Germany U21 v Spain U21
Friday 30th June, 19:45
Live on Sky Sports

Pre-tournament favourites Spain have been chalked up as fair 2.00 shots to clinch their third U21 European Championship crown in four editions following an unblemished passage to Friday's final in Krakow.

La Rojita secured their spot in the showpiece decider courtesy of a 3-1 victory over 10-man Italy on Tuesday evening; Atletico Madrid starlet Saul Niguez scoring a sensational second-half hat-trick to give Albert Celades's side a fourth win from four fixtures in Poland.

Spain started the tournament as the team to beat - only outright glory will be accepted back home from a squad that was outlined from the off as the strongest, player-for-player. La Rojita certainly haven't disappointed and their flawless performance from the group-stages deserves immense credit.

The Iberians sealed their semi-final berth with three wins from three, racking up nine goals and conceding just one - a stunning Bruma effort against their main threat in Group B, Portugal. Spain even had the luxury of resting their first-choice XI in their pool concluder against Serbia.

Seven of the squad boast senior experience and the strength in depth across Spanish football is so absurd that the likes of Inaki Williams, Denis Suarez and Mikel Oyarzabal are far from guaranteed a place in the starting XI.

The Spanish midfield is the most competitive element of the La Rojita team with Saul, Dani Ceballos and Marcos Llorente orchestrating a front-three of Marco Asensio, Sandro Ramirez and skipper Gerard Deulofeu. Spain simply have the arsenal to ruthlessly exploit any hint of weakness in opposition defences.

That's how the four-time champions overcame Italy. La Rojita dominated possession against the Azzurrini but were limited to a single effort on-target during the opening period whilst facing four. But Roberto Gagliardini's naive 58th minute sending off shortly after Saul's opener proved decisive.

Federico Bernardeschi's equaliser was a pleasant leveller but in truth the game was already gone. Spain's individual brilliance told, as did the added freshness of their starters as they left Italy chasing shadows, picking off the Group C winners on the counter-attack to comfortably seal their spot in Krakow.

Spain have now scored 12 goals from just 58 attempts - a stunning 21% conversion rate - with their phenomenal finishing easily out-stripping their expected goals output. But if there's one doubt over this side, it's arguably their lack of a collective system that's previously been imposed in the past.

Critics back home suggest Celades is merely a puppet master in the dugout with the incredible individual ability in the squad putting Spain on the path to silverware, as opposed to any tactical tweaks. And La Rojita did appear uncomfortable when pressed high by Portugal earlier in the competition.

Germany 4.20 went 120 minutes against England on Tuesday night before progressing with a 4-3 triumph on penalties and head coach Stefan Kuntz's is expected to ensure his troops restrict Spain's movement, especially at full-back where Jonny and Hector Bellerin are encouraged to push high up the park.

Kuntz made his first changes of the competition ahead of the England encounter and his options are thinning for the final. With Niklas Sule and Matthias Ginter with the seniors and Jonathan Tah injured, Niklas Stark's absence was keenly felt at centre-half during the semi-final.

Gideon Jung stood in at centre-half and looks like being required once more whilst centre-forward Davie Selkie - who found the net against England - is now rated a major doubt for Germany.

Die Mannschaft overcame an early swarm of English attacks to take control of their final-four clash but alarming defending from set-pieces and a series of flaky finishes kept the scores locked level until the shoot-out.

Germany are in the final for the third occasion but the 2009 winners don't appear to have the tools at their disposal to spoil or stifle the classy Spaniards. A midfield consisting of Max Meyer, Mahmoud Dahoud and Maximilian Arnold are more likely to add value going forward and with their backline struggling, Kuntz's charges are best opposed here.

Germany may have won 16 of their past 20 at this level but Spain arrive on the back of an unbeaten 13-match run W10-D3-L0 and should be capable of clinching a record-equalling fifth U21 European Championship title.

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