MX23RW : Wednesday, August 4 19:14:41| >> :120:28845:28845:
Mar 25, 2021 at 7.45pm UK at Schauinsland-Reisen-Arena
GermanyGermany
3-0
IcelandIceland
Goretzka (3'), Havertz (7'), Gundogan (56')
Havertz (48')
FT(HT: 2-0)

Arnason (56'), Gudmundsson (65')

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

Sports Mole previews Thursday's World Cup Qualifying clash between Germany and Iceland, including predictions, team news and possible lineups.

Joachim Low begins his final World Cup Qualification campaign with Germany on Thursday when the four-time champions welcome Iceland to the MSV-Arena in Group J.

Both teams failed to progress past the group stage of the 2018 World Cup, and Die Mannschaft in particular will be desperate to improve on that finish under new leadership.


Match preview

Germany boss Joachim Low pictured on November 15, 2019© Reuters

This summer's European Championships will mark Joachim Low's final tournament of his 15-year spell in charge of Germany, as the 61-year-old has announced that he will step down from the role after a distinguished career in the Mannschaft hotseat.

Low's first World Cup in 2010 saw Germany take the bronze medal before Mario Gotze wrote his name into the history books by scoring the winner against Argentina in the final four years later, although Russia 2018 was nothing short of a calamitous affair for the then-defending champions.

Indeed, Germany only won one of their three group stage matches and finished rock bottom as Sweden and Mexico progressed, and while Die Mannschaft have endured a spate of positive results since that doomed tournament, their most recent fixture arguably overshadowed their previously unbeaten record in 2020.

Low oversaw two victories and three draws from his side's first five Nations League encounters, but they simply capitulated against Spain as they fell to a crushing 6-0 defeat in League A Group 4 - a result which saw La Roja progress at the expense of their European counterparts - and that game also marked the first time in 89 years that Germany lost by a six-goal margin.

Despite that humiliation, Low's side can take solace from the fact that only one of their last 15 matches on home soil has ended in defeat, and they secured back-to-back victories over the Czech Republic and Ukraine on familiar territory last autumn, so this week's hosts must surely take the lessons they learned in their drubbing against Spain and use them for good here.

This week's visitors are also preparing for a new era under new leadership after Erik Hamren's departure, with former international Arnar Vidarsson gearing up for a baptism of fire in his first match in charge of Iceland.

Hamren's Iceland were never expected to successfully challenge Denmark, England or Belgium for their right to remain in League A of the Nations League, and six defeats from six saw the Nordic nation's relegation to League B confirmed after a crushing 4-0 defeat to the Three Lions in their final game in November.

Iceland's only victory of the autumn came in their Euro playoff semi-final against Romania, whom they defeated 2-1, but the brilliance of Dominik Szoboszlai ultimately saw Hungary progress to this summer's tournament a month later, so there will be no repeat of their historic 2016 run on the continental stage for Vidarsson's side this year.

However, the Nordic nation are now bidding to qualify for the World Cup for only the second time after making their inaugural appearance in Russia last year, but as expected, their journey ended at the first hurdle as they claimed just one point from their three group matches, although that was a memorable 1-1 draw with Argentina.

Thursday's game marks the fifth meeting between Germany and Iceland since their first battle in 1960 - which the hosts won 5-0 - and the most recent encounter between the two sides was all the way back in 2003, where Die Mannschaft won 3-0 during qualification for Euro 2004.

Germany form (all competitions):
  • D
  • W
  • D
  • W
  • W
  • L

Iceland form (all competitions):
  • W
  • L
  • L
  • L
  • L
  • L


Team News

Bayern Munich's Joshua Kimmich is helped off after picking up an injury in November 2020© Reuters

Low is sweating over the fitness of Bayern Munich midfielder Joshua Kimmich, who has been included in the squad but missed out the weekend's win over Stuttgart with a bout of illness, although he is understood to be feeling much better and ready for action.

However, the 101-cap Toni Kroos has left the camp due to injury, so Kimmich, Ilkay Gundogan, Leon Goretzka should start in the midfield, and while there is a space in the squad for 18-year-old Jamal Musiala, a man 13 years his senior in Thomas Muller has been overlooked.

With Niklas Sule and Robin Gosens ruled out through injury, Lukas Klostermann and Marcel Halstenberg could deputise, while the effervescent front three of Serge Gnabry, Timo Werner and Leroy Sane should all retain their places.

Meanwhile, Iceland playmaker Gylfi Sigurdsson and his wife are expecting the birth of their first child, so the Everton man will not be taking part in March's fixtures.

Vidarsson may struggle to work around his absence with another experienced midfielder in Emil Hallfredsson out through injury, and Alfred Finnbogason's calf problem will prevent him from building on the 15 goals he already boasts for his country.

Germany possible starting lineup:
Neuer; Klostermann, Ginter, Rudiger, Halstenberg; Kimmich, Gundogan, Goretzka; Gnabry, Werner, Sane

Iceland possible starting lineup:
Halldorsson; Saevarsson, Ingason, Magnusson, Skulason; Gudmundsson, Gunarsson, Bjarnason, Traustason; Bodvarsson, Sigthorsson


SM words green background

We say: Germany 3-0 Iceland

While Low will not be in the hotseat to witness Germany at the next World Cup, the 61-year-old will not let a hint of complacency creep in as he bids to steer Die Mannschaft to another finals. It will be interesting to see how Iceland set up under their new manager, but Vidarsson could hardly have been handed a more challenging opening task, and this should be a routine win for Germany.



Top tip

Our expert tipster partners at Sporita.com are predicting over 2.5 goals in this match. Click here to find out what else they are predicting for this game and for more of their tried-and-tested football tips.Over 2.5:data


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England's Mason Mount celebrates scoring against Iceland in the UEFA Nations League on November 18, 2020
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Thursday's key events


ATHLETICS
· The women's heptathlon continues with the long jump, javelin and 800m, with Katarina Johnson-Thompson now out of contention following an injury (1.10am-1.40pm)
· Andrew Pozzi pursues his dream of an Olympic medal in the men's 110m hurdles final (3.55am)
· Tom Bosworth and Callum Wilkinson are among the British hopes in the men's 20km race walk (8.30am)
· Holly Bradshaw aims to improve on fifth in Rio to challenge Greece's Katerina Stefanidi and Anzhelika Sidorova of Russia for an unlikely medal in the women's pole vault (11am)
· London 2012 champion Kirani James goes up against current world champion Steven Gardiner in the men's 400m final (1pm)

MARATHON SWIMMING
· One of the toughest Olympic events takes place in Tokyo Bay as GB's Hector Pardoe takes on the men's 20km marathon swim (10.30pm Wed)

BOXING
· Galal Yafai takes on takes on Kazakhstan's Saken Bibossinov for a spot in the gold medal bout of the fly (48kg-52kg) class (6.48am)

DIVING
· Lois Toulson and Andrea Spendolini-Sirieix (daughter of First Dates' Fred Sirieix) line up for the women's 10m platform (semi-final 2am; final 7am)

HOCKEY
· Australia face Belgium in the men's final (11am)

> Today's schedule in full
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