Germany will go into their FIFA World Cup qualifier against San Marino as overwhelming favourites.

The last time Germany and San Marino squared off, the former convincingly battered the latter, and in fact taught them a footballing lesson or two. Home advantage did not prove to be enough for San Marino, and they ended up losing by an 8-0 scoreline.

FIFA World Cup qualifiers often plot minnows against world-class teams, but gives both sides a lot to learn and offer the so called lesser sides a platform to express themselves on the international stage.

The Germans have won all of their five qualifying matches, and will be looking to continue their hundred percent record in the competition. They have been in prolific form since the European Championships, and should carry on their good run.

This will be Germany’s last game before they leave for Russia to participate in the Confederations Cup. While their squad is bereft of a number of first-team players, it will still be a competition that Joachim Loew would love having in the bag.

Team News and Tactics

Germany

Joachin Loew, in his press conference, stated that Marc-Andre ter Stegen will start in goal ahead of Bernd Leno. The Barcelona keeper has been instrumental for his club this past season, and is a vital keeper for the future of the German national team.

Julian Draxler will captain the team, and is expected to start on the right flank. The PSG winger can play as a number 10, and is likely to drift in, leaving the wide attacking duties to Bayern Munich’s flying right-back  Joshua Kimmich.

This would see Lars Stindl play as the second striker when Germany have the ball, and drop slightly deeper when they are without possession, with Timo Werner pressing the defenders. Sandro Wagner could also be named ahead of the RB Leipzig man.

Germany’s injury woes in midfield may see Leon Goretzka start alongside Emre Can. The Liverpool midfielder is likely to play as a holding midfielder and drop even deep while defending, while Goretzka is expected to put his creativity to use in the final third.

Germany Probable XI: Ter Stegen; Kimmich, Sule, Rudiger, Hector; Goretzka, Can; Draxler, Stindl, Rudy; Werner.

San Marino

San Marino go into this one with zero expectations, but will be hesitant to throw caution to the wind so as to avoid an embarrassment. They are likely to line up in a 4-4-1-1 shape, with two banks of four playing extremely narrow, cramping the Germans for space in midfield.

They know that if they allow Germany possession, they will work their way into the box to devastating effect, and manager Pierangelo Manzaroli could ask his players to maintain a high press once the ball crosses the halfway line.

Michele Cervellini is one of the finest tacklers in recent history for the Sammarinese, and is expected to battle Can man for man in the middle of the park. The Liverpool man may have a strength advantage on him, but Cervellini is the more technical of the two.

The modern game persuades managers to play flying full-backs, but Manzaroli is expected to instruct Cesarini and Brolli to stay back at all times, and deal with the threat Die Mannschaft could provide from wider areas.

San Marino Probable XI: Benedettini; Cesarini, Biordi, Cevoli, Brolli; Hirsch, Golinucci, Cervellini Tosi; Vitaloli; Stefanelli.

Key Stats

  • The Germans, currently top of Group C with a 100 per cent record, and are heavy favourites going into this contest.
  • Their opponents, on the other hand, have lost all five of their fixtures, and stand no realistic chance of qualifying for next year’s World Cup.
  • In three meetings, Germany have dominated San Marino by a total of 27-0.  Here’s a look: Sep 6, 2006: San Marino 0-13 Germany; Jun 2, 2007: Germany 6-0 San Marino;
    Nov 11, 2016: San Marino 0-8 Germany.
  • Germany could extend their lead at the top to eight points if they manage to pick up a win against San Marino.
  • The last time the two sides met, Germany registered a staggering 40 shots on goal.

Player to watch

Emre Can

WATFORD, ENGLAND - MAY 01: Emre Can of Liverpool scores the opening goal during the Premier League match between Watford and Liverpool at Vicarage Road on May 1, 2017 in Watford, England. (Photo by Dan Mullan/Getty Images)

WATFORD, ENGLAND – MAY 01: Emre Can of Liverpool scores the opening goal during the Premier League match between Watford and Liverpool at Vicarage Road on May 1, 2017 in Watford, England. (Photo Courtesy: Dan Mullan/Getty Images)

Emre Can will be one of few experienced names on the team sheet, and will thus be a man that Low will look up to be the inspirational presence on the pitch. While Draxler will take up captaincy duties, Can has been a pretty good motivator.

He has been good with his positioning and tackling in the middle of the park for Germany and has done a fairly decent at shielding the back line. The attacking players have felt a lot safer with his presence, and he will looking to replicate his recent performances.

Prediction

Germany 5-0 San Marino

This Germany side does not possess the quality it did when they thumped San Marino come the end of last year, but has enough in it, to dominate the opposition, and win the game by a fine margin.

The likes of Wagner, Werner and Stindl have been prolific in front of goal this season, and the time has now come for them to perform on the big stage. This match has come at the perfect time for them, and they are likely to be among the chances on Saturday.

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