Both Germany and England have had rather disappointing UEFA Nations League campaigns this year and both nations sit in the third and fourth spot in League A Group 3 behind Hungary and Italy, respectively. After both sides secured World Cup qualification with flying colors, more was expected of them from their Nations League matches, but both Hansi Flick and Gareth Southgate have not had many opportunities to look at different players and tweak with different tactical decisions. With that said, Nations League results really have no actual bearing on how either of these nations stand, but they both would’ve expected more, and neither will want to be on the losing side at Wembley this time around.
The last time England faced Germany in Munich, a late, late Harry Kane penalty spoiled what would’ve been a 1-0 win for Die Mannschaft through a goal from Borussia Monchengladbach’s Florian Neuhaus. As it stands for Southgate’s side, that is the only goal the Three Lions have scored in all of their 5 matches thus far, and they’ve conceded a joint-most in the group of 7 along with Italy.
Despite England’s abysmal run of form in the Nations League, Flick is well aware of the quality they possess in each position and is warry of the threat they can pose. He also knows that Southgate is a top-class manager, even though England’s run of form has sparked heightened speculation as to whether or not he’s the right man for the job and if he’s days are numbered. “The England squad is outstanding and has a lot of quality. Of course, the coach is always criticized when things don’t go well. But he’s one of the best coaches in England’s history and they have a great team. We need a top performance,” Flick said in his press conference previewing the clash (@iMiaSanMia).
In their last match, which was a 1-0 loss to Italy, England looked devoid of creativity, though they did slightly change when Jack Grealish came on for Bukayo Saka in the 71st minute. Much like Germany in their loss against Hungary, they failed to create enough credible chances on target despite having the lion’s share of possession.
What could work in Germany’s favor, though, is the criticism that Southgate has received for some of his personnel decisions for this particular camp. For one, a lot of England fans and pundits alike were infuriated by the fact that Brentford’s Ivan Toney was not even in the match day squad against Italy despite getting his first ever England call up. There was also a bit of an outcry foe the omission of Manchester United’s Jadon Sancho, who’s been in a fine run of form, much greater than that of Harry Maguire, who was called up. The goes for Marcus Rashford, who’s also been a bright spot for Erik ten Hag’s side.
For the Germany match, they’ll be an onus on Southgate to use this final opportunity to get a look at some different players before he’ll have to sit down and pick his final roster for Qatar. Flick doesn’t necessarily have that same sort of pressure on his back for this match.
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