Two faltering giants of world football lock horns as Germany welcome Argentina to the Signal Iduna Park on Wednesday in a blockbuster clash.
The second international break of the year is here and one of the first games is a mouthwatering fixture between two heavyweights in a transitional phase. Germany play hosts to Argentina at the Westfalenstadion in Dortmund on Wednesday night, as both sides continue their preparations for their respective continental competitions next summer.
Germany have continued to blow hot and cold, as Joachim Low strives to take the national side back to the top of world football. While Die Mannschaft have won four of their six games so far this year, they went down 4-2 to Netherlands at home last month in what was quite a dramatic collapse.
Argentina, on the other hand, seem to be finally starting to show some progress under the tutelage of Lionel Scaloni. If a third place finish in the Copa America was disappointing, the fact that La Albiceleste dominated Chile before thrashing Mexico 4-0 last month showed that the youthful side is beginning to warm up to Scaloni’s ways.
Argentina were victorious the last time they locked horns with Germany, coasting to a 4-2 win in Dusseldorf. Ahead of the latest meeting between the two sides, The Hard Tackle takes a closer look at the encounter.
Team News & Tactics
Joachim Low is missing the services of several key players ahead of the visit of Argentina. Nico Schulz is recovering from an ankle injury that prevented him from being selected for the latest round of international fixtures.
The Germany head coach has also seen Matthias Ginter (shoulder), Jonas Hector (thigh) and Toni Kroos (thigh) pull out from the initial squad due to their respective fitness concerns. In their stead, Low has called up Suat Serdar and Robin Koch to the national squad for the first time while also recalling Sebastian Rudy.
Nadiem Amiri is another player who will be hoping to make his Germany debut in the international break, having been handed his maiden call-up. Meanwhile, there are lingering concerns over Timo Werner (flu) and Ilkay Gundogan (muscle injury) as well, with neither player expected to feature against Argentina. Rudy and Koch have joined the squad late and are not expected to feature.
In Ginter’s absence, Niklas Stark is expected to take his place in the three-man central defensive unit for Germany, with Niklas Sule and Jonathan Tah being his partners. One certain starter is Marc-Andre ter Stegen, who Low confirmed will be between the sticks against Germany, as the debate over who ought to be the Germany no. 1 rages on.
In midfield, Gundogan’s injury troubles means that Emre Can is likely to take the field, despite his troubles at club level with Juventus. Can will accompany Joshua Kimmich in the middle of the park, with RB Leipzig duo Marcel Halstenberg and Lukas Klostermann being the two wing-backs.
With Werner recovering from the flu, in-form Bayern Munich forward Serge Gnabry could lead the line for Germany, with Kai Havertz and Julian Brandt playing off him. Luca Waldschmidt will be in contention to earn his maiden Germany cap later on in the game.
Probable Lineup (3-4-2-1): ter Stegen; Stark, Sule, Tah; Klostermann, Kimmich, Can, Halstenberg; Havertz, Brandt; Gnabry
Lionel Messi continues to remain unavailable for Argentina duty due to the three-month ban that he was slapped with by CONMEBOL for comments made in the aftermath of the Copa America. In addition, fellow marquee players Sergio Aguero and Angel Di Maria have been overlooked once again, as Lionel Scaloni continues his youthful project.
The Argentina head coach, though, has been forced to make widespread changes to the squad he last picked, thanks in large part to the looming Copa Libertadores semi-final between River Plate and Boca Juniors. As a result, Scaloni gets a chance to blood some more youngsters in.
Meanwhile, the Argentina boss has already confirmed his starting lineup for the game against Germany, with Agustin Marchesin taking his place in goal. Marchesin will be protected by a back four of Juan Foyth, Nicolas Otamendi, Marcos Rojo and Nicolas Tagliafico.
A three-man midfield unit will see Leandro Paredes reprise the holding midfield role, with Rodrigo De Paul and Roberto Pereyra providing the creative thrust from the middle of the park. Messi’s absence allows Paulo Dybala to make an impact from the off once again.
Dybala will be a part of the three-pronged attack, with Lautaro Martinez, the hat-trick hero against Mexico last month, leading the line for Argentina and Angel Correa starting on the left flank.
Probable Lineup (4-3-3): Marchesin; Foyth, Otamendi, Rojo, Tagliafico; De Paul, Paredes, Pereyra; Dybala, Lautaro Martinez, Correa
- Germany and Argentina have played each other 22 times. So far, Argentina lead the head-to-head record with 10 wins (D4 L8).
- Argentina’s recent record in friendlies with Germany is rather impressive, winning four of the last five such contests (D1).
- Four of Germany’s last five friendlies have seen exactly three goals scored. In addition, Die Mannschaft have scored two or more goals in each of their last five international fixtures.
- Argentina have scored at least two goals in four of their last six matches. They have also kept clean sheets in four of their last six international matches.
- Serge Gnabry has netted five goals in five games for Germany in 2019.
Player to Watch
Marc-Andre ter Stegen
It is a rivalry that has been building up for some time. But, the debate over who should be the Germany no. 1 has become the single most talked about topic surrounding the national team ever since Manuel Neuer criticised Marc-Andre ter Stegen for expressing his desire for more game time in internationals.
Since then, ter Stegen has slammed Neuer’s comments as being inappropriate before insisting in the build-up to the game against Argentina that he is “not fighting” with the Germany captain. There has been a tinge of controversy as well, with Uli Hoeness threatening to pull Bayern Munich stars out of national duty if Neuer was dropped.
With ter Stegen set to start against Argentina on Wednesday, it is now up to the Barcelona goalkeeper to let his performance do the talking. If he can translate his club form on the international scene, Neuer will have ter Stegen breathing down his neck, and the healthy competition ought to bode well for Germany.
Germany 2-1 Argentina
Argentina might have an outstanding recent record in friendlies against Germany. But, with a squad that was already missing Lionel Messi being further hit with the absence of some more big names, this game could be used as more of a learning curve for some of the youngsters in Lionel Scaloni’s side.
Germany are themselves missing a few key players and their poor defensive records over the last year or so means there should be goalmouth action on either end. The hosts, though, should have more than enough quality to win this contest and The Hard Tackle predicts a 2-1 win for Joachim Low & co.