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Nov 10, 2017 at 8pm UK at ​Wembley
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Preview: England vs. Germany

Sports Mole provides predicted starting XIs, team news and a full match preview for England's international friendly with Germany at Wembley.

England's build-up to the 2018 World Cup in Russia begins with two glamour friendlies at Wembley this month, the first of which comes against reigning world champions Germany on Friday night.

With just seven months remaining until next summer's tournament both teams will be looking to step up their preparations in their penultimate games of the calendar year.


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 is fair to say that England have not set the world alight under Gareth Southgate so far, and despite qualifying for next summer's World Cup with a game to spare, expectations remain muted amongst supporters at the moment.

The statistics look good enough; England will go into Friday's match on a four-game winning streak and could win five on the bounce for the first time since 2015, while no team conceded fewer goals than them throughout qualifying.

However, the most recent international break brought up more questions than answers for the Three Lions as they struggled to consecutive 1-0 wins over Slovenia and Lithuania - enough to seal qualification but not enough to capture the nation's imagination.

There is an argument that England perform best when they are given more space, which naturally happens against higher quality opposition, but while the displays may have been better in such games, the results have not been.

The only top-tier opposition England have faced under Southgate are Spain, Germany and France, with two of those matches ending in defeat and the other seeing the Three Lions throw away a two-goal lead in the dying stages at Wembley.

There is undoubtedly a lot of work to be done before England can consider themselves amongst the leading international teams again, and even if they do pick up positive results against Germany and then Brazil four days later, it may only be a case of papering over the cracks.

Fans will not need reminding that the famous 3-2 win over Germany in Berlin in March 2016 was followed just a few months later by a Euro 2016 exit at the hands of Iceland, and we will once again likely have to wait until the tournament itself before getting a good idea of how England will perform.

The bare minimum will be to reach the knockout stages - something they did not manage in Brazil 2014 - at which point they will start to come up against the sort of opposition that await them during this international break.

Southgate's hopes of blooding his players against some of the very best have been somewhat thwarted by a spate of withdrawals, though, and the fact that England have five uncapped players in their ranks so close to the World Cup will be a concern.

The Three Lions are unbeaten in their last nine matches at Wembley, though, and have lost just one of their last 19 stretching back to consecutive defeats at the hands of Chile and Germany in 2013.

Recent form: DLWWWW


Head coach Joachim Loew of Germany gestures during the 2014 FIFA World Cup Brazil Quarter Final match between France and Germany at Maracana on July 4, 2014© Getty Images

Like England, Germany have arranged two high-profile friendlies for this international break, with France travelling to Koln four days after this match for a repeat of last summer's Euro 2016 semi-final.

That is where the similarities between the two sides end, though. Germany will once again be amongst the favourites to lift the World Cup next summer, where they will be looking to become the first team to retain the trophy since the Garrincha-inspired Brazil of 1962.

Die Mannschaft will arrive at Wembley in fine form having won their last seven matches across all competitions, and another victory at the home of their rivals would make it eight in a row for the first time since 1991.

Indeed, Germany have not lost a game since their semi-final exit at the hands of France last summer, winning 16 of their subsequent 19 outings including a perfect qualifying record of 10 wins from 10.

Germany were the only team to reach Russia without dropping a single point along the way, while they also boasted the best attacking record in the European section of qualifying with 43 goals from their 10 matches - conceding just four times along the way.

It is the strength in depth of Germany which is perhaps their most impressive attribute at the moment, though, with the long-serving Joachim Low leading his side to the Confederations Cup title during the summer despite naming a largely second-string squad for the tournament.

The likes of Manuel Neuer, Jerome Boateng, Thomas Muller and Mario Gomez are amongst the players to be missing from the latest squad, yet they will still be able to field a starting XI comprising only of players from Champions League clubs, with plenty left waiting in the wings too.

Germany have not lost an away game since November 2015 at the Stade de France, although there may be a glimmer of hope for England in that Die Mannschaft have failed to keep a clean sheet on the road in four attempts so far this calendar year.

Even so, the world's top-ranked team have a fine record on English soil and will be favourites for many people ahead of Friday's showdown.

Recent form: WWWWWW

Team News

Harry Kane in action during an England training session on March 22, 2016© Getty Images

England have been hit by a string of withdrawals since Southgate named his squad last week, with Tottenham Hotspur trio Dele Alli, Harry Kane and Harry Winks all pulling out on Monday.

Jordan Henderson, Raheem Sterling and Fabian Delph followed suit a day later to leave England significantly depleted and forcing Southgate to hand a maiden senior international call-up to Burnley midfielder Jack Cork.

Cork will not be alone in that sense, though, with Tammy Abraham, Joe Gomez and Ruben Loftus-Cheek also being included in the England set-up for the first time, while Jordan Pickford makes it five uncapped players in the squad.

Michael Keane and Jake Livermore were also called up to cover for the withdrawals, while Gary Cahill has been passed fit by Chelsea and joined up with the squad on Tuesday.

Germany are missing some key players themselves, but Mario Gotze and Ilkay Gundogan return to the fold having missed much of the year through injury.

Uncapped defender Marcel Halstenberg was a surprise call-up by Low, who could hand another start to Hoffenheim's Sandro Wagner, with the striker having scored five goals in as many international appearances since making his debut in June.

England possible starting lineup:
Butland; Jones, Stones, Cahill; Walker, Dier, Livermore, Young; Lingard, Vardy, Rashford

Germany possible starting lineup:
Ter Stegen; Kimmich, Boateng, Hummels, Plattenhardt; Khedira, Kroos; Sane, Ozil, Draxler; Wagner

Head To Head

Incredibly, England have not beaten Germany on home soil since a March 1975 friendly which saw Colin Bell and Malcolm MacDonald get on the scoresheet in a 2-0 win at the old Wembley Stadium - a rare highlight in the Don Revie era for England.

Since then Germany have won all six of their visits to England, the most recent of which came four years ago when Per Mertesacker scored the only goal of the game at Wembley.

Germany were also 1-0 winners when the two sides met in March of this year, with Lukas Podolski marking his 130th and final cap with a stunning winner in Dortmund - Southgate's first match as permanent England boss.

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We say: England 1-2 Germany

England have not looked particularly impressive under Southgate and the visit of Germany, when coupled with some key players pulling out of the squad, could be a step too far for them at this stage. England rarely suffer defeats at Wembley, but they will be underdogs on Friday.

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

Raheem Sterling makes a friend during an England training session on August 29, 2017
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