OUR main Scottish tipster Willie Duncan (@Willie_Duncan) kicks off his WLB Euros campaign for us by looking at Germany v Ukraine.
Germany v Ukraine | Sunday 20:00 | BBC One
Never one to knowingly swerve away from a cliché, I am absolutely adamant that I won’t be writing off the Germans at Euro 2016.
Joachim Low’s side were crowned as champions in Brazil in 2014 and I don’t think that they’ll be far away when the silverware is being handed out in France next month.
Admittedly, Die Mannschaft haven’t been at their best in recent months – they’ve only won three of their last seven matches AND they conceded twice against Scotland at Hampden – but they usually get their act together when the real stuff starts.
Their squad is bursting with quality – Muller, Gotze, Ozil, Kroos and Schurrle all have enough talent going forward to make most opposition managers quake in their boots, while the absence of Marco Reus won’t make much difference, for the Borussia Dortmund man wasn’t fit to board the plane to Brazil two years ago…and that campaign didn’t turn out too badly, did it?
Reaching the semi-finals, at least, in each of their last five major tournaments suggests that Low’s men are the ultimate tournament team and they have another proud record to defend on Sunday – Germany have never lost their opening game at the European Championships – a record that extends to 11 matches.
I can’t see Mikhail Fomenko’s side changing that statistic, but Ukraine might just make their mark in Lille, because Germany’s defence cannot be described as watertight; indeed, the world champions have conceded in seven of their last eight outings.
Low’s side look particularly vulnerable down the flanks; they still haven’t replaced Philipp Lahm (how could they?) and Fomenko’s men have a couple of cracking wingers in the shape of Yevhen Konoplyanka and Andriy Yarmolenko. If they don’t get it right on the night, the Germans might not have things all their own way.
Having said that, Germany have found the net in 14 of their last 16 matches and it’s nigh on impossible to see them failing to maintain their scoring streak against Ukraine.
However, the even money quote for both teams to score that makes most appeal for me in this match and it’s this selection that looks to be the best bet from Sunday’s showdown in Lille.
Germany v Ukraine – Both Teams To Score (Evens Netbet)