Germany will be raring to get back to winning ways when they lock horns with Latvia in a friendly encounter before the UEFA Euro 2020 kicks off.

With the UEFA Euro 2020 just a week away, teams will be making their final preparations for the quadrennial summer extravaganza. And, faltering giants of Europe, Germany will be aiming to bounce back to winning ways and build some much-needed momentum ahead of the tournament when they host Latvia in a friendly at the Merkur Spiel-Arena in Dusseldorf on Monday night.

Germany, following a disappointing 2018 FIFA World Cup, haven’t been able to mount a strong recovery. Even though there have been some positive results along the way, Joachim Low & co. have largely underwhelmed and head into Monday’s game on the back of two winless results, losing to North Macedonia in the World Cup Qualifiers before playing out a 1-1 draw with Denmark in a friendly earlier this week.

With their UEFA Euro 2020 opener against France only a week away, Die Mannschaft must get back on the winning track if they are to have a chance of progressing in the tournament.

UEFA Euro 2020 Group F: France, Germany, Portugal, Hungary| THT Preview

Latvia, meanwhile, have not qualified for the Euros but come into the game on decent form having lost just twice in their last seven games, a run that includes a draw against Turkey in the World Cup Qualifiers and a 3-1 win over Lithuania in their most recent fixture earlier this week in the Baltic Cup. They will be looking to make things difficult for the 2014 world champions and pull off a major upset in Dusseldorf.

This will be the first time that Germany and Latvia will be meeting in over sixteen years and The Hard Tackle will now take a closer look at both teams ahead of the contest on Monday night.

Team News & Tactics

Germany

Joachim Low is likely to be without Bayern Munich youngster Jamal Musiala who is recovering from a hip problem. Fellow Bayern star Leon Goretzka is also unlikely to be risked as he steps up his recovery from a thigh issue. No other major issues for the German side as they ramp up their preparations for the Euros.

Manuel Neuer should get the nod in goal for the hosts, in front of whom the rest of the team is likely to line up in a 3-4-3 formation. There could, however, be personnel change in the three-man defensive unit, with Antonio Rudiger likely to step into the side for Mats Hummels, starting alongside Matthias Ginter and Niklas Sule.

Joshua Kimmich, who started in the middle of the park against Denmark, could be shifted out to the right wing-back slot, allowing for Ilkay Gundogan and Toni Kroos to form the central midfield partnership, with last match’s goalscorer Florian Neuhaus set to drop to the bench. Robin Gosens should get the nod at left wing-back, from where he will look to provide a constant attacking outlet.

Thomas Muller, who is back in the national team setup and played the entire game against Denmark, is likely to get another start here as the centre-forward, with Bayern Munich teammate Serge Gnabry providing attacking support from the left flank. There could be an alteration on the right though, with Kai Havertz likely to get a chance to make an impression on Monday.

Probable Lineup (3-4-3): Neuer; Ginter, Sule, Rudiger; Kimmich, Kroos, Gundogan, Gosens; Havertz, Muller, Gnabry

Latvia

Manager Dainis Kazakevics has made some changes to the squad that he picked during the March international break with the likes of Daniels Ontuzans, Pavels Steinbors and Kristers Tobers some of the players dropping out. There are four uncapped players on the Latvian roster for the trip to Dusseldorf.

Latvia are expected to line up in a 4-2-3-1 formation on Monday night with Roberts Ozols manning the goal where he could be in for a busy outing. Roberts Savalnieks and Raivis Jurkovskis ought to be the two full-backs flanking the centre-back partnership of Antonijs Cernomordijs and Marcis Oss. The visitors will sit deep and try to absorb the pressure, meaning the two wide defenders are likely to stay back for most parts.

Eduards Emsis and Arturz Zjuzuns should form the pivot structure in the centre of the park, providing further protection to the backline, while Janis Ikaunieks takes up the creative responsibilities, slotting in as the No. 10.

Vladimirs Kamess and Andrejs Ciganiks ought to provide further attacking support from the flanks, as they look to create opportunities for the lone striker, Roberts Uldrikis, who will need to be clinical, given that there aren’t likely to be a lot of chances coming his way.

Probable Lineup (4-2-3-1): Ozols; Savalnieks, Cernomordijs, Oss, Jurkovskis; Emsis, Zjuzuns; Kamess, Ikaunieks, Ciganiks; Uldrikis

Key Stats

  • Germany and Latvia have faced each other just three times in the past, with Die Mannschaft winning two while the other one ended in a draw.
  • The last time Germany and Latvia met was in the 2004 European Championships, with the contest ending in a goalless draw.
  • Germany have won just four of their last 12 matches (D5, L3), failing to come out on top in each of their last two encounters.
  • Latvia, meanwhile, have picked up just three wins in their last twelve games (D6, L3), although they did win their most recent contest against Lithuania.
  • Should he feature on Monday, Germany goalkeeper Manuel Neuer will be making his 100th appearance for the national team, becoming the first goalkeeper to do so for Die Mannschaft.

Player to Watch

Kai Havertz

Kai Havertz will be looking to carry his confidence from Chelsea's UCL triumph (Photo by Adam Nurkiewicz/Bongarts/Getty Images)

Kai Havertz will be looking to carry his confidence from Chelsea’s UCL triumph (Photo by Adam Nurkiewicz/Bongarts/Getty Images)

While the 2020/21 campaign was a difficult one for the German international, Kai Havertz will be high on confidence after leading Chelsea to the UEFA Champions League triumph. The 21-year-old has three goals in 13 appearances for the national team so far, and will be hoping to add to that tally should he get a chance so that he can go into the Euros with his tails up.

Prediction

Germany 2-0 Latvia

Germany haven’t had the best of fortunes of late and will be given a stern test by a Latvian side that will be hoping to pull off a major upset. However, despite their recent struggles, the hosts have too much quality within the ranks and should be able to pull off a win on Monday night to warm up for the Euros in the right manner.

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