Hampden Park, Glasgow
7th September 2015, 20:45 CET
Scotland take on Germany in their Group D qualifier on Monday, hoping to pull off an upset and keep alive their hopes of qualification for the 2016 European Championships next summer
A damaging 1-0 defeat to Georgia on Friday has left Gordon Strachan’s men with a mountain to climb in their qualifying campaign for EURO 2016 next summer. Scotland currently lie fourth in the table with three games left to play, three points adrift of second-placed Poland and one behind the Republic of Ireland.
While time is running out for Scotland to get their act together, Germany and Joachim L w have no such issues following their convincing 3-1 victory over Poland on Friday in Frankfurt. A win in Glasgow on Monday could all but confirm qualification for the World Cup winners if the Republic of Ireland slip up at home against Georgia.
The Scots have a good account of themselves in the previous Group D clash between the two countries in Dortmund — the Germans ran out 2-1 winners in a tight affair — and will be hoping to repeat that performance in front of their home fans at Hampden.
Team News and Tactics
Gordon Strachan revealed he was open to making changes to his side following the loss in Tbilisi against Georgia, and Celtic striker Leigh Griffiths could come in to partner Steven Fletcher up front for Scotland in a game that the Scots have to try and win.
Fortunately for Strachan, there are no injuries in his first-team squad, meaning the rest of the side is likely to be very similar to the one that started against Georgia on Friday. Scotland could well stick with their 4-2-3-1 formation, with Scott Brown and West Bromwich Albion’s James Morrison anchoring the midfield and Steven Fletcher leading the attack. The inclusion of Griffiths in the starting line-up, however, could mean a 4-4-2 formation with the Celtic striker partnering Fletcher up front and Everton’s Steven Naismith potentially missing out.
It remains to be seen whether Strachan goes for broke right from kick-off considering his side need the three points on Monday more so than the Germans. Germany manager Joachim L w alluded to this very fact in his pre-match press conference, saying he expected a less defensive opponent than Poland.
Germany are amongst the best in the world at exploiting the slightest bit of space afforded them, and as such, Scotland might well begin the game by keeping things tight and being more conservative before eventually throwing the kitchen sink at L w’s men with the Hampden crowd roaring them on.
Ikechi Anya could cause problems from the left flank with his pace, particularly given the relative inexperience of Emre Can in the right-back position for the German national team. Strachan might also consider using Bournemouth midfielder Matt Richie at some point, given his creative ability and his set-piece deliveries. The likes of Steven Fletcher and Leigh Griffiths will look to take advantage of a German back-four that is still getting to know each other, given the shake-up in the team following the retirement of World Cup winning captain Philipp Lahm.
Possible starting line-up (4-4-2): Marshall; Hutton, Martin, Mulgrew, Robertson; Maloney, Morrison, Brown (C), Anya; Griffiths, Fletcher
With qualification not quite wrapped up for Germany, Joachim L w is unlikely to deviate greatly from the team that convincingly dispatched Poland in Frankfurt to go top of Group D on Friday. Marco Reus’ injury came as a blow for the Germans, but although remains unavailable for his game, the form of Mario G tze for the national team is major positive.
L w will likely stick to his 4-2-3-1 formation with the new back-four of Emre Can, J rA?me Boateng, Mats Hummels and Jonas Hector starting the game, and Manchester United star Bastian Schweinsteiger partnering Real Madrid midfielder Toni Kroos in the centre of the park. G tze is expected to continue to lead the attack, supported by Arsenal FC superstar Mesut zil and Bayern Munich forward Thomas MA?ller.
The trio are likely to switch positions during the course of the game and as such, the formation is unlikely to remain a static 4-2-3-1 throughout. With Scotland desperately needing three points, the Germans are likely to get more space than they did against Poland which will allow them to cause a lot of damage on the counter-attack.
Left-back Jonas Hector ventured forward frequently to add width to the attack against Poland — getting himself two assists in the process — and is likely to do the same against Scotland, given the Germans lack natural width in their attack on the left, following the injury to Reus. Bayer Leverkusen midfielder Karim Bellarabi can cause problems down that flank with his pace and dribbling, but is more accustomed to a right-wing role.
Arsenal FC midfielder Mesut zil put in an impressive display against Poland from the no.10 role, and given the intelligent movement of the likes of Thomas MA?ller and Mario G tze, could find joy once again if afforded time and space by the likes of Brown and Morrison in Scotland’s midfield.
MA?ller has started the season in outstanding goalscoring form with six goals in four games for club and country, and will be a major threat given his ruthless efficiency in the penalty area. The Bayern midfielder has the innate ability to be in the right place at the right time, and the likes of Martin and Mulgrew at the heart of Scotland’s defence will have to be particularly wary of the 25-year-old’s threat in the box.
Possible starting line-up (4-2-3-1): Neuer; Can, Boateng, Hummels, Hector; Schweinsteiger (C), Kroos; Bellarabi, zil, MA?ller; G tze .
- Germany have won six of their previous eight meetings against Scotland, including a 2-1 win in the previous meeting between the sides in their Group D clash in Frankfurt.
- Scotland have failed to register a win over Germany since 1999, when they beat the Germans 1-0 in Bremen.
- Scotland have won their last four competitive fixtures playing at home.
- Germany have lost just one of their last 24 competitive matches, with the loss coming against Poland in October 2014.
- Scotland have only qualified for a major competition once (1978 World Cup) after a defeat in their opening qualification match.
Player to watch
Mario G tze
The Bayern Munich midfielder has come under fire recently for his poor club form, failing to make the starting line-up under Pep Guardiola on a consistent basis. However, the two goals against Poland in Frankfurt should give G tze a lot of confidence going into the game against Scotland.
When at his best, the 23-year-old is a brilliant player to watch — one capable of both creating goals and scoring them himself. His good form for Germany could well earn him a place in Guardiola’s starting line-up, particularly with the injury to Dutch winger Arjen Robben. As such, the Bayern Munich man will be hungry to get on the scoresheet again in Glasgow on Monday in a bid to silence his critics.
Scotland 1 – 2 Germany
Germany have been in good form and should have too much for a Scotland side that will be desperate to get three points, and as such, will be more vulnerable defensively. The hosts could well get a goal against a new-look German defence, but the attacking quality in Joachim L w’s side should be enough to earn them all three points and get them closer to qualification.
Blast from the past