Tournament favorites Germany kick-off their Euro 2016 campaign against European minnows Ukraine in the Stade Pierre-Mauroy stadium on 12th June. The powerhouse of European football are the runner-up of last European Championship organized in Poland and Ukraine, the latter being their rival in the first group game. Although Die Mannschaft were beaten bitterly in the final game against Spain, they paraded on to win World Cup, two years later, and are in contention to win this edition of European Competition.
Germany have significant change from the team that won World Cup, with captain Philip Lahm taking retirement immediately after the tournament and his fellow compatriot Per Mertesacker doing the same and retire from international duties. Although Germany are unlikely to miss the presence of the giant defender, they will certainly feel the sheer class and the leadership qualities of the Bayern Munich man.
The World Champions will also be without the services of Borussia Dortmund pair, Marco Reus and recent Manchester City acquisition Ilkay Gundogan. Many Germany fans were heart broken by the absence of the duo in this summer’s tournament, particularly Reus, but the bright side for the Die Mannschaft is that they have won World Championship in 2014 without the presence of the players.
Speaking about Ukraine, the joint-host of the last European Championship will be heading into the battlefield being heavy underdogs. This is mainly, for the absence of quality players coupled with their lack of experience at major tournaments (highlighted by the fact having failed to qualify last two editions of the World Cup and their only one Euro appearance as a host).
Ukraine have, in recent past have developed reputation for having meaner defence, but the friendly-game loss against Romania, where they shipped in four goal, raised doubt about their defensive potential. If they are to have any chance against Germany, the primary thing to do will be tightening of their leaky defence.
Match: Germany Vs Ukraine (European Championship, Group stage)
Date: Friday, June 13, 12:30 (IST Time)
Venue: France, Stade Pierre-Mauroy stadium
Germany Vs Ukraine TV Details: Sky sports (UK viewers) BT Sports, beIN Sports Australia, ESPN/ ESPN HD/ Sony Six (Indian Viewers)
Germany Vs Ukraine Live Commentary: goal, talksport, tunein radio
Germany Vs Ukraine Live Stream: To watch this match live click here
Germany Vs Ukraine Form Comparison
Form-wise, Germany do not have overwhelming record, having lost two of the last four game, against England with scoreline 3-2 and the another loss against Slovakia where they were undone by three goals of the Slovakians.
But the good thing about Thomas Muller and Co. is that the squad looks a lot better than it was few weeks ago, and their recent win against Hungary being evidence for that.
On the other hand, Ukraine will be encouraged by the fact they have not tasted defeat in any of their last five games, albeit the quality of opposition in these games are questionable.
Germany: Team News
The major decision for Low will be whether to go with Mario Gotze, doing a Lionel Messi (under Pep Guardiola), or to play conventional number nine, this time again Mario, but with different last name, the Fiorentina striker Mario Gomez.
Germany: Predicted Line-up (4-2-3-1)
Neuer – Boateng, Höwedes, Hummels, Hector – Khedira, Kroos – Muller, Ozil, Draxler- Gomez
Ukraine: Team News
Ukraine have daunting task to try and stop the march of the mighty Germany, so the whole team has to be united more than ever and hit the Low’s team on counter.
Ukraine: Predicted Line-up (4-2-3-1)
Pyatov – Shevchuk, Fedetskiy, Rakitskiy, Khacheridi – Stepanenko, Sydorchuk – Harmash, Yarmolenko, Konoplyanka – Zozulya.
Germany vs Ukraine: Head-To-Head stats
Since the turn of century, the Germans have played with their Ukrainian counterparts three times, having never tasted defeat in any of them. Ukraine can hold their head high, as two draws and a defeat against major power in European football is always a good result.
Germany vs Ukraine: Prediction
On paper, the match seems already won by the Germans, but there are always surprises in these knockout tournaments (remember Spain’s opening game loss against Switzerland in World Cup 2010). Everything will be even when the referee flows the kick-off whistle and Ukraine must be brave and have a go against their opponents.
However if we are to choose a scoreline, we would lean toward Germany
Final Prediction: Germany 3-1 Ukraine