INTERNATIONAL football fanatic Mark O'Haire (@MarkOHaire) takes a look at Tuesday's friendly international between Denmark and Germany.
Denmark v Germany | Tuesday 19:45
Denmark’s unexpected triumph at Euro 1992 is undoubtedly one of football’s greatest underdog stories.
The Red-White, who had only been invited to the tournament at the last minute following the expulsion of Yugoslavia, confounded the critics and made a mockery of the odds compilers as they went all the way before beating Germany 2-0 in the final.
The Danes had only qualified for four previous major tournaments with the Scandinavian country's football league only turning professional 14 years prior to their amazing achievement.
The nation will now mark the 25th anniversary of that historic victory with a friendly fixture against their opponents in the final, Germany. And the Danish public are in need of a pick-me-up following a less than impressive opening to their 2018 World Cup qualifying campaign.
The Red-White have failed to secure a spot in the past two major international tournaments and have work to do in their quest to secure a place at Russia 2018 after back-to-back defeats in October dashed hopes of finishing top of Group E.
Age Hareide – with four coaching titles to his name across Denmark, Sweden and Norway – has seen his side slide six points behind pool leaders Poland whilst trailing second-placed Montenegro on goal difference, making Saturday’s meeting with Kazakhstan paramount to the Danes’ prospects.
Denmark have only triumphed in two of their final qualifying matches thus far and although they possess quality in the likes of Yussuf Poulsen and Christian Eriksen, neither Kasper Schmeichel nor Simon Kjaer will feature here with eyes firmly set on the weekend’s crucial contest.
Defending World Cup champions Germany are breezing through the preliminaries as standard. Die Mannschaft boast a perfect W5-D0-L0 record having scored 20 goals across their five Group C games., allowing head coach Joachim Low to experiment with his squad.
Minnows San Marino meet Germany at the weekend before Low’s group travel to Russia for the Confederations Cup with a squad brimming with young, inexperienced talent. Big names such as Manuel Neuer, Toni Kroos, Mesut Ozil, Thomas Muller, Jerome Boateng and Mats Hummels have all been given the summer off.
Shkodran Mustafi – who has 15 caps – is the third most experienced international selected behind Julian Draxler and Jonas Hector but even so, the squad is packed full of Bundesliga and European class and know-how with the Germans’ seemingly endless production line of world-class talent in full flow.
“It is a bit of a cold start. We will use the Denmark and San Marino games to get to know each other ahead of the Confed Cup,” admitted Low, whose side have had just one day's preparation for the game at Brondby's stadium.
The betting angle
Seven debutants are in line for game-time but RB Leipzig striker Timo Werner hasn’t travelled in the 20-man party due to a stomach virus. Nevertheless, Die Mannschaft boast more than enough ability to justify odds-against quotes of 11/10 (Unibet) to win on Tuesday night.
Before the squad was announced, Germany were as short as 4/7 at the back end of May. But has the drift gone too far? Although stronger sides have been picked, the Germans have W3-D1-L0 in their past four exhibition encounters against England, Italy, Finland and Hungary without conceding a goal.
Denmark will offer resistance but haven’t beaten any side of significance since Euro 2012 and look best opposed at the prices on offer.
Denmark v Germany – Germany to win (11/10 Unibet)