Germany will be aiming to bounce back to winning ways when they lock horns with the Czech Republic in a friendly encounter on Wednesday.
The international break is upon us, with teams scheduled to play three games in a space of ten days. After a rather disappointing set of results last month, Germany will be hoping to get things back on track when they face off against the Czech Republic at the Red Bull Arena in Leipzig.
Joachim Low’s men won just one of their three fixtures in October – a 2-1 win against Ukraine in the UEFA Nations League, sandwiched between two 3-3 draws against Turkey and Switzerland, respectively. With important fixtures against Ukraine and Spain coming up over the next week, Die Mannschaft will be hoping to get back the winning feeling and build some momentum.
Czech Republic, on the other hand, fared slightly better than their opponents on Wednesday during the last international window. Jaroslav Silhavy’s side picked up back-to-back wins against Cyprus and Israel, although they did succumb to a 1-0 loss to Scotland in their most recent game. With Germany not at their best, the Narodak will be gunning for an upset win this week.
The last time Germany and Czech Republic faced off was in 2017 in a World Cup Qualifier, with the former emerging 2-1 winners. And ahead of their latest encounter coming our way from Leipzig, The Hard Tackle takes a closer look at both the teams.
Team News & Tactics
Joachim #Löw has named his Germany squad for the upcoming international break! 🇩🇪🆚🇨🇿🇺🇦🇪🇸
— Germany (@DFB_Team_EN) November 6, 2020
There are no major selection surprises from Low, with all the usual suspects getting picked for the upcoming set of fixtures. However, Germany will have to make do without Joshua Kimmich, who suffered a serious injury this past weekend, while Niklas Sule, Julian Draxler and Kai Havertz are also unavailable. In addition, Thilo Kehrer and Marcel Halstenberg have withdrawn from the squad due to injuries.
Furthermore, Manuel Neuer, Matthias Ginter, Serge Gnabry, Leon Goretzka, Leroy Sane, Toni Kroos and Timo Werner will not be involved in the friendly and will only be available for the Nations League fixtures. Three uncapped players – PSV’s Philipp Max, Augsburg’s Felix Uduokhai and Wolfsburg’s Ridle Baku have been called up.
Low has used a three-man backline quite often in recent games, but set his team up in a 4-2-3-1 against Switzerland last time. However, he is likely to revert to the former tactical setup in Leipzig this week. In goal, with Neuer not available, Arsenal’s Bernd Leno is likely to get the nod.
Leeds United’s Robin Koch ought to line up at the heart of the defence, flanked by Chelsea’s Antonio Rudiger and Niklas Stark of Hertha Berlin. Benjamin Henrichs and Nico Schulz are likely to take up the wing-back slots on the right and left sides respectively.
Florian Neuhaus, who made his debut for the national team last month, ought to feature in the centre of the park. He is likely to be partnered by Borussia Dortmund’s Mahmoud Dahoud, who has been in good touch of late.
Jonas Hofmann, who has been in top form for Borussia Monchengladbach, ought to start as one of the two attacking midfielders, with Julian Brandt likely to partner him in the final third. The duo will look to create opportunities for lone striker Luca Waldschmidt.
Probable Lineup (3-4-2-1): Leno; Stark, Koch, Rudiger; Henrichs, Neuhaus, Dahoud, Schulz; Hofmann, Brandt; Waldscmidt
Jakub Jankto, who missed the October fixtures, is back in the squad while David Pavelka also gets called up to the side. Among the four goalkeepers that were initially selected, two – Ondrej Kolar and Filip Nguyen – have withdrawn from the squad, along with defender Ondrej Celustka and midfielder Petr Sevcik. They have been replaced by Tomas Koubek, Ales Mandous, Vaclav Jemelka and Vaclav Cerny.
The visitors are expected to line up in a 4-2-3-1 setup on Wednesday with some of the fringe players getting an opportunity against the Germans. Werder Bremen’s Jiri Pavlenka is likely to slot in the goal and will be shielded by a backline comprising of Tomas Holes, Tomas Kalas, David Hovorka and Filip Novak.
Antonin Barak ought to occupy one of the two pivot positions in the centre of the park. West Ham United’s Tomas Soucek is a crucial player for Czech Republic and might not be risked in a friendly, meaning we could see Jankto get the nod alongside Barak on Wednesday. Captain Vladimir Darida ought to line up as the No. 10.
27-year-old Lukas Masopust could get the nod on the right flank while Jan Kopic might provide the width from the opposite wing. Matej Vydra is expected to spearhead the attack for the visitors in Leipzig.
Probable Lineup (4-2-3-1): Pavlenka; Holes, Kalas, Hovorka, Novak; Jankto, Barak; Masopust, Darida, Kopic; Vydra
- This will be the ninth meeting between Germany and the Czech Republic. The former have the upper-hand in the head-to-head record, with six wins compared to the latter’s two.
- In their eight contests against the Czech Republic, Germany have managed to keep two clean sheets.
- Germany have managed to win just one of their five fixtures in the year 2020 (D4). Czech Republic, on the other hand, have won three and lost two so far this year.
- Czech Republic have not played a single draw in their last 31 games. The last time a game involving them ended in a stalemate was in June 2017.
- Germany are unbeaten in their last ten fixtures, racking up five wins and five draws each. The last time they lost was in September 2019, against Netherlands.
Player to Watch
With a number of regular starters unavailable for the game for Germany, the onus will fall on Julian Brandt to take the responsibility as the senior member in the team. The 24-year-old has had a fairly quiet start to the new season, managing just the solitary goal in 12 appearances in all competitions.
However, his ability on the ball and chance-creation capabilities will make Brandt a vital player for Germany when they go up against a Czech Republic side that might look to sit deep and defend.
Germany 2-1 Czech Republic
Germany have picked up just one win so far this year, and come into the game on the back of a high-scoring draw against Switzerland. And while they will be without a host of regulars for the friendly clash, the sheer gulf of quality between the two teams should see Jogi Low & co. come out on top at Leipzig on Wednesday.