November 13, 2015, 3:00 PM CEST
Stade de France, Paris
Before World Champions Germany meet Euro 2016 hosts France at the Stade de France in Paris, there has been much murmuring and whisperings around the two camps as both of the nations and their footballing bodies German Football Association(DFB) and France Football Federation(FFF) have been under pressure in the recent weeks. The blackmail case against Karim Benzema over a sex tape involving Mathieu Valbuena is on going and both the players had to stay away from the media during the last two weeks.
As for Germany, Wolfgang Niersbach had to step down as DFBa s president amid corruption allegations involving the committee that secured Germanya s chance to host the World Cup in 2006. Even German legend Franz Beckenbauer who headed the committee is also under fire regarding the on going investigation. But despite all the off pitch controversies, Francea s captain Hugo Lloris insists that the focus of the players is totally on Fridaya s match. Lets look at the team updates for the national teams.
Joachim Low has rested Mesut Ozil and Toni Kroos for this international and called up former Bayern Munich star Mario Gomez and Schalkea s teen sensation Leroy Sane for the first time in the senior team, as he looks to experiment with this squada s versatility and depth before the Euro Cup. It could be most experimental starting XI post world cup from Low as the former Cologne hinted that he had only 6 or 7 players sure of starting Fridaya s match.
Emre Can could get the right back position after showing composure in the previous two Euro Qualifiers as Matthias Ginter who has shone with his performances for Borussia Dortmund this term could be his competitor for the position. On the left side, Jonas Hector looks settled as the left back as Low still looking for more than one option. Hummels and Boateng look the most obvious selection for the center back pairing but Low could throw in a surprise by naming Antonio Rudiger in the middle to partner any one of them.
It could also be a 5-man midfield up front with Ginter and Hector as wing backs with Hummels, Boateng and Rudiger lining up at the back. Midfield quality is an obvious headache for Low with the pool of talent he has got. Captain Bastian Schweinsteiger could start from the bench to give Kramer a chance to pull strings in the middle and Ilkay Gundogan to conduct attacks from the deep. Emre Can despite playing in many positions at the back could play in the middle to bombard the right flank. Further upfront there is a big chance for Schalkea s new poster boy Leroy Sane to partner up Thomas Muller up front if Low decides to go with the teenager in place of more experienced Mario Gomez. Newcomer Kevin Trapp or Bernd Leno might be given their first ever start in goal ahead of regular custodian Manuel Neuer.
Probable Lineups: (3-5-2): Leno; Rudiger, Boateng, Hummels; Ginter, Can, Gundogan, Kramer, Hector; Sane, Muller
Despite their key players Benzema and Valbuena not being included, Didier Deschamps has a powerful squad at his disposal. Fridaya s match could be the debut for Bayern Munich winger Kingsley Coman and Arsenal striker Olivier Giroud could spear head the attack. Hatem Ben Arfa has also been called up by the national side after a long absence of almost 3 years. Deschamps has options on the left with Atletico Madrid forward Antoine Griezmann and Manchester Uniteda s new star Anthony Martial. Both the forwards have been in tremendous form for their clubs having scored a combined 12 goals this season so far and it would pose Deschamps selection headaches if he wishes to play both of them in a traditional lineup.
Midfield looks pretty solid with Juventusa s Paul Pogba alongside PSGa s Blaise Matuidi anchoring the midfield. Though out of form mostly this season, Pogba has risen in stature over the past few years and will be key stop marauding German attacks which usually start with their midfield as the focal points. Mamadou Sakho has withdrawn from the French squad with a thigh injury which could see Arsenala s Laurent Koscienly and Real Madrida s Raphael Varane to pair up in the heart of the defence. Bacary Sagna could start at the right back but Deschamps also has the choice of Lyona s Christophe Jallet. Ex Manchester United man Patrice Evra has been enduring a difficult season at Juventus this season, but the left back brings experience and leadership to the side could start on the back. Though France enter Euro 2016 as the host nation, they will need to test their abilities before the tournament and no better opponent than Germany for it.
Probable Lineups:(4-2-3-1): . Lloris; Sagna,Varane, Koscielny, Evra; Pogba, Matuidi; Ben Arfa, Martial, Griezmann; Giroud
- In their last meeting in the World Cup Quarterfinals in 2014, Germany beat France by 1-0 with Mats Hummelsa scoring a header off Toni Kroosa free kick.
- Both teams have shared 2 wins each and a draw in their previous 5 meeting with Germany coming out on top in the previous two encounters in recent times.
- Hatem Ben Arfa returns to the national team previously appearing for Les Blues in the quarterfinals of Euro Cup back in 2012.
Players To Watch Out For:
After arriving as the worlda s most expensive teenager at Manchester United, Anthony Martial has silenced his critics with his performances at Old Trafford. The 19 – year has scored 5 vital goals for the Red Devils in all competitions and rightfully earned his call up for the French senior team. He has the ability to play on the wings and could operate as a striker in the middle and will have to prove himself at international level. Germany will look up to Bastian Schweinsteiger to give away a few secrets about his Manchester United teammate but will have to find a way to deal with this dribbling and pace in the final third. With Giroud and Griezmann alongside him in the attack the former AS Monaco star could become vital in the Deschamps Euro squad.
The Schalke man has stepped up for the Gelsenkirchen side this season after his Germany team mate Julian Draxler left for Wolfsburg and has been the key to Andre Breitenreitera s attacking formula. The teenager is deadly on the counter attack with his pace and trickery too much to handle for the defences when he drifts in from the left side. He has already been involved in 9 goals from 18 matches for his club as they have look to recover from last seasona s poor finish. Whether he starts against France or not is a another question, but his call up to the national team itself serves as a yardstick of Schalkea s youth development program which gave us the likes of Mesut Ozil, Manuel Neuer, Benedikt Howedes, Julian Draxler, all of whom went on to win the World Cup in Brazil.
Germany 2 – 0 France
Though both teams are tackling tough situations off the pitch, France will be the most affected as it directly involves two players from their own dressing room. Meanwhile, an evolving Germany looks short of experience in the defence though they have players who have already represented the country many times which gives them an edge over the hosts. France are not new to dressing room bust ups and controversies, but when things have gone sour off the pitch they have suffered on the pitch.