Germany will take on Poland at the Stade de France in Paris (Kick off -20:00) in the second game of the group stage fixture. Germany had beaten Ukraine 2-0, in the last round, courtesy of goals from centreback Mustafi (Valencia) and Schweinsteiger (Manchester United), both of whom are likely to be relegated to the bench for the upcoming fixture.
Ahead of what is one of the biggest and potentially decisive clash in round 2 of the Euros, Germany have received a boost in the form of Mats Hummels, who is set to mark his return from injury. However, there are doubts over his fitness as he faces a battle against time to recuperate fully.
The Hummels/Mustafi Connundrum
The Bayern bound 27 year old centre back resumed training in midweek on Tuesday after recovering from a calf injury sustained during Dortmund’s DFP Pokal final against Bayern. Hummels’ return would mean that goalscoring hero Mustafi will be warming the bench after his impressive outing against Ukraine.
However, Mustafi showed reluctance to comment on the situation, as he told reporters at a press conference on Tuesday that he will “only focus on things which can be influenced.”
“Training’s a part of that,” he said. “Everything else is down to the coach. I will be there if I am needed.” (via ESPN)
Joachim Loew, the Germany manager, also refused to confirm the return of Hummels. At Wednesday’s press conference he voiced his suspicion regarding the centre back’s fitness. Inspite of Hummels’ participation in two training sessions, Loew was adamant about the fact that both those sessions were of comparatively shorter duration.
“We’ll observe him and have a talk with him and then we’ll have to come to a decision whether he can play or not. If he’s not 100 percent and there’s any doubt I won’t take a risk”, Loew told reporters. (via The Metro)
There are also reports suggesting that Wolfsburg’s Andre Schurrle could be preferred over his club teammate Julian Draxler, in attack. But other than that Germany will not be making too many changes in the midfield. Joachim Loew has been known to not change a winning combination in big competitions.
Mario Gotze, who was largely ineffective in the opening match might shuffle his position with Thomas Muller, who might move to the top of the attack with Gotze taking his place in the right side of the attacking trident. Mario Gomez also remains an option who could come off the bench.
Loew, however, rubbished the claims about Gotze’s ineffective performance in the first match. He also spoke about Mario Gomez’s chances of making it to the lineup – “Both are in good form. I did not see Mario play as badly as the critics said. He worked hard. Gomez is in good form in training and both could fit against Poland.”
Arsenal’s Mesut Ozil will therefore likely to be partnered by Muller and Draxler on either sides suppoerting Gotze who will operate as the sole striker in a 4-2-3-1 formation.
The Midfield and Defense
Loew ruled out the possibility of Schweinsteiger starting from the first minute despite scoring the second goal, saying that he does not have”the power for 90 minutes”. Toni Kroos is likely to retain his place alongside Khedira at the heart of the midfield. In defence, Howedes and Hector will occupy the flanks with ,Boateng and Hummels or Mustafi in the centre.
Roma goalkeeper Wojciech Szczesny is struggling with a thigh injury which could make his former Arsenal understudy the beneficiary of a spot in the starting lineup in the game vs Germany. Szczesny and Hummels both will have to take the late fitness test to confirm their places in the starting lineup of Wednesday’s game.