Preview: Germany vs. England

Sports Mole previews the international friendly between Germany and England in Dortmund.

Germany play host to England in a friendly on Wednesday evening looking to gain revenge on the Three Lions who prevailed in an encounter in Berlin last March.

Gareth Southgate will be taking charge of his fifth match since replacing Sam Allardyce, but this will represent his first fixture since being given a four-year contract by the Football Association


Germany

Head coach Joachim Low of Germany celebrates his team's second goal during the 2014 FIFA World Cup Brazil Group G match between Germany and Ghana at Castelao on June 21, 2014© Getty Images

During the summer, Germany boss Joachim Low would have had every expectation of winning the European Championship to add to their World Cup crown, but their 2-0 defeat at the hands of hosts France left the 57-year-old needing to reassess his approach going forward.

However, it appears that their setback in Marseille has had no lasting effect on the team with five wins and six successive clean sheets being recorded during their last half-a-dozen contests.

The opposition has not always been of the highest quality with only half of the teams having competed at Euro 2016, but going 540 minutes without conceding a goal on the international stage is an excellent achievement and it is one which Low will want to maintain against England.

In their last outing away in Italy, Low did not name his strongest starting lineup but he will have only been encouraged by shutting out Gli Azzurri in front of their own supporters in Milan and he will not think twice about granting more inexperienced players time on the pitch on Wednesday.

His squad is stacked with players who will pose a threat in the final third, but Timo Werner could get his opportunity to make an impression on his first call-up to the team having netted 14 goals in Germany's top flight for RB Leipzig this season.

Hoffenheim's Niklas Sule could also get more game time in defence, while Arsenal supporters will take an interest in how Shkodran Mustafi and Mesut Ozil perform given their recent contributions in a Gunners shirt.

At some point during the game, Lukas Podolski - who has scored 48 goals in 129 outings for his country - will take centre stage as he features in his final international game before retiring from the international stage.

Recent form (all competitions): WWWWWD


England

Interim England manager Gareth Southgate on the touchline during his side's World Cup qualifier against Scotland at Wembley on November 11, 2016© SilverHub

It has been over three months since Southgate was given the opportunity to manage England on a full-time basis, but the former Under-21 coach will not have stopped working ahead of the trip to the Westfalenstadion.

Southgate would have been hugely disappointed to see his side squander a two-goal lead against Spain in such circumstances in their most recent match, but only positives could be taken from his team's performance at Wembley Stadium and he will hope that it is a sign of things to come.

The former Middlesbrough boss is without the likes of Jordan Henderson, Wayne Rooney and Daniel Sturridge for the two internationals over the coming week, while he has made what is considered to be a bold decision in excluding Arsenal's Theo Walcott, but his selection suggests that he will not feel obliged to include all of the biggest names in his group.

Southgate is familiar with the likes of Michael Keane, James Ward-Prowse and Nathan Redmond and they are all on the brink of a first appearance for the senior side, while all eyes will be on Marcus Rashford and Jermain Defoe to see if they can make a significant contribution in the final third as they look to remain in the squad past this game.

Like Germany, England also head into this game without suffering a defeat since their elimination from Euro 2016 but aside from their draw with Spain, the Three Lions had been heavy favourites in each of their previous four matches.

Southgate may select a side with Sunday's World Cup qualifier with Lithuania in mind, but whoever starts in Germany will recognise that they have been provided with the platform to get into their new manager's good books and they will treat the match as a competitive encounter rather than playing the game at a leisurely stroll, which can sometimes occur in friendlies.

Recent form (all competitions): LWWDWD


Team News

England forward Marcus Rashford speaks with interim manager Gareth Southgate during his side's international friendly with Spain at Wembley on November 15, 2016© SilverHub

Southgate's biggest decision ahead of Wednesday night involves his three strikers, with Jamie Vardy, Rashford and Defoe all vying for the number-nine role in the starting lineup.

The back five is expected to name itself, but the central-midfield positions are not so clear cut with a replacement required for the injured Henderson.

Given their recent schedule, Southgate may decide against starting any Manchester United players with Jose Mourinho's team playing three fixtures last week.

Germany have been handed a blow with goalkeeper Manuel Neuer being ruled out of the games with England and Azerbaijan through injury.

Ozil must also be considered a doubt after failing to feature for Arsenal at the weekend after picking up an injury in training.

Germany possible starting lineup:
Ter Stegen, Mustafi, Hummels, Howedes, Hector, Khedira, Kroos, Schurrle, Muller, Brandt, Gomez

England possible starting lineup:
Hart, Clyne, Smalling, Cahill, Bertrand, Dier, Alli, Lallana, Barkley, Sterling, Vardy


Head To Head

Wednesday's fixture will represent the 35th time in which these two teams have faced each other in an international match, with England boasting 16 victories in comparison to 14 wins for Germany.

Since the turn of the millennium, there have been eight meetings with both nations recording four triumphs apiece, while you have to go all the way back until 1996 for the last stalemate, which occurred at the European Championship, although Germany did go on to famously prevail on penalties.

Germany thrashed England on neutral territory at the 2010 World Cup but on the last six occasions where a match has been contested in either country, the away team has come out on top.

On England's last visit to Germany, they overturned a two-goal deficit to run out 3-2 winners in a remarkable game in Berlin.


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We say: Germany 2-1 England

England will take plenty of confidence from the way they performed against Spain last time out, and it has been less than a year since they stunned their rivals on their own patch. However, this is an England team in transition and lacking key men so we are backing Germany to run out narrow winners.


Who will win Wednesday's friendly between Germany and England?

Germany
Draw
England
Germany
60.9%
Draw
12.6%
England
26.4%
England's Jermain Defoe eyes the ball during the World Cup 2014 qualifying football match between San Marino and England at Serravalle Stadium in San Marino on March 22, 2013
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