Germany look to have Group A sewn up at UEFA Under-21 Championship
Germany’s World Cup win in Brazil last summer may rub off on the latest crop of talented youngsters coming through, and Coral make their Under-21s strong 2/1 favourites to be European champions in their age bracket this summer.
It may surprise punters to learn that the Young Lions of England are rated as likely as anyone else at 5/1 to stop Die Mannschaft from scooping UEFA Under-21 Championship glory in the Czech Republic.
Here, our football experts rate the chances and identify key players in Group A, four of the eight competing nations at the tournament which begins on June 17th.
There’s an air of inevitability that Germany are strongly odds-on both to win this pool (4/9) and qualify from it for the semis (1/11). In Die Mannschaft’s ranks are Champions League winning goalie Marc-Andre ter Stegen, Liverpool defensive player Emre Can (pictured with teammates below) and Arsenal attacker Serge Gnabry.
Borussia Dortmund’s Matthias Ginter marshals the German back four, while up top Hoffenheim forward Kevin Volland skippers the side and is 5/1 joint-favourite to be tournament top scorer. Other names to watch out for are attacking midfield pair Maximilian Arnold, a DFB Pokal winner with Wolfsburg, and Max Meyer of Schalke.
Serbia are 5/4 to join Germany in the final four, but this does not look a great vintage on paper despite them knocking out holders Spain in the play-offs.
Stuttgart winger Filip Kostic’s absence is a big blow, and puts a lot of pressure on other front four players Filip Djuricic (Southampton), Milos Jojic (Dortmund), Luka Milunovic (Platanias, Greece) and Aleksandar Pesic (Toulouse).
Punters can get the same price on Denmark progressing, and their roster looks to have much more strength in depth to it. Unlike the Serbian rearguard, the Danes have had the confidence to blood four defenders at senior level already. Among those is Chelsea prospect Andreas Christensen, but this may be the time for Juventus-owned Fredrik Sorensen to shine.
Big things are expected of Pierre Hojbjerg, a teenage sensation contracted to Bayern Munich, and Fulham’s Lasse Vigen Christensen in midfield. Their engine-room effort must find Ajax wide attacker Viktor Fischer (pictured above) and target man Yussuf Poulsen, who just scored his first senior international goal.
Host nation the Czech Republic are made narrow 15/8 group outsiders, but that price is hardly long enough when you bear in mind there’s no out-and-out centre forward selected with Watford’s Matej Vydra missing.
There’s little to get excited about in Czech ranks, though watch out for Sparta Prague’s attack-minded right back Pavel Kaderabek and on-loan clubmate Vaclav Kadlec, who is best from the right flank but may have to nominally lead the line. The hosts look set for the wooden spoon in this pool.
Coral betting tip: Volland may fire Germany all the way, and is well worth backing at a fab 5/1 to leading marksman at this tournament after nine goals in 18 Under-21 caps.