An important game takes place in Group C tonight as the two teams who were victorious in their opening games come head to head in the biggest game of their group. Germany will be looking to assert their dominance over Poland who beat them in qualifying and Poland will be looking to harness that victory and turn it into another against the world champions.
Both teams dominated their opening games but lacked a clinical edge. Germany dictated the tempo against Ukraine and their passing was superb but only came out as 2-0 winners in a game where they should have both created and scored more goals. Poland were similar, they dominated possession against Northern Ireland but could not find that final pass through to Lewandowski so that he could show his class.
Lewandowski is the key man for Poland again tonight; he did not get an opportunity in the first game to show his true class, but knowing many of the German players will help him tonight. His former Borussia Dortmund team-mate Mats Hummels (who, from next season, will also be his teammate in Munich) may well return from a calf injury for the Germans and Lewandowski will be looking to get one over his current teammates Jerome Boateng and Manuel Neuer, who both put in brilliant performances against Ukraine.
For Germany, they will look to utilise the passing supremacy of Kroos, Ozil and Khedira. They controlled the game against Ukraine and Joachim Low will be hoping that they can do that again in order for the world champions to top their group.
For both teams, a victory would mean progression into the knockout stages of the competition. Also, depending on the result of the Northern Ireland vs Ukraine match, it could also mean topping Group C. There is a lot to play for in this match and Poland will be hoping that Germany underestimate their quality and they are able to snatch a victory.
Poland have never scored more than one goal at a match in the European Championship and that could be a problem which catches up with them in a match which will be tight. Poland’s cause will not be helped by the fact that their number one keeper, Wojciech Szczesny, who had a good game against Northern Ireland, has been ruled out of the game with a thigh injury. Nevertheless, Lukas Fabianski who will start in goal tonight is a decent replacement.
For the Germans, Joachim Low will bring Mats Hummels back from injury and probably replace Shkodran Mustafi, who scored against Ukraine in the opener. Low may also change who plays in the number 9 role, and could prefer Mario Gómez to Mario Gotze who was ineffectual against Ukraine.
I think the Germans will control possession once again and with more of an attacking threat will be clinical in front of goal. If Poland can utilise the left foot of Milik and the attacking prowess of Lewandowski, the game could be tight up top. I still think, regardless of Poland strength, Germany will run out 2-0 winners tonight (I got the prediction right last time!).
Predicted Line-Ups (with key players highlighted):
Germany (4-5-1): Neuer – Hector – Boateng – Hummels – Howedes – Muller – Kroos – Ozil – Khedira – Draxler – Gomez
Poland (4-4-2): Fabianski – Jedrzejczyk – Glik – Pazdan – Piszczek – Kapustka – Maczynski – Krychowiak – Blaszczykowski – Milik – Lewandowski