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Thursday, 24 January, 2019

Germany great value to get their hands on trophy

Spain facing a different class of opposition

The Germany team celebrate after beating England on penalties
1 of 1

European Under 21 Championship final
Sky Sports 1, 7.45pm Friday

Spain have had a faultless run to the European Under 21 Championship final, winning all of their four matches, but they may fall at the final hurdle when facing Germany in Krakow.

Anyone who followed Racing Post Sport's ante-post advice and got on Spain at 7-2 is clearly sitting on a great bet as La Roja are hot odds-on favourites.

But the teams' performances on the way to the final suggest the value has drained out of Spain's price and Germany now look a shrewder bet at the prices.

Germany showed their mental toughness to come through a semi-final penalty shootout against England but they should have been out of sight long before the final whistle.

Stefan Kuntz's side were by far the better team in the second half and in both periods of extra-time but wasted several chances and were taken to spot kicks despite winning the shot count 38 to 16.

They bossed the possession stats against the Young Lions (65 per cent to 35) and looked by far the fresher side despite the disadvantage of having played their previous game two days after England had finished the group stage.

Playing the extra 30 minutes against England is not ideal preparation for the final but Germany look a very fit bunch and have only two injury concerns with striker Davie Selke and defender Niklas Stark hoping to shake off minor injuries.

Selke is their top scorer at Under-21 level with nine goals, including the opener against England.

However, he hobbled off after 63 minutes and his replacement, target man Felix Platte, was hugely effective.

Platte scored with a towering header just seven minutes after his introduction and thought he had headed the winner in the 78th minute until discovering he had been flagged offside.

Spain need to find a way of countering Platte's aerial strength and will be well matched in midfield by a German side who possess lots of technical quality.

Germany and Spain have edged the possession statistics in all of their games and it will be fascinating to see which team takes charge of the game.

Spain eased their way into the semi-final against Italy and conceded the better chances in a goalless first half before improving after the break and running out 3-1 victors.

La Roja looked physically stronger as the game went on and were aided by the 58th-minute dismissal of Roberto Gagliardini which put an intolerable strain on tiring Italian legs.

The game-plan against Germany will be similar - play a patient, passing game and wait for the opposition's intensity to drop.

However, it could be a misguided strategy.

Germany made the ball do the work for the majority of the match against England with imperious playmaker Maximilian Arnold running the game for long periods.

They should have plenty of energy left in the tank and are overpriced to get their hands on the trophy.

Germany to lift the trophy
1pt 15-8 Betfair, Betfred, Coral 

Team news
Davie Selke (foot) and Niklas Stark (muscle strain) are injury doubts.

No fresh injuries have been reported.

Key stat
Germany have won 12 of their last 14 competitive games.

Germany made the ball do the work for the majority of the match against England
E.W. Terms
Sky bet