Germany will lock horns with Spain in Sevilla on Tuesday in a group decider as both the sides look to finish top of Group A4 in the UEFA Nations League.
Following a disappointing run of form, Germany head coach Joachim Low will have an opportunity to redeem himself when his team faces Spain, at Estadio de la Cartuja on Tuesday in the group decider. The visitors are heading into this game as group leaders with nine points in five matches, but a defeat could potentially see them finish level of points with third-placed Ukraine.
Germany are coming on the back of a 3-1 win over Ukraine this past weekend. It was only their third victory in the past seven matches international matches, although Die Mannschaft are currently on a 12-game unbeaten run stretching back to September 2019.
As such, the reverse fixture between these two teams, back in September, ended in a 1-1 draw. It was a disappointing result for the 2014 World Cup champions were denied all three points due to a late equaliser from Jose Gaya.
Spain, however, will be needing much more than just a draw if they are to finish first in Group A4 in the UEFA Nations League this term. They are currently on eight points and a defeat on Tuesday could even allow Ukraine to overtake them as the eastern Europeans are currently on six points.
Luis Enrique’s men have not been in great form either, notably getting held by Switzerland and Netherlands during this ongoing international window. They also slumped to a 1-0 defeat to Ukraine and have won just one of their last five international matches.
So given this interesting run of form from both the teams, The Hard Tackle takes a closer look at their chances ahead of this vital fixture in the UEFA Nations League this midweek.
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Sergio Reguilón has provided two assists in just three competitive starts for Spain.
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Jose Gaya, who scored the equaliser in the reverse fixture will be unavailable for this clash following a head injury against Netherlands. Sergio Reguilon is the first-choice option to replace him at left-back, and Enrique might stick with the in-form Tottenham star, even though he also has Sergio Canales as an alternative.
We are expecting further changes at the back, with David de Gea returning in goal at the expense of Unai Simon while Hector Bellerin could replace Sergi Roberto at right-back. Roberto and Reguilon will look to provide cover for the two central defenders in Sergio Ramos and Pau Torres.
Not many changes are expected in midfield, however, as the double-pivot of Sergio Busquets and Mikel Merino provides Spain with a lot of solidity in the second line of press. While one could criticise their slow nature, it will be compensated by their excellent positional sense as well as the presence of a more dynamic Fabian Ruiz, though Dani Olmo is another option.
Moving forward, it remains unlikely that Marco Asensio will return to the setup this midweek, meaning Ferran Torres is pretty much a guaranteed starter in the wider attacking position. The Manchester City attacker could start on the left flank in order to accommodate Adama Traore on the right-hand side.
These two pacy attackers will look to provide supply to Alvaro Morata, who has shown some promising form at Juventus during these early parts of the campaign. Gerard Moreno is also pushing for a start, however, after coming on from the bench to score a goal against Switzerland.
Probable Lineup (4-2-3-1): de Gea; Bellerin, Ramos, Torres, Reguilon; Busquets, Merino; Adama, Ruiz, Torres; Morata
Germany will be boosted by the return of Toni Kroos from suspension heading into this game. The German international is pretty much a guaranteed starter in the middle of the park, where he will look to provide support to Leon Goretzka. Ilkay Gundogan is another player hoping to retain his place in the side, ahead of Florian Neuhaus.
These three are set to operate in the middle of the park, forming Germany’s three-man midfield which will play an essential role in cutting off Spain’s approach play.
Unfortunately for Joachim Low, he lacks balance in defence as there is a scarcity of a quality right-back due to the injury of Lukas Klostermann. Matthias Ginter was forced to play in that role against Ukraine but with Antonio Rudiger suspended, the Borussia Monchengladbach star might return at centre-back, with Benjamin Henrichs operating at right-back.
The lack of experienced defenders in Mats Hummels and Jerome Boateng is really hurting Die Mannschaft at the moment, with the sub-par duo of Jonathan Tah and Niklas Stark being the only other options available at the disposal of Low. Robin Koch and Felix Udoukhai, in contrast, are quite inexperienced at the international stage.
Meanwhile, in the attack, Germany are not expected to make too many changes given the importance of this fixture. So we might witness the Bayern Munich duo of Leroy Sane and Serge Gnabry bombarding the flanks white the German attack will be spearheaded by Chelsea superstar Timo Werner.
Probable Lineup (4-3-3): Neuer; Henrichs, Ginter, Sule, Max; Gundogan, Kroos, Goretzka; Gnabry, Werner, Sane
- Germany’s Manuel Neuer is set to win his 95th cap. Of the current squad, only Toni Kroos has more (100).
- Leroy Sane’s strike against Ukraine was his fifth goal in 23 senior international appearances.
- Spain have conceded the first goal in six of their previous nine UEFA Nations League matches.
- Spain’s Dani Olmo has one goal and an assist to show for his first seven appearances for Spain.
- Germany are currently on a 12-game unbeaten run stretching back to September 2019.
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Toni Kroos has been a subject of some controversy this past week or so following his comments regarding Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang’s celebrations. It has led to a bit of a Twitter feud, with former German national teammate Mesut Ozil recently coming out in support of his Arsenal mate.
That said, Kroos’s sole focus will be to help his side in securing a much-needed win against Spain this midweek. His return from suspension serves as a massive boon for a Germany side that is missing out on the services of Joshua Kimmich, meaning the Real Madrid midfielder could play a more important role in the holding midfield role.
Kroos has been in good form of late, but it will be interesting to see how he performs against a Spanish side who have some of the most talented and technically astute midfielders in world football.
Spain 1-1 Germany
A match-up between two of the giants of international football always calls for a fascinating battle. However, it is fair to point out that both the teams are going through a bit of transitional period and given the poor performances from these teams over the past few matches, it won’t be surprising to see a cagey affair, where both sides have to settle for a point. We are predicting yet another 1-1 draw.