MX23RW : Wednesday, November 14 22:29:10

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

Sports Mole provides predicted XIs, team news and a full match preview for the World Cup fixture between defending champions Germany and Mexico.

Defending champions Germany and Mexico go head to head in Moscow on Sunday as both teams look to begin Group F - arguably the most competitive section of the opening stages - with a victory.

Joachim Low's side have endured a scrappy buildup to the tournament, despite easing through qualifying, but Mexico have also struggled during their preparation for the long trip to Russia.


Germany

Germany manager Joachim Low on March 27, 2018© Reuters

Over the last four years, Germany have won the World Cup, Confederations Cup and reached the semi-finals of the European Championships, but Low and his squad have travelled to Russia under pressure to become world champions for a fifth time.

The constant call for success is demanding but Germany have established themselves as a business-like winning machine and DFB-Elf have not delivered since November.

Draws in friendlies against England, France and Spain are respectable enough and a narrow defeat to Brazil was not catastrophic, but losing to Austria and only edging past Saudi Arabia since the start of June has led to criticism for the team.

Combine that with the issues regarding Ilkay Gundogan and Mesut Ozil off the pitch and it has become apparent that the squad and supporters are not united as one, but Low's team have the opportunity to improve the mood with a strong performance this weekend.

Manchester City winger Leroy Sane is a high-profile absentee but Low has put together a strong 23-man group blessed with experience and every player is between 22 and 32 years of age.

This is also a nation who have reached the last four on their last six appearances at a major tournament - an outstanding progression from a team who failed to win a single game at Euro 2004 - and you will find few people who are going to back against another prolonged run in a global competition.

Germany must improve - it has been six games since they scored more than two goals in a match - but being provided with strong opposition in the group stages in Russia could act as a blessing in disguise after showing that they were several classes above the likes of Northern Ireland and Czech Republic during their qualifying campaign.

Mexico have the flair to trouble Germany, but Low has watched his team net four goals in each of their last two outings against this opposition and will be confident of a repeat performance on Sunday.

Recent form: DDDLLW


Mexico

Mexico manager Juan Carlos Osorio on July 2, 2017© Reuters

Mexico have reached the last 16 of the World Cup at the last six tournaments, but Juan Carlos Osorio has a job on his hands to earn the nation a seventh appearance in the knockout stages of the biggest sporting event in the world.

There is a lot to admire about Mexico's consistency but supporters are also waiting for the next step to be achieved, and El Tri must perform to their maximum to go further in Russia.

Any positive result against Germany will be regarded as a bonus, but Osorio will want his players to build confidence ahead of their later fixtures with South Korea and Sweden, games which could decide the runners-up from Group F.

Mexico have played European opposition in the lead-up to this competition and their results have been mixed, with defeats coming against both Croatia and Denmark and the team struggling against weakened Scotland and Wales sides.

Both Germany and Sweden are a step up from that opposition - and you can never discount South Korea - but Osorio has the players at his disposal to outscore many teams, rather than look to register a scrappy 1-0.

Neither Javier Hernandez nor Raul Jimenez have had the best of seasons with West Ham United and Benfica respectively but offer goals, while PSV Eindhoven winger Hirving Lozano is looking to impress ahead of a probable move to a big European club.

The defence and midfield is packed with experience but while Mexico will look to try to keep in the present, some of their squad could be competing in their last World Cup and will be determined to go out on a high.

Included in that is the great Rafael Marquez - who is appearing at his fifth World Cup - but Osorio must take away sentiment when looking to put together a team capable of surprising the 2014 winners.

Recent form: WWLDWL


Team News

Mesut Ozil in action for Germany against Austria on June 2, 2018© Reuters

Germany have received a boost with Mesut Ozil returning to training after injury, but the Arsenal playmaker is expected to start Sunday's game on the bench.

Goalkeeper Manuel Neuer should start after proving his fitness having missed the majority of this season, while Timo Werner is expected to start ahead of Mario Gomez in attack.

Osorio has used the warm-up fixtures to rotate his Mexico squad, but Hernandez may start among the replacements having failed to start the last two games.

Marquez is also expected to only be on the bench, but Giovani dos Santos and Carlos Vela could both feature in an offensive-minded XI.

Germany possible starting lineup:
Neuer; Kimmich, Boateng, Hummels, Hector; Khedira, Kroos; Reus, Muller, Draxler; Werner

Mexico possible starting lineup:
Ochoa; Salcedo, Ayala, Moreno, Gallardo; Herrera, Guardado, Santos; Vela, Lozano, Jimenez


Head To Head

The showdown in Russia's capital will represent the 12th clash between the two nations, with Germany winning six times and Mexico claiming just one victory.

Mexico's success came back in 1985, and it means that Germany have put together a six-game unbeaten streak which includes a narrow 2-1 triumph at the 1998 World Cup.

The most recent meeting came last year at the Confederations Cup as Leon Goretzka netted twice during a 4-1 victory at the semi-final stage.


Sports Mole Logo

We say: Germany 3-1 Mexico

Neither side can claim to carry any form heading into Sunday's encounter, but we cannot back against Germany starting the defence of their crown with a statement win over a team who also have the potential of reaching the latter stages.


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Who will win Sunday's World Cup clash between Germany and Mexico?

Germany
Draw
Mexico
Germany
79.7%
Draw
7.8%
Mexico
12.5%
The Mexico team line up before their friendly game with Scotland on June 2, 2018
Read Next:
World Cup preview: Mexico
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Tables
TeamPWDLFAGDPTS
1Manchester CityMan City1210203653132
2Liverpool129302351830
3Chelsea128402781928
4Tottenham HotspurSpurs1290320101027
5Arsenal1273226151124
6Bournemouth126242116520
7Watford126241714320
8Manchester UnitedMan Utd126242021-120
9Everton125431915419
10Leicester CityLeicester125251716117
11Wolverhampton WanderersWolves124441213-116
12Brighton & Hove AlbionBrighton124261318-514
13West Ham UnitedWest Ham123361418-412
14Newcastle UnitedNewcastle12237915-69
15Burnley122371225-139
16Crystal Palace12228817-98
17Southampton12156821-138
18Cardiff CityCardiff122281125-148
19Huddersfield TownHuddersfield12147622-167
20Fulham121291131-205

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