Before the reunification of Germany, East Germany and West Germany played as separate entities — the two teams played separately until summer 1990. Following the realignment of UEFA's youth competitions in 1976, international under-21 football in Europe began. A West German team, however, did not compete in the U-21 European Championship until the qualifying round (beginning in 1980) of the 1982 competition.
West Germany competed in the first two under-23 competitions, which finished in 1972 and 1974. The first under-21 competition finals were in 1978, and since the under-21 competition rules state that players must be 21 or under at the start of a two-year competition, technically it is an under-23 competition.
The current Germany team can be legitimately considered as the current incarnation of the West German team, since the West Germany flag, uniform, and football association all became those of the unified Germany. In effect, the West German team absorbed the East German team to become 'the Germany national under-21 football team'.
For these reasons, the record of West Germany for the U-23 and U-21 competitions is shown below.