Eric Dier’s late goal gave England a 3-2 win when they last played in Germany as Roy Hodgson’s side came from 2-0 down to complete a memorable victory. Jamie Vardy also scored his first international goal as a euphoric English team prepared for an assault on Euro 2016. Not many would have predicted the fall from grace since that heady friendly result in March, and the English national side has been through two managers in the last twelve months.
Hodgson resigned after the dismal display in France last summer, and Sam Allardyce’s reign lasted just one match before the now Crystal Palace manager was caught out by a newspaper sting. Gareth Southgate has brought a certain dignity back to proceedings, and remains unbeaten in his four matches so far.
Germany will give a final farewell to Lucas Podolski in the game in Dortmund on Wednesday, the veteran striker coming out of retirement for what amounts to a testimonial game in which he will win his 130th international cap.
World Cup Qualifying Campaigns
While this game is only a friendly, it come just a few days prior to World Cup 2018 qualifying games, so both managers are bound to have an eye on upcoming fixtures. England play Lithuania at Wembley on Sunday afternoon, while Germany are away in Azerbaijan at the same time. Southgate’s team sits top of qualifying group ahead of Slovenia and Slovakia, with ten points from their four games. The only disappointment has been a 0-0 draw away at 2nd placed Slovenia, but the Three Lions are yet to concede a goal in the group.
Germany are also top of the standings, with a perfect four wins from four in qualifying group C. They are also yet to concede a goal and have scored an impressive 16, although eight of those were against a poor San Marino side. However, they’ve also beaten the Czech Republic and Northern Ireland with the minimum of fuss.
England have won on their last three visits to Germany, so are surely worthy of a little more respect than the bookies seem prepared to show. Prior to that last-gasp 3-2 win in 2016, England won 2-1 in a Berlin friendly with John Terry’s late goal securing the result for Fabio Capello’s side. Before that it was a World Cup qualifying win as Michael Owen scored a hat-trick in that memorable 5-1 victory in 2001 under Sven Goran Eriksson.
Neither side has lost since being knocked out of Euro 2016, although Germany’s semi-final exit at the hands of France reads in much better context than England’s insipid defeat by Iceland. In fact, if this were a competitive match, one would be sorely tempted to side with the Germans – they are much more ruthless in the competitive arena than they are in friendlies as recent results against Italy show. Joachim Low’s side beat the Italians in the quarter finals at Euro 2016, but were happy to play out a 0-0 friendly draw in November last year.
With a party atmosphere in front of Dortmund’s famous fans for Podolski’s last game, and with a host of big names missing, another bet which makes appeal is both teams to score at -122 with 188Bet.
Team News and Injuries
Gary Cahill will captain England in the absence of Wayne Rooney, and Southgate is also without Harry Kane and Daniel Sturridge. West Ham’s Michail Antonio has pulled out of the squad with a hamstring injury, and there are also fitness concerns over Manchester City’s Raheem Sterling. That leaves just Vardy, Defoe and Rashford as striking options, while the likes of Lingard and Redmond might hope for game time if Sterling is left out in preparation for Sunday’s game. It’s going to be a very young an inexperienced England side, but one which is full of potential and can play without fear in a game most will expect them to lose. There is certainly enough talent in the side to find the net in Wednesday’s game.
Germany also have their injury problems with Ozil, Neuer, Draxler and Gomez all on the treatment bench. However, there is still plenty of talent in the squad, with the likes of Muller, Sane, Schurrle, Kroos and Khedira likely to take to the field. No Boateng at the back may also mean that the Germans are vulnerable to pace in defensive situations, and that’s one area in which England are strong on the break.
Neither side will be able to field the same line up as their last friendly or competitive international, and both managers are likely to give game time to fringe players and new call ups as the game wears on. English eyes will be on Jermain Defoe as he returns to the international fold for the first time since 2013, while German fans will be keen to see RB Leipzig’s young star Timo Werner who could earn his first international appearance. A good atmosphere and two teams looking for bragging rights could lead to an open and entertaining game.
Germany and England to Draw
Wednesday 22nd March, 19:45 GMT
Germany v England – Both teams to score
Wednesday 22nd March, 19:45 GMT