Venue: Olympiastadion, Berlin
Date: Saturday 26th March 2016
Kick off: 19.45
Where can you watch it? ITV/ITV HD
The upcoming Germany vs England match, held in Germany’s national stadium in the capital, Berlin, will be the 30th time the two great footballing nations have faced each other on the pitch in full international fixtures. If you are reading this in England, you are probably dusting off your World War Two references and preparing to remind the Germans of the highest margin of victory in this fixture (5-1, even Heskey scored!, as the song goes). If you are German and have stumbled across this article, you are likely to be wishing that the game was against the Netherlands, or someone else that you actually have a rivalry with.
History of the fixture:
It may surprise you to learn that England and Germany have equal records in this fixture, with both teams having won 12 games and drawing five since their first meeting in 1930.
England won the last game played here in Berlin’s Olympiastadion 1-2, courtesy of goals from Matt Upson and John Terry. However, that was the last time England have come out on top against the Germans since, with a 4-1 humbling in Bloemfontein and a 0-1 win in Wembley ensuring that Germany are very much in possession of the bragging rights.
In fact, England’s record has been poor generally for quite a few years. Since the famous win in the 1966 World Cup final England have triumphed a meagre five times, whilst Germany have gained all 12 of their victories since that date.
Manager: Joachim Löw. Manager of Germany since 2006, Low has overseen a revolution in German football, making them one of the most successful and feared international teams in the world. He also led Die Mannschaft to World Cup glory in 2014, and hopes to add to their success with a title win in the European Championships in France in 2016.
Recent form: The World Champions have won five of their last nine games, and are far from infallible. Defeats at the hands of the USA and the Republic of Ireland are proof that they can have their off days, and they were poor in defeat to France in Paris in 2015.
Players in the squad:
Bernd Leno (Bayer Leverkusen), Manuel Neuer (Bayern Munich), Marc-André ter Stegen (Barcelona), Kevin Trapp (PSG)
Matthias Ginter (Borussia Dortmund), Mats Hummels (Borussia Dortmund), Jonas Hector (Cologne), Shkodran Mustafi (Valencia), Antonio Rüdiger (Roma), Sebastian Rudy (Hoffenheim), Jonathan Tah (Bayer Leverkusen)
Emre Can (Liverpool), Karim Bellarabi (Bayer Leverkusen), Christoph Kramer (Bayer Leverkusen), Julian Draxler (Wolfsburg), André Schürrle (Wolfsburg), Sami Khedira (Juventus), Toni Kroos (Real Madrid), Mesut Özil (Arsenal), Thomas Müller (Bayern Munich), Marco Reus (Borussia Dortmund), Bastian Schweinsteiger (Manchester United)
Lukas Podolski (Galatasaray), Mario Gómez (Besiktas), Mario Götze (Bayern Munich), Kevin Volland (Hoffenheim)
Manager: Roy Hodgson. Veteran manager Hodgson has been in charge of the Three Lions since 2012. Two underwhelming international tournaments have been followed by a dominant qualification campaign for Euro 2016 (admittedly against limited opponents), and some emerging talents have given Hodgson a selection headache that some England managers could only have dreamt of.
Recent form: With six wins out of their last nine games, England are in slightly better form than their opponents, although with the exception of the win against France (which, considering the circumstances surrounding the game, was not a fair reflection of either side’s ability) England haven’t beaten any top tier sides. In fact, they were comfortably beaten by Spain in the game prior to the match against France, which probably tells a bit more about the level that England currently operate at.
Players in the squad:
Jack Butland (Stoke City), Fraser Forster (Southampton), Tom Heaton (Burnley)
Ryan Bertrand (Southampton), Gary Cahill (Chelsea), Nathaniel Clyne (Liverpool), Phil Jagielka (Everton), Danny Rose (Tottenham Hotspur), Chris Smalling (Manchester United), John Stones (Everton), Kyle Walker (Tottenham Hotspur)
Dele Alli (Tottenham Hotspur), Ross Barkley (Everton), Eric Dier (Tottenham Hotspur), Danny Drinkwater (Leicester City), Jordan Henderson (Liverpool), Adam Lallana (Liverpool), James Milner (Liverpool)
Harry Kane (Tottenham Hotspur), Daniel Sturridge (Liverpool), Jamie Vardy (Leicester City), Theo Walcott (Arsenal), Danny Welbeck (Arsenal)
Intrigue surrounds a number of selections for this international friendly break. England’s squad is full of youth whilst maintaining some experience in the form of Milner, Jagielka and Cahill. It remains to be seen if Leicester City’s duo get much game time, although it would be fascinating to see if Drinkwater in particular is given a chance to see if his domestic form is an anomaly or if he really is as good as he seems.
Germany’s team, while blessed with great talent in midfield, defence and in goal, seem a bit blunt up front. Kevin Volland and Mario Gotze are two very good players, but the fact that Mario Gomez and Lukas Podolski have made the squad shows that this area might be a bit of a concern. Of course, Germany’s midfield have the ability to score goals and change the game themselves, so perhaps this isn’t too much of a concern.
Expect to see Germany look much more comfortable on the ball. England will have to be disciplined and energetic in defence, and might well look to sit back and hit Germany on the break. The English players, like the fans, will be up for this game in a way that the German players are unlikely to be, so that might give England an extra yard (especially in the opening minutes of the game).
Ultimately though, Germany are World Champions, and whilst they may not have been playing like that for the last year, they still possess much more quality in almost every position on the pitch. England will battle hard, but I feel that we will be seeing a 13th win for Germany.
Predicted Scoreline: Germany 2-1 England (Gotze, Muller; Kane)