Netherlands and Germany will be looking for their first wins in the UEFA Nations League when they meet at the Amsterdam ArenA on Saturday
Matchday 3 of the UEFA Nations League will conclude on Saturday. The marquee match of the day will be played in Group 1 of League A, between two teams that are still looking for their first wins of the competition, when Netherlands play hosts to Germany at the Amsterdam ArenA.
Netherlands are making slow progress under the tutelage of Ronald Koeman, who has steadied the ship somewhat after his side was beaten in his first match in-charge. Their only game in the UEFA Nations League so far also yielded a loss, although the Oranje did show a lot of promise in defeat as well.
Germany, on the other hand, are on the road to redemption after their embarrassing elimination in the group stage of the 2018 FIFA World Cup. Joachim Low has kept hold of place as the Die Mannschaft head coach, and is now looking to make amends in what is set to be a period of transition.
Netherlands and Germany last locked horns in a friendly six years ago, with the match ending in a goalless stalemate. Ahead of the latest meeting between the two sides, The Hard Tackle takes a closer look at the UEFA Nations League encounter.
Team News & Tactics
Ronald Koeman seems to be narrowing down the core group of players he will be using during his tenure going forward. But, there is one notable omission from the Netherlands head coach’s latest squad, with Justin Kluivert missing out, having not started the 2018-19 season in strong fashion.
One player though, who has been included after impressing in the early stages of the season is Steven Bergwijn, who has been on fire for PSV Eindhoven thus far. While the 21-year-old might not get a start straight away, the chances of him making his international debut against Germany is quite high.
In his stead though, Ryan Babel should start on the left side of the Dutch attack, retaining his place in the side. On the opposite flank, Quincy Promes has become an ever present, while Memphis Depay will likely lead the line for Netherlands, having become a talisman for both club and country over the last year.
The spotlight, meanwhile, will again be on a somewhat suspect Dutch defence, although young prodigy Matthijs de Ligt has been impressive in the springtime of his career. Koeman though, will hope Virgil van Dijk can produce similar organisational abilities for the national side as he has done for Liverpool.
The full-backs are expected to be Daley Blind and Hans Hateboer, with the latter replacing the injured Kenny Tete. In midfield, Frenkie de Jong will be hoping to cement his place playing just in front of the backline.
The 21-year-old Ajax wonderkid will also be a factor with his creative abilities, and will be ably supported by Georginio Wijnaldum and Kevin Strootman, who should return owing to Davy Propper’s foot injury.
Probable Lineup (4-3-3): Cillessen; Hateboer, de Ligt, van Dijk, Blind; Strootman, de Jong, Wijnaldum; Promes, Depay, Babel
In contrast to Netherlands, Germany do have a few notable absentees due to injury. The likes of Leon Goretzka, Antonio Rudiger, Kai Havertz and Marco Reus will be unavailable for the UEFA Nations League tie on Saturday due to injury. Jonas Hector is the big name making his return to the squad after missing out last month.
Meanwhile, The big headache for Joachim Low is the system he will rebuild the national side in. Thus far, the Germany boss has switched between the 4-2-3-1 and the 4-3-3, with the former seemingly providing more balance to the lineup. Another issue that Low is dealing with surrounds the position in which Joshua Kimmich will be deployed in.
The latest team selection decisions suggest that the Bayern Munich superstar will be the holding midfielder providing Toni Kroos the freedom in the final third, with Matthias Ginter being the right-back. At the heart of the German defence, Mats Hummels and Niklas Sule should start, leaving Thilo Kehrer content with a spot on the bench.
The left-back slot is another bone of contention, with Nico Schulz giving the returning Jonas Hector a run for his money. On Saturday, the experienced campaigner should be persisted with, meaning Schulz will also be named among the substitutes.
Marco Reus’s absence, meanwhile, means Timo Werner should return as the focal point of the German attack, having been deployed on the left flank last month. The aforementioned spot should be taken up by Leroy Sane, who seems to be back in favour for Germany, with Thomas Muller and Julian Brandt completing the side.
Probable Lineup (4-2-3-1): Neuer; Ginter, Hummels, Sule, Hector; Kimmich, Kroos; Brandt, Muller, Sane; Werner
- Netherlands and Germany have previously met 40 times, with the visitors holding the edge in the head-to-head record with 15 wins (D15 L10).
- Netherlands though, have failed to win any of their last five encounters against Die Mannschaft (D3 L2).
- Steadying a rocky boat – Ronald Koeman has lost just two of his six matches in charge of Netherlands (W2 D2).
- Germany have won more times in the Netherlands (eight) than they have against the Dutch at home (seven).
- Leaky defences – Germany have kept just one clean sheet in their past nine matches across all competitions, while Netherlands have conceded six goals in as many games under Ronald Koeman.
Player to Watch
Matthijs de Ligt
Just 19 years of age, Matthijs de Ligt can do no wrong. At an age when players are usually striving to make it into the first-team squads at their clubs, the teenage prodigy hasn’t just become a regular, but is also the Ajax captain. Unsurprisingly, the Dutchman is being hailed as a future legend of the game.
At the international level though, de Ligt is yet to make it count, with Netherlands rebuilding after years of successive setbacks. With an experienced head like Virgil van Dijk by his side, the game against Germany provides the best opportunity for the wonderkid to make a mark for his national side.
Netherlands 1-1 Germany
It is often said that wounded warriors make for the most resilient forces. Netherlands and Germany find themselves in a similar phase, wherein they need to rise from the ashes of despair and Saturday’s match thus, makes for an enticing encounter. Ahead of the game in the Dutch capital, there is very little to separate the two sides.
Both are struggling with defensive solidity while there will be promising talents on show upfront on either end. Netherlands and Germany should thus, serve up a keenly contested encounter with the two goalkeepers being busy customers. The Hard Tackle predicts a 1-1 draw for the Matchday 3 UEFA Nations League tie.