There’s one last game left in the international break and Hansi Flick still hasn’t lost a match as Germany coach. Is that going to change against Armenia? Normally you’d say “no”, but this time Flick will be rolling out without a significant portion of his Bayern Munich contingent. Since Bayern forms the backbone of the German NT, the team will undoubtedly be weaker without those key players. Weak enough to lose to Armenia? Well, let’s see.
Just to recap, here’s the injury list from the Liechtenstein game. Not much has changed since then:
1. Niklas Sule is in self-isolation after testing positive for COVID-19.
2. Joshua Kimmich, Serge Gnabry, Jamal Musiala, and Karim Adeyemi are all in self-isolation due to being in close contact with Sule.
3. Chelsea players Timo Werner
and Kai Havertzare out due to an injury and suspension respectively.
4. Nico Schlotterbeck, Florian Wirtz, and Julian Draxler also join the injury list.
5. Robin Gosens, and Mats Hummels were all left out of the callup list this time, to allow them to focus on their respective injuries/fatigue.
Only Kai Havertz has since returned to the side, while new absences have cropped up:
- Manuel Neuer and Marco Reus were sent home to rest.
- Leon Goretzka joins the injury list with a bruised head and neck from the Liechtenstein game. He has already traveled back to Munich.
- Antonio Rudiger is suspended after picking up a yellow card against Liechtenstein.
So yeah, Germany’s in a bit of a tough spot at the moment. Honestly, the fact that there’s still plenty of options at each position speaks to the depth that Flick has at his disposal. Let’s talk about the potential lineup.
Thomas Muller is confirmed to be donning the captain’s armband for this game, and he’s likely to start at center-forward once again with Kai Havertz supporting him from attacking midfield. Leroy Sane and Ridle Baku should be expected to reprise their roles from the Liechtenstein game, playing on the left and right flanks respectively. That makes for a formidable attacking quartet, with Wolfsburg’s Lukas Nmecha and Monaco’s Kevin Volland on the bench for more firepower.
The midfield will likely consist of Ilkay Gundogan and Florian Neuhaus in a dual pivot. This might be a tad risky defensively, but they’re the two best mids Germany have left. Is this going to be the first time Flick has ever had to field a lineup without Kimmich or Goretzka? Someone comment if you remember another occasion when that happened.
The defense is hard to predict. With Sule and Rudiger out, Germany have lost their two main starting center-backs. Thilo Kehrer and Matthias Ginter would be the likely replacements in this scenario, with Jonas Hofmann and Christian Gunter the likely options at right-back and left-back respectively.
Finally, with Manuel Neuer out, Marc Andre ter Stegen gets a chance to start in goal. In the absence of a proper defensive lineup in front of him, the Barcelona keeper might have his work cut out keeping a clean sheet. Still, chances like these don’t come very often, so he’ll want to make the most of it and impress the coach. Hansi Flick mentioned a set keeping hierarchy in his press conference, but there’s no reason why Kevin Trapp couldn’t muscle his way into ter Stegen’s #2 spot with a bit of effort.
Anyway, here’s what tomorrow’s lineup might look like:
In case you want a more detailed preview, why not listen to our podcast? Here’s what we discuss:
- Additional absentees coming into this clash against Armenia
- Why Kevin Trapp should start in goal
- Why Matthias Ginter should start at the back
- Double pivot options including Gündogan/Arnold or Neuhaus/Arnold
- Potential line-up for Germany barring no injuries in the World Cup
- Germany’s options up-top including Karim Adeyemi
- High hopes for Lukas Nmecha up front
As always, thanks for listening!