It will be the clash of the heavyweights on Friday night, as Germany host Netherlands for their Group C encounter of the UEFA Euro 2020 Qualifiers.
Germany will be aiming to continue their winning start to the UEFA Euro 2020 Qualifiers, when they welcome Ronald Koeman’s Netherlands at the Volksparkstadion in Hamburg on Friday night.
Following their disappointing runs in the FIFA World Cup last year and the inaugural UEFA Nations League, Germany seem to be getting back on track and are currently unbeaten in their last six matches. In fact, Die Mannschaft have won all of their three Euro 2020 Qualifiers till date, with their latest fixture ending in a 8-0 trouncing of Estonia.
Despite their three wins, Joachim Low’s men are second in the Group C standings, three points behind Northern Ireland who have played a match more than the 2014 World Champions. Germany will be facing the group leaders next Tuesday and cannot afford to drop points against the Dutch in Hamburg this week.
Netherlands have only played two games in the qualifying campaign so far, winning and losing one match apiece. Last time they were in action, Ronald Koeman’s side lost 1-0 to Portugal in the UEFA Nations League final and will be aiming to bounce back strongly.
The Oranje had failed to qualify for UEFA Euro 2016 as well as the 2018 FIFA World Cup and will be keen on ensuring that they make it through to the showpiece event next summer at any cost. Currently third in Group C, Netherlands lost to Germany 3-2 in their previous meeting in the Qualifiers in March and will have revenge on their mind.
Team News & Tactics
Senior trio Thomas Muller, Mats Hummels and Jerome Boateng continue to be out of the national team picture, while Chelsea defender Antonio Rudiger also misses out due to lack of match-fitness. Toni Kroos and Marc-Andre ter Stegen are back in the squad after missing the last set of qualifiers.
Emre Can also makes his way back into the German national team setup for the first time since October last year, while there are first call-ups for defender Niklas Stark and forward Luca Waldschmidt. Leroy Sane, Thilo Kehrer and Julian Draxler are injury-enforced absentees.
Captain Manuel Neuer is a certainty to feature between the sticks for Die Mannschaft on Friday. The RB Leipzig duo of Lukas Klostermann and Marcel Halstenberg will slot in as the full-backs on the right and left sides respectively, with Niklas Sule taking up one of the two centre-back slots. Jonathan Tah is likely to edge out Matthias Ginter for the second spot.
Bayern Munich star Joshua Kimmich is a guaranteed starter at the base of the three-man midfield for Germany, while Toni Kroos is likely to get the nod as well after his solid start to the season at Real Madrid. Ilkay Gundogan is likely to pip the likes of Kai Havertz, Leon Goretzka and Can for the third slot in the middle of the park.
Julian Brandt has made a bright start to the season, but is likely to start on the bench with club teammate Marco Reus set to start on the left flank, while Serge Gnabry should get the nod on the opposite wing, having featured in a central role in the last few games for the national team. Timo Werner, who has scored five in 3 Bundesliga matches already, should lead the line.
Probable Lineup (4-3-3): Neuer; Klostermann, Sule, Tah, Halstenberg; Gundogan, Kimmich, Kroos; Gnabry, Werner, Reus
Ronald Koeman has handed PSV striker Donyell Malen his first-ever international call-up for the upcoming set of fixtures. But, Netherlands will have to make do without the services of Steven Bergwijn, who withdrew from the squad after picking up a knock this past weekend. Justin Kluivert has been called up as his replacement.
Inter Milan defender Stefan de Vrij has also withdrawn from the squad, while Donny van de Beek is another notable absentee from the ranks. Joel Veltman, who last played for the national team in 2017, is back in the scheme of things.
Jasper Cillessen should get the nod in goal ahead of Jeroen Zoet and Kenneth Vermeer against Die Mannschaft . Three of the four slots in the backline are locked in with captain Virgil van Dijk, Daley Blind and Matthijs de Ligt, who has had a scratchy start to life at Juventus, all likely to feature from kick-off. Denzel Dumfries is likely to start at right-back ahead of Veltman.
Frenkie de Jong is an indispensable member of Koeman’s side and is certain to start in one of the two pivot positions in the middle. Marten de Roon was a regular for Netherlands in their UEFA Nations League final run and should start alongside de Jong ahead of Davy Propper and Kevin Strootman. Liverpool star Georginio Wijnaldum should occupy the No. 10 slot for Netherlands.
Ryan Babel has been a constant fixture on the left flank under Koeman and that is unlikely to change on Friday. With Bergwijn out, Quincy Promes and Steven Berghuis are set to battle it out for the starting spot on the right wing. The latter is likely to get the nod, owing to his impressive start to the season. Memphis Depay should start as the lone striker.
Probable Lineup (4-2-3-1): Cillessen; Dumfries, de Ligt, van Dijk, Blind; de Roon, de Jong; Berghuis, Wijnaldum, Babel; Depay
- This will be the 44th meeting between Germany and Netherlands. The former have a slight upper-hand when it comes to head-to-head record, with Die Mannschaft picking up 16 wins compared to Oranje’s 11 victories (16 draws).
- The latest encounter between Germany and Netherlands ended in a 3-2 win for the former in March earlier this year in the UEFA Euro 2020 Qualifiers.
- Germany are unbeaten in their previous six matches, since their Nations League defeat to France in October last year (W4 D2). Joachim Low’s men have scored 19 goals in these six fixtures while letting in just five.
- Netherlands have won just one of their previous eight fixtures against Germany (D4 3L). The only win came in October last year, when they defeated their Friday’s opponents 3-0 in the Nations League.
- Germany have won all their three fixtures in the UEFA Euro 2020 Qualifiers and have scored at least two goals in each of those games.
Player to Watch
The RB Leipzig marksman has found himself on the bench of the German national team in recent fixtures, with Joachim Low preferring to use Serge Gnabry in a central role. In fact, Werner has made just one appearance in Germany’s three matches in the Qualifiers, which came from the bench against Estonia, in which he did score.
However, a blistering start to the new 2019-20 season is likely to earn him a chance to win back his starting spot in the lineup. Werner, so far this season, has bagged five goals in three matches, helping Leipzig to the top of the Bundesliga table. He will be hoping to carry that form on the international stages and fire his team to a win against Netherlands.
Germany 2-2 Netherlands
Germany have a 100% record in the UEFA Euro 2020 Qualifiers so far, with three wins in three matches. On the other hand, Netherlands’ form has been a bit dodgy of late, having lost two of their last three matches including one against their Friday’s opponents.
Germany have the quality in their attack to pierce through the defensive duo of Matthijs de Ligt and Virgil van Dijk. But, given the lack of experience in their backline, Netherlands are likely to be in with a chance especially with Memphis Depay in red-hot form.
Recent fixtures between the two teams have been high-scoring affairs and Friday’s encounter in Hamburg is likely to follow a similar pattern. We at The Hard Tackle are predicting this one to end in a keenly contested 2-2 draw, meaning the Germans’ perfect start to the qualifying campaign is likely to come to an end.