Germany and England resume their age-old rivalry as the footballing giants look to secure their first victory in the UEFA Nations League.

The first round of fixtures of the 2022/23 UEFA Nations League did not favour Germany or England as both teams dropped points in their opening Group A3 matches.

Hansi Flick’s side could only manage to draw against Italy in the opening match, with Joshua Kimmich’s equaliser earning them a point. Germany were the better team in that encounter and kept the Italians on the backfoot, only for Lorenzo Pellegrini to find the opener against the run of play. But Die Mannschaft managed to salvage a point in the end after going behind.

The Germans will certainly not be relaxed after that result, as they know more dropped points will hurt their standing in the group. Moreover, Die Mannschaft have failed to progress in their last two Nations League campaigns, something they will wish to change. And further bad results may not bode well for their World Cup preparations.

England did not start their Nations League campaign in an ideal way. A shock defeat at the hands of Hungary in their opening game has pinned them to the bottom of the group. Harry Kane & co. failed to find a way past their opponents, as they conceded a needless yet contentious penalty to drop all three points, as Dominik Szoboszlai slotted his spot-kick past Jordan Pickford.

England’s inability to find an equaliser summed up their lacklustre night. It was the first time in 14 games they had failed to score, as Marco Rossi’s men did the improbable. The Three Lions are now bottom of the group, and another bad result would increase the danger of their demotion to League B. However, their recent results against Germany call for optimism, and Gareth Southgate will be confident of getting a result at the Allianz Arena.

Team News & Tactics

Germany

Hansi Flick is likely to lean towards consistency in picking his side and making only essential changes to replace players who failed to make an impression in the previous encounter. Thankfully for Germany, there were no fresh injury concerns after the Italy game.

Marco Reus, who sat out the last game, remains a big doubt to feature in any capacity against England. The Borussia Dortmund captain could have been an option from the bench, although it was highly unlikely Flick would have picked him from the start.

Flick will likely retain the most players in defence, despite having some notable options to provide competition. However, Niklas Sule and Antonio Rudiger will stay in the central defence. But, David Raum could come in at left-back, allowing the manager to play Thilo Kehrer on the opposite flank.

There could be a change in central midfield as Ilkay Gundogan could come in place of Leon Goretzka. Kai Havertz could be preferred to Timo Werner up front, while Jamal Misiala should replace Leroy Sane on the left. Karim Adeyemi, who was completely absent against Italy, might make the bench.

Probable Lineup (4-2-3-1): Neuer; Kehrer, Sule, Rudiger, raum; Kimmich, Gundogan; Gnabry, Muller, Musiala; Havertz

England

Gareth Southgate will likely be without Phil Foden as the attacker is yet to recover from a Covid problem. James Justin is most likely out of the encounter altogether, while Fikayo Tomori and Marc Guehi remain fitness doubts. However, Raheem Sterling could be deemed fit to return and may come into the front three.

Southgate will likely retain a back three and keep a tight ship, focusing on defensive work. However, he could make some essential changes to his side that fell short of opening Hungary up last week.

The same back three of Kyle Walker, Conor Coady, and Harry Maguire could feature, with Jordan  Pickford firmly settled as Southgate’s No. 1 ahead of Aaron Ramsdale. However, there could be changes in the wing-back roles as Reece James and Bukayo Saka could replace Trent-Alexander Arnold and James Justin, respectively.

Sterling could come in place of Jarrod Bowen on the right side of the front three. Harry Kane will captain the side and lead the line. Jack Grealish could replace Mason Mount on the left side of the attack.

Probable Lineup (3-4-3): Pickford; Walker, Coady, Maguire; James, Phillips, Rice, Saka; Sterling, Kane, Grealish

Key Stats

  • Germany have failed to win their last two games.
  • Germany are unbeaten on the international stage since losing to England at Euro 2020.
  • Germany have won just two games in their 11 Nations League matches.
  • England failed to score for the first time in 14 games in their loss against Hungary.
  • England’s last visit to Germany yielded a win back in 2016.

Player To Watch

Harry Kane

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The England skipper was frustrated after his side failed to get past a staunch Hungary defence and will be more than keen to get the Nations League campaign up and running for his side. It’s not a usual occurrence that England fail to score, but it happened, and the Spurs man will be keen to rectify that error.

Kane has huge responsibilities on his shoulders, as nothing short of a win would do for England. And the striker needs to find his goalscoring boots and score at the Allianz Arena, despite the obvious quality of the opposition.

Prediction

Germany 2-2 England

In terms of current form, the prediction meter may slightly lean towards Germany, although England have the firepower to hurt any team. However, Hansi Flick’s men did look sharp, particularly Serge Gnabry and Joshua Kimmich, and will make necessary changes to add more strength to their attack.

England will be on their toes as they are under more pressure than their opponents. Stars like Harry Kane and Raheem Sterling will be fired up to get their Nations League campaign rolling. Hence The Hard Tackle predicts this one to end in a high-scoring draw.

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