Republic in an intriguing game in Tychy.
The Germans will, as always, be strong favourites for this match and most matches but the Czech Republic have history in this tournament as they were victorious in 2002 with a certain Petr Cech picking up the Golden Player award for his outstanding performances.
Despite the Germany squad being depleted due to Joachim Low’s decision to include a large amount of youth players for the Confederations Cup, Stefan Kuntz still has a strong pool of player to choose from.
Such talented names include Borussia Dortmund’s new acquisition – the highly-rated Mahmoud Dahoud, potential Liverpool target Max Meyer from Schalke and Mitchell Weiser the versatile midfielder from Hertha.
Despite the senior team’s consistent and vast success, the German U21 side have only won this tournament once – in 2009, although a large part of that squad went on to become World Cup winners in 2014. Just the one solitary victory leaves Germany behind teams such as Soviet Union and England in the tournament winning table and they will want to rectify that immediately.
Towering Leverkusen centre-back Jonathan Tah has removed himself from the squad with injury but aside from that Kuntz has a full squad to choose from.
The Czech Republic have no injury concerns and also able to choose any player.
Players to Watch
Serge Gnarby is a name which has recently come back onto the European radar after a brilliant season with Werder Bremen, scoring 11 goals in 27 appearances in the Bundesliga. Such form prompted Carlo Ancelotti to purchase him for the powerful Bayern Munich and the ex-Arsenal attacking midfielder will be hoping to show Arsene Wenger what he has missed out on and retain that level of performance for his country this summer. Damage can be caused by Gnarby’s direct dribbling and lightning pace so the Czech backline will have to be vigilant for that constant threat.
Patrik Schick has burst onto the scene this campaign with an excellent return of 11 goals in just 14 starts for Sampdoria this season and as such is strongly rumoured to be one of the first name of Max Allegri’s wish-list for Juventus summer transfers. The 6ft2 forward has also earned a senior national team call up as a reward this season and has celebrated his first goal for the Czech Republic with a strike in a friendly against Malta. For his size, Schick is deceptively quick and loves to play on the shoulder of the last defender – any lapses in German concentration and the striker could well put them to the sword.