Germany look for a winning start in Euro 2016, when they kick-off their campaign against Ukraine on Sunday evening at the Stade Pierre Mauroy in Lille.
Germany are appearing in their 12 successive Euro Cup, since missing out in their first attempt as West Germany in 1968. They were crowned Champions on three occasions – 1972, 1980 and 1996 and were beaten finalists on 1976, 1992, 2008. They missed out to make through the group stages on in 1984, 2000 and 2004.
The qualifying campaign was not that all easy for the Germans in a tough group including Poland, Ireland and Scotland. They managed to top their group a point above Poland, with 7 wins, 1 draw and 2 defeats. Their form in recent friendlies have been pretty inconsistent as they lost back-to-back games against France and England, but bounced back with a win against Italy. Then were then humbled by a 3-1 defeat to Slovakia in May and once again got back to winning ways against Hungary in their final warm-up match.
Ukraine are making it to the Euros for the second time, the first being in 2012, when they were co-hosts alongside Poland. They were third in the qualifying group and overcame Slovenia in the play-offs to book their tickets to France. They finished their qualifying campaign including play-offs with 7 wins, 2 draws and 3 losses. This is Ukraine’s first entry to a major tournament through qualification since the World Cup 2006 in Germany, where they reached as far as the quarter finals.
Ukraine are coming on the back of some good form after winning their last four matches and are unbeaten in their last 6.Two defeats against Spain during the qualifying phase remains their only losses in the last 17 matches. There will no shortage or confidence when they set take the field at Lille against the mighty Germans on Sunday evening.
Germany: Team News
Marco Reus missed the final squad after failing to recover from an injury he picked up in the last game of Bundesliga season and Mario Gotze is an automatic choice to start in the left wing role. The experienced striker Mario Gomez is expected to lead the line, with Muller occupying the role of a support striker on the right flank.
Mat Hummels is set to miss the group games with injury, while Antonio Rudiger, who was set to replace him in the opening match is ruled out of the tournament with a serioud knee injury he picked up in training and replaced by Jonathan Tah on Tuesday. Shkodran Mustafi is the likely partner for Jerome Boateng at the center of Germany’s defense.
Bastian Schweinsteiger remains sidelined and it will be Sami Khedira and Toni Kross to start in the centre of midfield.
Germany: Predicted Line-up (4-2-3-1)
Neuer – Hector, Mustafi, Boateng, Can – Khedira, Kroos – Gotze, Ozil, Muller – Gomez.
Ukraine: Team News
Ukraine head coach Mykhaylo Fomenko has no injury or fitness concerns ahead of their opening Group C match against Germany and is expected to field the strongest eleven.
Their key men will be Andriy Yarmolenko and Yevhen Konoplyanka, who will orchestrate quick counter attacks from both wings. While Roman Zozulya is the only recognized striker in the team and is expected to lead the line in a 4-2-3-1 formation.
Ukraine: Predicted Line-up (4-2-3-1)
Pyatov – Shevchuk, Khacheridi, Rakitskiy, Fedetskiy – Garmash, Stepanenko – Konoplyanka, Sydorchuk, Yarmolenko – Zozulya.
Germany vs Ukraine: Head-to-Head Stats
Germany are unbeaten in the five matches played against Ukraine so far, with 2 wins and 3 draws.
Four of those encounters were in World Cup qualifying stages, Germany hold a record of 2 wins and 2 draws, with both wins coming at their home ground.
The teams haven’t met in a competitive match since 2001.
The last encounter between the sides was in a friendly in Kiev, where Germany came back from 2 goals down to earn a 3-3 draw. Yarmolenko and Konoplyanka, who are part of the current Ukraine squad scored the first two goals, while Thomas Muller scored Germany’s first and the equalizer in the 77th minute.
Germany vs Ukraine: Prediction
Germany are not in the best of the forms and their situation is further worsened by the latest injuries. Their defense remain a major worry with Hummels sidelined and Rudiger ruled out off the tournament, while their full back are rather inexperienced. Ukraine are a team focused on quick counter attacks and they may well put the German defense under tremendous pressure.
But Joachim Low’s side have a formidable attack with the talisman Ozil pulling the strings from the midfield and Thomas Muller the man to get on the end of most half chances. So there is a high probability of goals to fall on either ends.
Ukraine had won 9 of their 13 matches, with their last defeat coming against Spain on October 2015. They are yet to win a match against Germany in five meetings, but three of those were draws. With goals expected at both ends, this could end in a draw, but I back Germany to show up with a strong showing in the group opener and edge a narrow win.
Exact Score Prediction: Germany 2-1 Ukraine.
- Germany to Win (odds @ 1.57)
- Over 2.5 goals (odds 1.89)
- Both Teams to Score (odds 1.95)
- Both Teams to Score and Germany to win (odds 3.48)
- Thomas Muller to score any time (odds 2.00)
*Odds from Bet-at-Home at the time of composing this article.
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