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Preview: France vs. Germany - prediction, team news, lineups

Sports Mole looks ahead to Tuesday's UEFA Nations League match between world champions France and Germany, including team news, predictions and a full match preview.

The past two world champions will face off once again on Tuesday evening when France host Germany in an UEFA Nations League clash at the Stade de France.

The 2018 World Cup winners sit atop Group A1 and could take a step closer to reaching the Finals with victory over the team they dethroned, who must win to keep their own hopes alive.


France manager Didier Deschamps on March 19, 2018© Reuters

The memories of this summer's triumph in Russia will live on for generations to come, but manager Didier Deschamps knows as well as anyone that if this particular team are to be remembered for as long as that, they must back up their World Cup success.

Deschamps was part of the French side which joined an exclusive club by holding the World Cup and European Championship at the same time, putting them among the best international teams the continent has produced.

The current crop have all the attributes to emulate and perhaps even surpass the class of 1998 and 2000, and while Nations League success will not be as highly regarded, it does offer them the chance to get their hands on more silverware.

It is an opportunity France have given themselves a good chance of taking, too. Les Bleus sit one point clear at the top of League A Group One, and victory on Tuesday would extend that gap to four ahead of their closest rivals Netherlands.

Deschamps's side would then only need a point against Netherlands next month to seal their place in the Finals tournament, having made an unbeaten start to their Nations League campaign with four points from two games last month.

Les Bleus began with a goalless draw against Germany in Munich - their first match since hoisting the World Cup trophy aloft in July - and they backed that up with a 2-1 victory over Netherlands in Paris three days later to seize control of Group A1.

The world champions were less convincing when they hosted Iceland in Guingamp last week, though, as they needed an own goal and a penalty in the final four minutes to come from behind and rescue a 2-2 draw, with Kylian Mbappe getting the 90th-minute equaliser from the spot.

Close shave or not, France are now unbeaten in their last 14 matches including 10 wins, and you have to go back to June 2017 for their last competitive defeat - a run of 11 games which includes nine wins.

Not since the Euro 2016 final have they been beaten in a competitive match on home soil either, although the scare they received against Iceland went some way to damaging the air of invincibility that was beginning to surround Deschamps's side.

Recent Nations League form: DW
Recent form (all competitions): WWWDWD


Germany manager Joachim Low on March 27, 2018© Reuters

Never in his more-than 12 years at the helm of the German national team has manager Joachim Low come under as much scrutiny as he is now.

Die Mannschaft were on top of the world four years ago, demolishing hosts Brazil in an unforgettable semi-final en route to lifting the World Cup trophy with a team which - much like the France of today - appeared likely to only get better.

Low had built enough credit up for him to survive this summer's World Cup disappointment, when Germany were eliminated at the first hurdle for only the second time in their history and the first since 1938, despite being drawn in a relatively kind group alongside Mexico, Sweden and South Korea.

However, that remaining credit is quickly running out and a similar result on Tuesday to the one which they suffered at the hands of the Netherlands on Saturday night would pile enormous pressure on the long-serving boss.

Germany were poor as they slumped to a 3-0 defeat in Amsterdam, and while two late goals for the Netherlands made the scoreline look more one-sided than it otherwise might have done, the visitors could have no complaints at coming away with nothing.

Germany's standing in the Nations League hierarchy will be of secondary concern to the direction in which the team is heading right now, but they must win at the home of the world champions to stand any chance of reaching the Finals of the competition.

The major concern heading into Tuesday's match is that they were swept aside by a Netherlands side possessing only a fraction of the attacking talent which France boast, so a vast improvement will be required in Paris.

It is, of course, dangerous to ever count Germany out, but they have failed to win or score in three of their last four games and have now only won three of their last 12 outings across all competitions.

Not since their group-stage exit from Euro 2004 have they lost two matches within one international break, but they have already lost back-to-back matches this year and will be favourites to suffer that fate again on Tuesday.

Recent Nations League form: DL
Recent form (all competitions): LWLDWL

Team News

Kylian Mbappe celebrates scoring France's first goal against Netherlands with Paul Pogba and Antoine Griezmann on September 9, 2018© Reuters

France are without the likes of Nabil Fekir, Samuel Umtiti and Benjamin Mendy through injury, but they still have plenty of quality at their disposal and were able to rest some key players against Iceland.

Mbappe will come back into the starting lineup, while fellow World Cup heroes Lucas Hernandez and N'Golo Kante will also return having been left on the bench last week.

Deschamps must choose between Ousmane Dembele, Thomas Lemar or Dimitri Payet to join Antoine Griezmann and Mbappe in that trio just behind the striker, who is again likely to be Olivier Giroud.

Germany, meanwhile, are expected to make changes following their convincing defeat by the Netherlands, and one of those will be enforced with Jerome Boateng ruled out through injury.

Niklas Sule is the most likely candidate to replace him at the heart of the defence, while Joshua Kimmich could also drop into a deeper role to make room for Sebastian Rudy in midfield.

Low hinted that he was unhappy with the performance of Leroy Sane during his cameo appearance against Netherlands, and the Manchester City winger could again be forced to watch on from the bench as a result.

France possible starting lineup:
Lloris; Pavard, Varane, Kimpembe, Hernandez; Kante, Pogba; Mbappe, Griezmann, Dembele; Giroud

Germany possible starting lineup:
Neuer; Kimmich, Sule, Hummels, Hector; Can, Rudy, Kroos; Brandt, Werner, Draxler

Head To Head

These two nations have met on 30 previous occasions, with France edging the head to head record 13-10.

Les Bleus are unbeaten in their last four meetings with Germany stretching back to the 2014 World Cup, including a 2-0 victory in the semi-finals of Euro 2016.

The most recent clash came just last month when the two sides played out a goalless draw in Munich.

Sports Mole Logo

We say: France 2-1 Germany

Germany have much more quality than their form suggests and are capable of winning this game, but France are a team in good form and with home advantage also behind them they appear to be the most likely to come away with all three points from Paris.

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France manager Didier Deschamps on March 19, 2018
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