Following last week’s defeat at the hands of Mexico, Joachim Löw looks to guide his Germany side to victory in Sochi on Saturday. Sweden got off to a great start as Andreas Granqvist’s penalty gave them three points against the Korea Republic. Here is the Germany v Sweden preview.
Germany v Sweden: Germany Will Wish to Avoid Embarrassing Group Stage Exit
Germany comes into this game having won just one of their last six games. That victory came in a warm-up game against Saudi Arabia almost two weeks ago. Defeats to Austria and Brazil were prefaced by draws with Spain and France.
Goals have been hard to come by for this usually-clinical side. They have scored just eight goals in their last six games.
Sweden are on a similar run of poor form. They built up to this tournament with defeats to Romania and Chile, whilst also drawing with Peru and Denmark in friendlies.
Prior to this, they beat Italy 1-0 over two legs of a World Cup qualifying play-off. Rather worryingly for Janne Andersson, his side have scored just three times in their last seven outings.
Germany are expected to make changes ahead of their second group game. Mats Hummels has been ruled out. Sunday’s defeat to Mexico saw many players underperform.
Among those players are Mesut Özil and Sami Khedira. Julian Brandt, Marco Reus and İlkay Gündoğan will all be hoping to find their way into the starting XI.
Sweden’s Victor Lindelof is likely to return to the squad. He missed Monday’s victory over the Korea Republic through illness – Pontus Jansson could be the man to lose his place to make way for the Manchester United defender.
Aside from this, Andersson could name the same side as the first group game.
Germany v Sweden: Head-to-Head
These nations have met 37 times. Germany have registered 15 victories, compared to Sweden’s 13. The sides have met just five times since the turn of the century, with Germany avoiding defeat each time.
The last meeting between the two saw Germany run out 5-3 winners in Stockholm during the 2014 World Cup Qualification campaign.
Prediction: Germany 1-0 Sweden
As we are all aware, this tournament hasn’t provided us with many goals. Excluding Russia, most sides have been happy with one-goal victories, and I think Germany will take such a victory on Saturday.
They struggled in many departments on Sunday and never showed their true attacking capabilities. As Joachim Löw admitted, they were very poor defensively. However, I think the fear of potential elimination will be enough to spur them on.
On the other hand, Sweden needed a penalty to overcome the challenge they faced on Monday. I don’t think they have what it takes to keep Germany out for 90 minutes.
They certainly don’t have the same pace that Mexico have and therefore won’t threaten Germany much on the counter-attack. This will give Germany the opportunity to play expansive, attacking football which will be too much for Sweden’s ageing defence to handle for the full game.
I can see the pace of Timo Werner causing problems for Granqvist and Lindelof in Sweden’s defence. Toni Kroos could be pivotal to Germany’s play if he can find the space to pull the strings from the middle of the park.
Mesut Özil and Thomas Muller could also look to cause problems for the Swedes. The influence from the bench could also be important for Germany. Sweden don’t have much in the way of attacking prowess. They will be looking to Emil Forsberg to try and give them something going forward.
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