After losing their opening game against France, Germany desperately need a win — not just for points but for the sake of their players’ confidence. Unfortunately, this group is probably the hardest of the lot, which means the beleaguered Germans have to face a strong and in-form Portuguese side on the very second matchday of the Euros.
With the likes of Cristiano Ronaldo and Bruno Fernandes on display, Joachim Low will need to rethink his tactics if he wants to earn a win for his team. France showed that the German attack lacks fluidity, and the midfield struggles to protect the defense. The squad has solutions for both of those problems. The question is, can the coach implement them?
There’s some good news and plenty of bad. The good news is the Bayern Munich duo of Leon Goretzka and Jamal Musiala is fit and should be ready to play. The bad news is that Lukas Klostermann has been ruled out of the tournament due to a minor thigh injury.
Despite the opening game issues, Low will probably opt for an unchanged formation with basically the same attack. Serge Gnabry, Thomas Muller, and Kai Havertz will likely start up top, with Timo Werner and Leroy Sane opted for as the preferred subs on the bench. Portugal are likely to come forward and offer space at the back for the Germans to exploit, unlike France. Hopefully, this means that Havertz, Muller, and Gnabs can do more going forward, and maybe even pull off some of the attacking combination play they’re known for.
In midfield, if Leon Goretzka is deemed fit, he’s surely going to start. Ilkay Gundogan is the most likely candidate to be dropped in that scenario, as Toni Kroos is still preferred as a controller in the eyes of Jogi Low. Joshua Kimmich and Robin Gosens will reprise their roles at right and left-back respectively, and they will hopefully have better games without Hernandez and Pavard stonewalling them at every turn.
Meanwhile, the defense is almost certain to be unchanged. Despite his own goal, Mats Hummels had a great individual performance against France, while Antonio Rudiger and Matthias Ginter have proven themselves solid picks. Portugal are expected to be more adventurous going forward than the French were, so the 3-4-3 might finally show its merits on Saturday. If not, there’s always Manuel Neuer at the back — he’ll just need to save whatever comes his way.
With all that in mind, here’s how Germany’s lineup should look like tomorrow:
Here’s what Bild thinks the lineup could be.
Portugal vs Germany | Possible lineups [Bild] pic.twitter.com/X7eNmrwYgq— Bayern & Germany (@iMiaSanMia) June 18, 2021
It’s the same XI that started against France and Latvia. Who knows, maybe third time’s the charm?
Joao Felix has apparently been ruled out of the game due to an injury.