Tuesday’s blockbuster international friendly pits eternal rivals Germany and France against each other at Signal Iduna Park.
As the host nation of next summer’s 2024 European Championship, the Germans have secured automatic qualification, alleviating the pressure of seeking a group stage berth through the qualifying cycle.
Given Die Mannschaft’s disastrous form after the 2022 World Cup, it’s been a blessing that they’ve been handed the hosting rights because otherwise, they could’ve found themselves in trouble.
A dreadful result in Wolfsburg proved the end of the line for the former Bayern Munich manager Hansi Flick, with the DFB relieving him of his managerial duties shortly after that fiasco.
While working on appointing Julian Nagelsmann as the new chief of staff, the Germans will meet France under the interim stewardship of Rudi Voller, looking to make amends for the weekend’s humiliation.
However, it may prove a Herculean task, with Les Bleus coming into proceedings in high spirits after a 2-0 home win over Ireland last Thursday kept their flawless Euro 2024 qualifying record intact.
Didier Deschamps’ high-flyers have bounced back from a 2022 World Cup heartache, winning all five Group B matches by a combined score of 11-0 to set one foot in their ninth consecutive Euro finals.
Japan’s thumping victory at the Volkswagen Arena condemned Germany to a fifth consecutive international without winning (D1, L4), so it’s hardly a surprise Flick had to go.
Defensive frailties have seen Die Mannschaft concede multiple goals in four of their five matches since a 2-0 friendly win over Peru last March, with three of those four games yielding at least three goals in their net.
If it’s any consolation, Leroy Sane’s goal against Japan ended Germany’s two-game scoring drought, but their uneventful attacking showings won’t get them far against France.
Unless Voller can miraculously galvanise his side, the Germans could be staring down the barrel of a seventh consecutive encounter against Les Bleus without a victory (D2, L4).
Matts Hummels’ own goal decided the most recent meeting between the two European powerhouses, helping France run out 1-0 victors in their opening Euro 2020 group stage fixture.
That triumph forms part of Les Bleus’ dominant defensive run against Germany, as they’ve kept two clean sheets in their last three competitive showdowns, a run stretching back to 2018.
With Deschamps’ team winning all five post-World Cup outings without conceding, another shutout could be on the cards.
Producing another resilient defensive showing should bolster the visitors’ bid to build on a decent-looking 17-game form (W11, D2, L4) and pour more misery on their troubled rivals.
With Niclas Fullkrug on the sidelines due to injury, Brentford’s Kevin Schade could be Voller’s answer to Germany’s scoring problems after Arsenal’s Kai Havertz failed to shine against Japan.
Brighton & Hove Albion star Pascal Gross could make his first-ever international start after registering his debut as a second-half substitute on Saturday.
Olivier Giroud, Theo Hernandez and Mike Maignan have pulled out of the France squad with minor injuries, opening space for Inter Milan’s Benjamin Pavard and Marcus Thuram.
The latter opened his international account with a goal against Ireland last time out, and he could start alongside Kylian Mbappe and Randal Kolo Muani in Deschamps’ star-studded attacking line.
Germany potential starting line-up:
(4-5-1): Marc-Andre ter Stegen; Benjamin Henrichs, Niklas Sule, Antonio Rudiger, Robin Gosens; Joshua Kimmich, Pascal Gross, Ilkay Gundogan, Serge Gnabry, Thomas Muller; Kevin Schade.
France potential starting line-up:
(4-3-3): Alphonse Areola; Benjamin Pavard, William Saliba, Axel Disasi, Lucas Hernandez; Eduardo Camavinga, Aurelien Tchouameni, Antoine Griezmann; Randal Kolo Muani, Kylian Mbappe, Marcus Thuram.
We Say: Germany 1-3 France
While the country would forgive Die Mannschaft their past transgressions if they could knock France off their perch, it’s difficult to imagine this dysfunctional German side going toe-to-toe with Les Bleus.
Instead, we expect Deschamps’ side to throw their neighbours into further disarray.
- Arsenal to offload fringe players in pursuit of Brentford’s Ivan Toney as Bees renew Barclays borrowing
- Women’s Super League 2023/24: Can anyone stop Chelsea winning five-in-a-row?
- Football agents in the UK stall FIFA’s salary cap regulations
- Chelsea monitoring Osimhen situation amid rift with Napoli
- Victor Osimhen threatens legal action against Napoli over mockery