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A real test for Hodgson’s players

Last updated: March 25, 2016 by Leon Marshal

Game details

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Kick-off: Saturday, 7:45pm
Venue: Olympiastadion Berlin
Coverage: Sky Sports 1, BBC 5 Live
Home form: LWLWW
Away form: WLWWW
Last meeting: 1-0
Competition: Friendly match

It’s been 8 years since England’s last visit to Germany. It was a friendly game and the fans can still remember the result – 2-1 in England’s favour. Matthew Upson and John Terry scored the goals for The Three Lions. The last victory for England in a competitive match against Germany was 15 years ago when The Three Lions achieved their most impressive victory over The Mannschaft at the Olympiastadion (5-1). But, Germany usually give England no chances when the battle is at a major tournament. For example, there was only one victory for The Three Lions in World Cups against The Germans – the win in the final of 1966, which is still the most important event in the history of English football!

There are lots of games that still anger me when I take a look back in history. For example, do you remember Frank Lampard’s disallowed goal in the World Cup 2010 1/8 finals? I am sure you do! The Germans also beat us 3-2 after extra time in the 1970’s World Cup. They have also been lucky, beating us twice on penalties in major tournament semi-finals.

However, the number of victories for England and Germany in the Head to Head battle is equal (including the friendly games) – 12 wins for The Three Lions against 12 victories for The Mannschaft. There have also been 5 draws.

The match is going to be a great test for the players of both teams, three months before the start of The UEFA Euro 2016 in France. Roy Hodgson has already named his squad for the match and we can see that there are no surprises at all.


Roy Hodgson’s choice

To begin; the goalkeepers Hodgson has chosen are the best in The Premier League. Jack Butland has shown great consistency in his performance for Stoke City this season. He is the main reason for the Potters good results. Fraser Forster has also been brilliant recently. While, for me personally, Joe Hart isn’t at the level he showed last season. So, the question is; will Hodgson play Butland against Germany?

We also see no surprises in the choice of the defenders. Ryan Bertrand of Southampton is having a solid season, so the left back can be among the starting eleven. He is now experienced enough and has already won 7 caps. All the centre backs, Hodgson has called up, are not having their best season. Gary Cahill is not persuasive enough. When John Stones has played for Everton, the club has conceded twice as many goals as opposed to matches he hasn’t been selected for. Chris Smalling and Phil Jagielka are also inconsistent. So, it will be a mistake whoever Hodgson picks as a centre back.

In my opinion, Kyle Walker has recently shown better performance than Nathaniel Clyne and deserves to be among the starting eleven against Germany.

The only player who still has not tasted international football is Danny Drinkwater, who could make his debut for The Three Lions. Leicester City’s midfielder is having a great season. He is a key part of the club’s incredible season. For sure, Drinkwater deserves his call-up. Hodgson is expected to give him a chance, but I think he will use him as a substitute.

Liverpool’s duo in the midfield – James Milner and Jordan Henderson are the key to the Merseysiders successes this season. They can be included in the starting line-up by the manager. Eric Dier can be selected as a defensive midfielder. Tottenham’s player has taken part in 30 of 31 Premier League games for Spurs this season. He has also scored 3 goals. And, of course, I am sure that Hodgson won’t forget about Ross Barkley and his amazing form this season. Barkley is making all Everton’s attacks look dangerous. He has developed his great technique, pace and shooting, so he will be a reasonable choice for Hodgson.

As England’s top goal-scorer Wayne Rooney is injured, Roy Hodgson can easily put Harry Kane and Jamie Vardy in front. Daniel Sturridge, Theo Walcott and Danny Welbeck will surely remain on the bench. Of course, Rooney will resume full training within a couple of weeks, so he will surely make his return for England at The Euro 2016. Harry Kane has scored 5 goals in the last 3 Spurs’ matches. After his two goals against Bournemouth in the last round, Kane became the league’s top goal-scorer with 21 goals.

Can Jamie Vardy finally put his name onto England’s score-sheet? The forward has been outstanding all season long and now he must prove his qualities in an England shirt. His place in the squad for The Euro 2016 is still not guaranteed and he will need to show his pace and finishing skills against Germany and Holland in the next two games for England. So, Vardy should take advantage of Rooney’s absence and score at least once in the next two matches.

We can say that the clubs, which are represented by the biggest number of players are Liverpool (5) and Tottenham Hotspur (5), while the leaders in The Premier League – Leicester City are going to be represented by only 2 players (Vardy and Drinkwater).


The opponents…

But let’s take a look at The German squad. Neuer has no replacement for his position. The German goalkeeper has again been outstanding in his performance for Bayern Munich. Joachim Low is expected to play Hummels, Hector, Rudiger and Mustafi in defence. The youngster Tah, who has made a real impression in Leverkusen’s colours can also be used by the manager. His call-up is due to Howedes’ and Boateng’s injuries. Juventus’ midfielder Khedira has recently been brilliant, so he will be on the pitch against England. Mesut Ozil is the other key midfielder for The Mannschaft. Ozil is the assists-leader in The Premier League this season (18). The third centre midfielder for Low is expected to be Kroos. Real Madrid’s midfielder has always played at top level and has proved he is trustworthy.

Marco Reus and Thomas Muller will be the wingers for The Germans, while the attacker will probably be Mario Gomez, who has scored 19 goals in 26 matches for Besiktas this season.


Key battle

Harry Kane should be the key player for England. The forward is in top form. He can’t stop scoring and Kane will be a target for lots of crosses into Germany’s penalty area. It will be a real nightmare for Germany’s defenders if Kane plays at his top level. In addition, Tottenham’s attacker has already scored 3 goals for England in 8 matches, so he will have the needed confidence.

Mats Hummels, who is physically a strong defender will have to keep Harry Kane quiet. It will be a difficult task for the German centre back, but he already did it once in The Europa League earlier this season (but Kane stayed on the pitch for only 15 minutes, because he was a substitute player in the match). Because of Hummels’ great performance in defence, Borussia Dortmund have conceded only 26 goals in The Bundesliga this season (the second best defence in the league).


At both ends…

No matter this is a friendly game, we are going to see a great battle between Germany and England. The match is really important for the players, because if they show their best, they can be selected in the squad for The UEFA Euro 2016 in France. So, the fans should expect quality attacking football with the best players in the world on the pitch.


The Squads:

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Goalkeepers: Manuel Neuer (Bayern Munich), Bernd Leno (Bayer Leverkusen), Ter Stegen (Barcelona), Kevin Trapp (Paris Saint-Germain);
Defenders: Shkodran Mustafi (Valencia), Jonas Hector (FC Cologne), Sebastian Rudy (Hoffenheim), Mats Hummels (Borussia Dortmund), Emre Can (Liverpool), Matthias Ginter (Borussia Dortmund), Antonio Rudiger (Roma), Jonathan Tah (Bayer Leverkusen);
Midfielders and Forwards: Sami Khedira, Bastian Schweinsteiger (Manchester United), Mesut Ozil (Arsenal), Andre Schurrle (Wolfsburg), Lucas Podolski (Galatasaray), Marco Reus (Borussia Dortmund), Thomas Muller (Bayern Munich), Max Kruse (Wolfsburg), Toni Kroos (Real Madrid), Mario Gotze (Bayern Munich), Cristoph Kramer Bayer Leverkusen), Julian Draxler (Wolfsburg), Mario Gomes (Besiktas), Karim Bellarabi (Bayer Leverkusen), Kevin Volland (Hoffenheim).
Head coach: Joachim Low
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Goalkeepers: Jack Butland (Stoke City), Fraser Forster (Southampton), Joe Hart (Manchester City);
Defenders: Ryan Bertrand (Southampton), Gary Cahill (Chelsea), Nathaniel Clyne (Liverpool), Phil Jagielka (Everton), Danny Rose (Tottenham Hotspur), Chris Smalling (Manchester United), John Stones (Everton), Kyle Walker (Tottenham Hotspur);
Midfielders and Forwards: Dele Alli (Tottenham Hotspur), Ross Barkley (Everton), Eric Dier (Tottenham Hotspur), Danny Drinkwater (Leicester City), Jordan Henderson (Liverpool), Adam Lallana (Liverpool), James Milner (Liverpool), Raheem Sterling (Manchester City), Harry Kane (Tottenham Hotspur), Daniel Sturridge (Liverpool), Jamie Vardy (Leicester City), Theo Walcott (Arsenal), Danny Welbeck (Arsenal);
Head coach: Roy Hodgson

Head to Head

Last 5 meetings between the two sides
Date Competition Game Result First Goal-scorer
19/11/13 Friendly England 0-1 Germany P. Mertesacker 39′
27/06/10 World Cup Germany 4-1 England M. Klose 20′
19/11/08 Friendly Germany 1-2 England M. Upson 23′
22/08/07 Friendly England 1-2 Germany F. Lampard 9′
01/09/01 WQE Germany 1-5 England C. Jancker 6′