2016 UEFA European under-19 Championship - Austria vs Germany Preview: Hosts hoping to secure World Cup play-off

Will it be Austria or Germany who continue into the second week of under-19 action?

2016 UEFA European under-19 Championship - Austria vs Germany Preview: Hosts hoping to secure World Cup play-off
Image credit: VAVEL

The Stadion an der Kreuzeiche, Reutlingen, will be the venue for Germany's crunch clash against neighbours, Austria in the 2016 UEFA European under-19 Championship.

It is the final game of the group stages for both teams, but both have enjoyed contrasting fortunes so far and that is reflected in their outlooks coming into the tussle.

No matter what, national pride is at steak and the two nations will be desperate to get one over on the other.

Play-off all Germany can hope for

After a great build-up and in possession of one of the strongest squads at the tournament, it is hard to see how Germany have fell to consecutive defeats in their opening two games. A defeat to Italy - thanks to Alex Meret's heroics - and being on the wrong end of a seven-goal thriller against Portugal means that they will not feature in the semi-finals.

Despite the disappointment, Guido Streichsbier's side must regroup quickly to at least make it into the World Cup play-off against the third-placed team from Group B. Even Philipp Ochs' hat-trick wasn't enough to earn a point, which would still have left a glimmer of hope at making the final four.

There are five German players in danger of being suspended for a possible play-off, though. Gino Fechner, Benjamin Henrichs, Maximilian Mittelstädt, Ochs and Suat Serdar are walking the fine line, and would be huge misses should the hosts manage to get the better of their opponents.

Austria still harbour hopes of semi-finals

While Germany have lost their opening two games, Austria come into this game on the back of two draws. Much like the Germans, however, Austria could count themselves unlucky to have not taken all three points from both, having played well in both games. Led by a strong midfield with first-team experience, they will be a worthy opponent.

With the line led by Middlesbrough's Arnel Jakupovic, the forward will aim to create space for Sandi LovricAlbin Gashi and Philipp Malicsek to follow in from the attacking midfield positions. Germany have shown they can be opened up with the right pressure, and the quartet will be desperate to exploit that on Sunday.

The Austrians will, however, be without Stefan Petic for the game after he reached the yellow card limit. Xaver Schlager, Maximilian Wöber, Benjamin Kaufmann and Marco Krainz are all in danger of missing a potential semi-final or World Cup play-off should they be booked once more.

Schalger and Lovric celebrate. | Image credit: Sportsfile - UEFA
Schalger and Lovric celebrate. | Image credit: Sportsfile - UEFA

What they're saying

Austria midfielder, Schlager told UEFA.com: "We have to win to stay in the tournament. I think we're capable of that and that we'll do it."

He admitted "it'll be tough" because "Germany are a huge nation with fantastic players", believes that "keep[ing] [their] shape" is key to then head up the other end.

Germany captain, Henrichs played up the rivalry: "I definitely think you could describe it as a derby." He added. "We need to give it our all & make sure we win."

The skipper feels their neighbours are "a really good side" and "it'll be a tight game", as "Austria have taken points against teams that [they] haven't".

Predicted line-ups

Austria under-19: (4-2-3-1) Gartler; Kaufmann, Posch, Maranda, Wöber; Krainz, Schlager; Malicsek, Lovric, Gashi; Jakupovic.

Germany under-19: (4-4-2) Reimann; Neumann, Boeder, Gimber, Mittelstädt; Serdar, Henrichs, Fechner, Besuschkow; Serra, Ochs.

Quotes via UEFA.com