Germany will kick-start their international window at the Volksparkstadion when they take on Romania on Friday.

After a few weeks of exciting action in club football, we head into the international break once again this week, resuming the qualifiers for next year’s FIFA World Cup.

One of the pre-tournament favourites already, Germany, are standing pretty in Group J, claiming first place with 15 points on the board. They are well ahead of second-placed Armenia and are in pole position to top the group, thus securing automatic qualification for the showpiece event.

However, with just six games played, there might still just be enough drama left to keep us occupied, as the 2014 world champions take on Romania at Volksparkstadion on Saturday. This is set to be the fourth game in-charge of the German national team for new coach Hansi Flick, who has secured three back-to-back wins since replacing Joachim Low this summer.

During this period, Die Mannschaft have scored 12 goals without conceding any in return. Romania, though, might be their toughest challenge yet, as the visitors are currently third in the Group J table and are closing in on Armenia, who received a 6-0 drubbing by Flick’s men last month.

Coached by Mirel Radoi, Romania have appeared quite sturdy defensively, conceding just six goals in six matches. Their defensive resilience could be vitally tested against a German side that will be determined to further strengthen their position on top. And here, at The Hard Tackle, we will take a look at these two sides ahead of their WC Qualifying game this Friday.

Team News & Tactics

Germany

Germany are set to face North Macedonia in the next game, which means coach Hansi Flick will have to be wise with his team selection. For this game, he may go with his tried and tested Bayern Munich contingent, with the offensive trifecta of Thomas Muller, Serge Gnabry and Leroy Sane comprising the creative department.

They will hope to provide the service upfront for Timo Werner, who is coming on the back of a goal against Southampton. Germany, though, also have the option of deploying the highly talented Karim Adeyemi while Marco Reus and Jamal Musiala are alternatives in the creative unit.

In midfield, Joshua Kimmich and Leon Goretzka remain guaranteed starters. Their ability to control the game coupled with the tendency to drive forward in the final third could be useful for Germany as they look to break down the Romanian defence this Friday.

Things do get a lot more interesting in the defensive department. Flick has had a certain degree of success by deploying Jonas Hofmann at right-back last month. He is expected to do the same this time around, with the Borussia Monchengladbach man set to be entrusted with the job of providing offensive support.

To balance things out, Flick is likely to deploy the more defence-minded Thilo Kehrer at left-back. The Paris Saint-Germain star is set to join Niklas Sule and Antonio Rudiger in the central defensive role, though the exciting Nico Schlotterbeck is also an option having starred for SC Freiburg in these early parts of the Bundesliga campaign.

Probable Lineup (4-2-3-1): Neuer; Hofmann, Sule, Rudiger, Kehrer; Kimmich, Goretzka; Gnabry, Muller, Sane; Werner

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Romania

Romania have an exciting group of talent who can pose a significant danger for a German team that is still trying to get to grips under new coach Hansi Flick.

The offensive leadership of Claudiu Keseru coupled with the presence of the young and dynamic Ianis Hagi makes them quite dangerous on the counter, with former Bundesliga player Alexandru Maxim and Alexandru Cicaldu offering additional support in the creative department.

In addition to causing problems in the Germany backline, these four players are set to play a vital role in the press, especially when it comes to putting pressure on the opposition centre-backs.

The visitors have a strong bunch in midfield as well. Rezvan Marin is a hard-working central midfielder who will look to make life difficult for the likes of Leon Goretzka and Joshua Kimmich, using the additional support of Nicolae Stanciu.

Defensively, Romania is set to go with a back four once again, with Vlad Chiriches marshalling the likes of Cristian Manea, Ionut Nedelcearu and Alin Tosca, providing cover for goalkeeper Florin Nita.

Probable Lineup (4-2-3-1): Nita; Manea, Chiriches, Nedelcearu, Tosca; Marin, Stanciu; Hagi, Cicaldau, Maxim; Keseru

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Key Stats

  • In Florian Wirtz, Jamal Musiala, Karim Adeyemi and Nico Schlotterbeck, Flick has called up four players still eligible for Germany’s U21s.
  • Florian Wirtz has contributed six goals and five assists for Bayern Leverkusen this season at a rate of one every 47 minutes he has played.
  • Germany have a perfect record of three games played, three won, 12 goals scored, and none conceded since Hansi Flick succeeded Löw as coach.
  • Bayern midfielder Leon Goretzka has contributed four assists in Flick’s reign, matching Chelsea forward Timo Werner’s goal involvement (two goals, two assists).
  • Germany lead Romania in their all-time head-to-heads with nine wins to two, with three draws. Die Mannschaft have scored 39 goals in their fixtures, conceding 18.

Player to Watch

Leroy Sane

Leroy Sane has enjoyed a fine turnaround in fortunes. (Photo by Alexander Hassenstein/Getty Images)

Leroy Sane has enjoyed a fine turnaround in fortunes. (Photo by Alexander Hassenstein/Getty Images)

From being on the verge of almost becoming an outcast at Bayern Munich, Leroy Sane has enjoyed a brilliant turnaround in his career, thanks to Julian Nagelsmann. The 34-year-old tactician has managed to restore the former Manchester City winger back to his old self by playing him on the left, where the player has expertly used the support of Alphonso Davies.

Sane was one of Germany’s top players last month as well. And heading into this clash with Romania, his pace and trickery out wide could be once again crucial as Die Mannschaft look to get the better of the opposition defence that is likely to remain deep and allow very little freedom in the final third. It will be interesting to see how Sane responds to this challenge on Friday.

Prediction

Germany 3-0 Romania

After a rocky start against Liechtenstein, Germany have found their attacking rhythm under the leadership of new coach Hansi Flick. The former Bayern Munich trainer has managed to instil confidence into this highly talented setup, not only in attack but in defence as well, with Die Mannschaft currently on a run of three back to back clean sheets.

The sheer quality in their ranks coupled with the home support of Volksparkstadion in Hamburg makes them favourite to seal three points in this game, against a Romania side that may crumble under pressure.

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