Following a win over Portugal, Germany will be eyeing top spot in Group F when they take on Hungary at the Allianz Arena on Wednesday.

After starting UEFA Euro 2020 with a 1-0 defeat to France, Germany managed to salvage their chances of advancing to the knockout rounds with a thumping win over Portugal. It has now put them in an excellent position to not only finish in the top two but clinch their place at the top of Group F as they take on Hungary on Wednesday.

Perceived by many as the minnows in this group of death, Hungary have proven to be a difficult opponent, notably churning out a 1-1 draw with France. They might have held Portugal as well, had it not been for a deflected goal from Raphael Guerreiro, which opened the floodgates, allowing Cristiano Ronaldo to score a late brace.

The draw has left Hungary with an outside chance of finishing inside the top two if they can beat Germany and Portugal lose against France. A win will be enough to see them through nonetheless, as one of the top four third-placed teams whereas Joachim Loew’s simply need a win and hope Portugal and France play out a draw.

The odds favour Germany as they have been dealt with a major advantage heading into this clash. Unlike France and Portugal, Die Mannschaft won’t have to play at the Puskas Arena in front of 67,000 Hungarian fans cheering for the hosts, creating an electric atmosphere that has been one of the highlights of the tournament.

Instead, Germany will welcome the Magyarorszag to the Allianz Arena, although the stadium has already proven to be a subject of discussion heading into this affair. The Munich authority were insistent on lighting up the stadium with rainbow colours in solidarity with the LGBTQ community, while also in response to the Hungarian government’s anti-LGBT laws.

UEFA, though, has blocked the authority from taking such a decision, citing political motives. Allianz Arena, instead, will be lit up with the German and Hungarian colours in addition to the European Football’s governing body that is conducting the tournament.

The whole fiasco regarding the stadium should play a key role in adding more fire into the contest, nonetheless, and here, at The Hard Tackle, we will run the rule over these two sides ahead of their heated encounter in Munich this midweek.

Team News & Tactics

Germany

The future and the present? (Picture Courtesy - AFP/Getty Images)

Thomas Muller’s absence should pave the way for Leon Goretzka to start. (Picture Courtesy – AFP/Getty Images)

Germany are set to miss out on the services of Thomas Muller heading into this encounter due to a knee injury. Mats Hummels also did not train with the team earlier, although the defender is expected to return to full fitness ahead of Wednesday’s clash.

Muller’s absence is going to cause a selection dilemma for Joachim Low. The Germany head coach will think twice about starting Leroy Sane as his replacement due to the poor form of the winger. Jonas Hofmann is another option, but the most likely replacement for Muller appears to be Leon Goretzka.

The Bayern Munich midfielder is hoping to operate alongside Kai Havertz in the number ten role, just behind Serge Gnabry. He can offer the much-needed physical and aerial presence in the final third and tends to position himself just outside the box. Not to mention, Goretzka is much more useful in the press – making him potentially an X-factor in this affair.

Goretzka’s likely presence in midfield should pave the way for Toni Kroos and Ilkay Gundogan to continue in double-pivot. They will be essential in controlling possession and neutralise potential counter-attacking opportunities for Hungary.

The defence needs to remain sharp as well, given the promise shown by Hungary in the France game. Fortunately for Germany, Hummels is likely to get back to full fitness, thus allowing the experienced centre-back to marshall the three-man backline consisting of him, Antonio Rudiger and Matthias Ginter.

It won’t be surprising to see Ginter operating as an auxiliary right-back, though, in order to cover for the right wing-back Joshua Kimmich, who likes to shift inside. The same cannot be said for Robin Gosens on the opposite flank, with the Atalanta star likely to make overlapping runs and provide dangerous crosses into the box.

Probable Lineup (3-4-2-1): Neuer; Ginter, Hummels, Rudiger; Kimmich, Kroos, Gundogan, Gosens; Goretzka; Havertz; Gnabry

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Hungary

It will be interesting to see how Hungary coach Marco Rossi approaches this game, knowing his team need a win in order to secure a place in the knockout rounds.

There is a selection dilemma as well after Hungary’s star forward and captain Adam Szalai took a blow to the head and subbed off early against France. Fortunately for Rossi, Szalai’s replacement Nemanja Nikolics fared well, making him the favourite to spearhead the Hungarian attack this midweek.

The veteran forward is set to be supported by SC Freiburg’s young gun Roland Sallai, with the additional punch being provided by the two wing-backs in Loic Nego and Attila Fiola, who scored the only goal in the draw with France.

In midfield, the combination of Laszlo Kleinheisler, Adam Nagy and the young Andras Schafer have fared extremely well so far. Their aggression should once again be key as Hungary hope to neutralise Germany’s control in the middle of the park, forcing them out wide.

It will help Rossi’s men put a stop to their opposition chance creation. The result of crosses from the wider position rather than penetration from central areas bodes well for Hungary, due to the presence of three tall centre-backs in Willi Orban, Endre Botka and Attila Szalai, covering the ever-reliable Peter Gulacsi in goal.

Probable Lineup (3-5-2): Gulacsi; Botka, Szalai, Orban; Nego, Schafer, Kleisheisler, Nagy, Fiola; Nikolics, Sallai

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Form Guide

Germany: WLWDL

Hungary: DLDWW

Key Stats

  • The head to head record between the two sides is surprisingly even with Die Mannschaft securing 13 wins in 34 matches compared to Hungary’s 11 while the remaining ten matches have ended in draws.
  • The defeat to Portugal on Matchday 1 ended Hungary’s nine-match unbeaten in competitive games (W6 D3). They have also won only two of their ten games at UEFA Euro finals (D3 L5)
  • Germany have failed to keep a clean sheet in any of their last five matches in all competitions. Their most recent shutout came in the 1-0 win over Romania in the 2022 FIFA World Cup qualifiers in March.

Players in Focus

Robin Gosens (Germany)

Robin Gosens turned into an overnight sensation for well-wishers of German football, following his performance against Portugal. The Atalanta wing-back picked up two assists while scoring a goal in the 4-2 victory, helping Die Mannschaft move in pole position to secure qualification to the knockout rounds. He is expected to play a vital role against Hungary as well, as Germany hope to create a winning momentum.

From a tactical perspective, the Hungarian defence is usually rock-solid, with the three centre-backs complementing each other quite well. However, they are a bit weak on the right-hand side where Gosens can easily exploit Loic Nego, who is more of an attack-minded player and had a host of problems dealing with the threat of Kylian Mbappe against France.

Willi Orban (Hungary)

For Hungary, all eyes will be on Willi Orban as he looks to return to Germany after a couple of good games in Budapest. One of the most prominent defenders at RB Leipzig, Orban was born in Kaiserslautern and was brought up in Germany, playing there throughout his professional career. He is, therefore, quite familiar with the territory.

On Wednesday, the onus will be on Orban to spearhead the Hungarian defence. His experience, leadership and familiarity with some of the German attackers will be essential in helping Marco Rossi’s men remain defensively resilient in this crucial group stage encounter at the Allianz Arena.

Prediction

Germany 1-0 Hungary

Unlike Portugal, Hungary won’t have the compulsion to attack the opposition at every opportunity. Marco Rossi is also a much more flexible coach than Fernando Santos, and his five at the back setup could make it difficult for the opposition to create too many goalscoring opportunities on Wednesday.

As such, we are expecting a low-scoring affair at the Allianz Arena, especially with Thomas Muller set to be ruled out. Die Mannschaft do slightly have the advantage due to the home support and might nick this game through the barest of margins.

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