Rentschler Field in East Hartford, Connecticut, is the venue as the United States and Germany square off in an exciting international friendly on Saturday.
US head coach Gregg Berhalter has galvanised his side following a disheartening 2023 CONCACAF Gold Cup semi-final exit at the hands of Panama in July.
His side won both friendlies in September, thumping Uzbekistan and Oman 3-0 and 4-0 respectively, to set themselves up nicely for their first encounter against Germany since 2015.
Goals from Mix Diskerud and Bobby Wood inspired the US’ comeback in their last meeting with Die Mannscahft eight years ago, with Mario Gotze scoring the only goal for the Euro 2024 host nation.
As the hosts of next summer’s tournament, the Germans have secured automatic qualification, which, based on their post-2022 FIFA World Cup showings, seems like a blessing.
Four defeats in five internationals (D1) in the wake of a 2-0 win over Peru last March saw Germany relieve former Bayern Munich manager Hansi Flick of his duties in September.
Interim boss Rudi Voller offered the three-time European champions a glimmer of light at the end of the tunnel, guiding Die Mannschaft to a morale-boosting 2-1 friendly win over France last time out.
New manager Julian Nagelsmann is looking to pick up where Voller left off, with the Germans in dire need of positive results to get back on the rails ahead of the upcoming Euros.
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While the US made it out of the group stages in Qatar last winter, facing European teams proved a tall order for the seven-time Gold Cup winners.
After sharing the spoils with England and Wales in the group phase, they waved goodbye to the World Cup in the opening knockout round, finishing on the receiving end of a 3-1 scoreline against the Netherlands.
Since leaving the Middle East, the Stars and Stripes lost 2-1 to Serbia in January, extending their winless streak against European nations to four matches (D2, L2).
But there’s a silver lining. Since that defeat, Berhalter’s men haven’t lost any of their 13 international fixtures in regulation time (W8, D5), conceding more than one goal per game only once in that sequence.
Defensive frailties had been Germany’s most alarming problem down the final stretch of Flick’s reign, as they conceded at least twice in four of his last five games in charge.
Although they failed to register their first clean sheet since the abovementioned win over Peru in that win against France, Germany eclipsed their one-goal haul from Flick’s final three matches.
Nagelsmann’s bid to maintain his side’s attacking resurgence will hinge on the national team debutant Kevin Behrens and new Borussia Dortmund striker Niclas Fullkrug.
The 36-year-old tactician has decided to mix things up in his first selection, which could derail Die Mannschaft’s chances of improving their evenly-balanced four-game H2H form (W2, L2).
Five Bundesliga stars feature Berhalter’s United States squad in October, including Dortmund’s Giovanni Reyna and Leeds United loanee Brenden Aaronson, currently on the books of Union Berlin.
AC Milan duo Christian Pulisic and Yunus Musah will likely start alongside Juventus stars Timothy Weah and Weston McKennie, with former Arsenal striker Folarin Balogun expected to lead the line.
Germany will be without RB Leipzig’s Timo Werner and Bayern’s Serge Gnabry, but Mats Hummels is back to the national team after a two-year hiatus.
In addition to Behrens, Stuttgart’s Chris Fuhrich and Bayer Leverkusen’s Robert Andrich are in contention for their international debuts.
United States potential starting line-up:
(4-3-3): Matt Turner; Sergino Dest, Antonee Robinson, Chris Richards, Joe Scally; Brenden Aaronson, Yunus Musah, Weston McKennie; Timothy Weah, Folarin Balogun, Christian Pulisic.
Germany potential starting line-up:
(4-2-3-1): Marc-Andre ter Stegen; Malick Thiaw, Niklas Sule, Antonio Rudiger, David Raum; Joshua Kimmich, Ilkay Gundogan; Leroy Sane, Thomas Muller, Jamal Musiala; Niclas Fullkrug,.
We Say: United States 1-2 Germany
While we expect Nagelsmann to get his tenure at the helm of Germany off to a winning start, there’s a good chance the US will take advantage of their visitors’ defensive woes to find the net.
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