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

Sports Mole previews Saturday's Euro 2020 Group C qualifier between Belarus and Germany, including team news and predicted lineups.

Germany will be looking to make it back-to-back wins in Group C when they travel to Belarus for their second Euro 2020 qualification match on Saturday night.

Joachim Low's side recorded a 3-2 win over the Netherlands in their first match in the section, but Belarus have lost their two fixtures against the Netherlands and Northern Ireland to sit bottom of the pile on zero points.


Belarus defender Aleksandr Martynovich in action against Northern Ireland in their Euro 2020 qualifier in March 2019© Reuters

Saturday's clash will be just the second time that Belarus have faced Germany in an international football match; their first and only meeting took place in May 2008, with the pair playing out a 2-2 draw in a friendly.

There is no getting away from the fact that Belarus are the overwhelming underdogs entering this match and they are staring at a third straight defeat in the section. A 4-0 loss at the Netherlands on March 21 was followed by a 2-1 home reverse to Northern Ireland three days later.

White Wings have never qualified for the finals of a World Cup or European Championships, and it is incredibly unlikely that they will be able to do that through Group C. That said, Igor Kriushenko's side finished top of their UEFA Nations League group, meaning that they will enter the playoffs next March with a view to potentially advancing to the finals of Euro 2020.

Belarus will be without Alexander Hleb for this contest, however, which leaves the squad short of top-level experience. The 38-year-old, formerly of Arsenal and Barcelona, played in the defeat against Northern Ireland last time out but will not be available for the home team on Saturday night.

The fact that Kriushenko has named four strikers in his squad but they have just five international goals between them will be a concern. The leading scorer is actually midfielder Stanislav Dragun with 10, while Syarhey Kislyak has also chipped in with nine from midfield.

Belarus have never won more than four matches during qualification for a European Championship and it is difficult to imagine that they will be able to cause waves in this group. It is a tough section with Netherlands and Germany both present, while Northern Ireland are currently top with two wins from two.

Kriushenko's side will follow Saturday's clash with Germany with a home game against Northern Ireland on June 11, before returning to action in September against Estonia. It is difficult to imagine a shock occurring against Low's team, but their next two matches after this one should be tight affairs.

As mentioned, though, Belarus did hold Germany to a 2-2 draw in their only meeting, coming from two behind to secure a share of the spoils. The home team have everything to gain and nothing to lose.

Recent form: LL
Recent form (all competitions): WDWWLL


Germany's Leroy Sane celebrates his goal against Netherlands in their Euro 2020 qualifier on March 24, 2019© Reuters

Germany opened their qualification campaign with a brilliant 3-2 win away to the Netherlands. Low's side led by two goals before being pegged back in the second period. A 90-minute strike from Nico Schulz secured all three points for Die Mannschaft, though, and they will be looking for another victory on Saturday night.

As mentioned, Northern Ireland currently sit top of the section on six points, with Netherlands just ahead of third-placed Germany on goal difference. There is a long way to go, though, and Low's side will fancy their chances of winning their next two against Belarus and Estonia.

Germany have actually qualified for every European Championship since 1968. They are three-time winners of the competition but have not triumphed since Euro 1996 in England. After group-stage exits in 2000 and 2004, the Germans lost to Spain in the final of Euro 2008.

They have reached the semi-finals in each of the last two tournaments, meanwhile, losing to Italy in Euro 2012 and France in Euro 2016. Die Mannschaft have actually already qualified for Euro 2024 as the hosts and should have more than enough to book their spot in the finals of the 2020 competition.

DFB-Elf were incredibly knocked out of the 2018 World Cup in the group stages, however, having picked up just one win from their three fixtures. It was one of the shocks of the tournament after two third-placed finishes in 2006 and 2010 before winning the 2014 competition in Brazil.

The national team are very much entering a new era with a number of young players now taking on important roles. Much like Spain, Germany lack world-class options at centre-forward and Timo Werner is the only out-and-out striker in the squad for their next two internationals.

It is still a squad packed full of talent, though, and one that will be desperate to impress at Euro 2020 after disappointing in Russia. France are rightly considered to be the favourites to triumph next summer but Germany simply cannot be written off.

The visitors should have more than enough to triumph on Saturday night, even without the presence of head coach Low on the touchline, with the 59-year-old recently suffering a gym-related injury. As a result, assistant manager Marcus Sorg will take on the role of interim head coach for the team's next two internationals.

Recent form: W
Recent form (all competitions): LLWDDW

Team News

Nico Schulz celebrates his winner for Germany on March 24, 2019© Reuters

As mentioned above, Hleb is unavailable for Belarus, meaning that Yuri Kovalev could come into the XI.

Denis Laptev should keep his spot in the final third of the field, although Maksim Skavysh is another attacking option for the home team. A 4-2-3-1 formation should also see Dragun and Ivan Maevski continue in the middle of the park.

As for Germany, the visitors are again expected to line up in a 3-4-3 formation. Chelsea's Antonio Rudiger was one of the three centre-backs against the Netherlands, but he is out with a knee problem.

As a result, Jonathan Tah could come into the XI, with Thilo Kehrer and Schulz operating in the wing-back positions either side of Joshua Kimmich and Ilkay Gundogan.

Serge Gnabry and Leroy Sane were both on the scoresheet against the Netherlands and should start, while Marco Reus could be handed the false nine position.

Belarus possible starting lineup:
Hutar; Shitov, Martynovich, Polyakov, Volodko; Dragun, Maevski; Nekhaychik, Kovalev, Stasevich; Laptev

Germany possible starting lineup:
Neuer; Ginter, Sule, Tah; Kehrer, Kimmich, Gundogan, Schulz; Sane, Reus, Gnabry

Head To Head

The only other meeting between the two teams came in an international friendly back in May 2008. Germany took a two-goal lead on the night but the contest ultimately ended 2-2.

Sports Mole Logo

We say: Belarus 0-3 Germany

Germany should have more than enough to collect all three points in comfortable fashion. Belarus are certainly capable of causing problems but we expect the visitors to make it back-to-back Group C wins.

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Sunday's key events

· The men's golf reaches its conclusion, with plenty of players still in medal contention. Home favourite Hideki Matsuyama is one shot off Xander Schauffele's lead, while Great Britain's Paul Casey is another shot further back and Tommy Fleetwood is also in the mix (11.30pm-8am)

· Great Britain have already made history in the BMX events in Tokyo, something Charlotte Worthington and Declan Brooks will be looking to add to in the women's (2.10am) and men's (3.10am) freestyle finals

· The final day of swimming action begins with the men's 50m freestyle final. Ben Proud could add to a medal-laden Games in the pool for Team GB so far, although he is up against USA's Caeleb Dressel, who is going for his fourth gold in Tokyo (2.30am)
· From sprint to endurance, Great Britain's second medal hope of the day comes through Daniel Jervis in the men's 1500m freestyle final (2.44am)
· Team GB will again be among the heavy favourites for gold in the last swimming event of the Games - the men's 4x100m medley relay final - having won the mixed event in a world record time on Saturday (3.36am)

· Already guaranteed at least a bronze, Pat McCormack takes part in the men's welterweight semi-final against Ireland's Aidan Walsh with a spot in the gold medal final at stake (4.03am)
· Ben Whittaker is also in the semi-finals of the men's light heavyweight and will be looking to continue Team GB's success in the ring (4.51am)

· There will be a surprise on the top of the men's tennis podium after Novak Djokovic missed out on a medal altogether. Alexander Zverev takes on Karen Khachanov in the second match on Centre Court at the Ariake Tennis Park (7am-2pm)

· Alison Young will be going for gold in the women's laser radial medal race (7.33am)

· Team GB's Max Whitlock will look to defend his 2016 Olympic title in the men's pommel horse final (10.41am)

· The men's high jump final includes GB's Tom Gale, although his chances of a medal look bleak (11.10am)
· So often the blue-riband event of the Olympics, the men's 100m final takes place as the world's fastest bid to be crowned Usain Bolt's successor. Three Brits have made it into the semi-finals (11.15am-11.32am), and the final looks wide open after an underwhelming display by favourite Trayvon Bromell on Saturday (1.50pm)

· Great Britain face India in the men's quarter-final (1pm)

> Today's schedule in full
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Scottish Premiership
Taca da Liga
Pre-Season Friendlies
Belgian Pro League
Swiss Super League
Russian Premier League
Ukrainian Premier League
Swedish Allsvenskan
Danish Superliga
Belarusian Premier League
Major League Soccer
Copa Diego Maradona
Uruguayan Primera Division
Liga MX

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