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UEFA European U21 Championship 2017: Top 5 German players from the tournament

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2.10K   //    02 Jul 2017, 19:43 IST
KRAKOW, POLAND - JUNE 30:  Maximilian Arnold of Germany lifts the trophy with his Germany team mates after the UEFA European Under-21 Championship Final between Germany and Spain at Krakow Stadium on June 30, 2017 in Krakow, Poland.  (Photo by Nils Petter Nilsson/Ombrello/Getty Images)
Stefan Kuntz’s side won the U-21 Euro 2017

The UEFA European Under-21 Championship 2017 came to an end this week with a blistering finale that saw Germany stun the favourites Spain. The star-studded Spanish side, which included prominent names like Saul Niguez, Hector Bellerin, Gerard Deulofeu and Marco Asensio, dominated the whole tournament until the final where they were outwitted by German coach Stefan Kuntz’s side. 

The German squad was devoid of players like Goretzka, Sule, Brandt and Werner among others, who were eligible to play in the tournament but were instead selected to play in FIFA Confederations Cup.

But even in their absence, as always is the case with any German side, the team functioned like a well-oiled machine, where each player was able to reach his full potential. 

While there wasn’t any name who singlehandedly took the Germans to victory, the audience and critics were especially impressed by some of the youngsters. These players could be groomed as future first team prospects so that they could emulate the same feat with the senior team as well. In no particular order, here are five such names from Die Mannschaft.

#5 Julian Pollersbeck 

TYCHY, POLAND - JUNE 27:  Jannik Pollersbeck of Germany saves England's fifth penalty during the UEFA European Under-21 Championship Semi Final match between England and Germany at Tychy Stadium on June 27, 2017 in Tychy, Poland.  (Photo by Lukasz Szelag/Getty Images)
Pollersbeck saving England’s fifth penalty

In a tournament which saw prominent names like Jordan Pickford and Gianluigi Donnarumma start in front of goal, hardly would anyone have chosen a goalkeeper playing for Germany’s second division as their favourite.

But much like his counterpart from the senior team, Julian Pollersbeck easily turned out to be the best player at his position in the tournament.   

Pollersbeck, who stands 6’5” tall, kept three clean sheets, including one in finals against Spain, and let the ball get past him on only three occasions throughout the tournament. His best performance came in the semi-finals against England where Germany won via penalties.

Borrowing a leaf from the book of German legend Jens Lehmann, Pollersbeck would pull a note out of his sock as English players stepped up to take their penalties.This turned out to be a master-stroke as Pollersbeck saved two of those penalties and carried Germany to the finals.  

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