CHRIS Graham (@chrisgraham79) gives us an impartial on Wednesday night’s clash between Germany and England.
Germany v England | Tuesday 19:45 | ITV1
It’s almost exactly a year since these sides last met. That night in Germany England came back from 2-0 down to snatch a late 3-2 euphoric win. The nature of the win and performance saw the side hyped as Euro 2016 candidates, but like many times before it proved a false dawn and England put in a pitiful performance in France.
A match of little concern
Were we naive to read so much into last year’s performance? Probably. Bar an extraordinary result here it’s unlikely this match will live long in the conscience. The fact that Germany have brought back Lukas Podolski for a farewell game tells you all you need to know about how much the world champions care.
It is of course a new dawn for England here as Gareth Southgate takes charge for the first time as permanent manager. Performances so far have been mixed. A flaccid 2-0 win over Malta and a workmanlike draw in Slovenia hardly inspired, but they cruised to victory over Scotland and were unlucky not to beat Spain at Wembley.
Light up front
England look light up front here. Record goalscorer Wayne Rooney has not been selected, Harry Kane is injured and that leaves just reinvigorated Jamie Vardy, the veteran Jermaine Defoe and Manchester United’s Marcus Rashford.
Germany are one of only three sides to have taken maximum points in their UEFA qualifying group and Joachim Lowe’s side haven’t conceded a goal in the section and indeed since their semi-final defeat to France in Euro 2016.
The home side also have absences in their squad with Mesut Ozil, Julian Draxler, Mario Gomez and Manuel Neuer all missing from the line up.
England have a better record than Germany in friendly fixtures and perhaps that relates to the pressure being off. It’s two defeats in 16 in non-competitive fixtures for the English and they’ve won five of their last seven with wins against France, Portugal and of course Germany in that series.
For Germany it’s four friendly defeats in eight with Slovakia and the USA amongst the culprits. These fixtures feel small beer to the big picture Germans.
With regard to this match, I can’t imagine either side will care too much. Southgate will be eager to emerge with a respectable result in his first official match and a conservative approach might be how he plays it.
I doubt Germany will seek revenge for last year’s defeat (it was a friendly after all) and the fact that England are light up front also is another reason for going low.
Germany v England – Under 2.5 Goals (11/10 Paddy Power)