Monday’s clash at Wembley sees two sides very much in needs of a confidence boost following disappointing results on Friday in the Nations League. England were looking to make amends for their abysmal display against Hungary last June and return to the sort of form that saw them reach the European Championship final.
Alas, for Gareth Southgate’s team they suffered a 1-0 defeat in Milan to Italy and remain bottom of the Nations League group A3. This means regardless of what happens against Germany, they are condemned to relegation to tier B. A stunning strike from Giacomo Raspadori in the 68th minute lit up a rather drab affair at the San Siro to give Italy the win.
Germany also lost 1-0 on Friday in a rather shock defeat to Hungary. Bundestrainer Hansi Flick had been unbeaten up that point with the Nationalelf and the Germans had enjoyed a perfect win streak of eleven games whilst previously playing at the Red Bull Arena in Leipzig.
A well-rehearsed corner kick in the first half finished skilfully by captain Adam Szalai was enough to seal the win for Hungary with Germany very ineffective as an attacking unit. Despite a second half improvement, the hosts were just not up to cracking the Magyar defensive set-up.
Both England and Germany therefore will want to see a drastic improvement on Monday when the ‘old enemies’ meet at Wembley. Games between the two nations always carry a bit of extra spice, but the situation they both find themselves in means that a win is all the more vital this week.
Midfielder Jack Grealish is suspended after picking up a yellow card in stoppage time at the San Siro. His Manchester City teammate John Stones however returns from a ban that kept him out of the Italy match.
Gareth Southgate also has the experienced Jordan Henderson available and pushing for selection after recovering from a hamstring injury. With nothing to lose because they are already relegated, the England manager may opt to give newcomers Tammy Abraham, Ivan Toney and Jarrod Bowen a chance to start against the Germans.
Possible starting line-up: Ramsdale; Stones, Dier, Walker; Trippier, Rice, Bellingham, Chilwell; Mount; Kane, Sterling
The harsh yellow card picked up by Antonio Rüdiger means he is ruled out of the trip to Wembley. The inform Freiburg defender Matthias Ginter could get a call-up to start, or Hansi Flick may opt to go for a Borussia Dortmund centreback pairing of Niklas Süle and Nico Schlotterbeck.
There may be a change in goal after Marc-Andre ter Stegen deputised for the Covid positive Manuel Neuer. Kevin Trapp is third in line in the German goalkeeping hierarchy. The experiment of using Jonas Hofmann at right back won’t be repeated meaning a probable start for Thilo Kehrer following his substitute appearance on Friday.
The ineffective front four against Hungary is likely to be given a shake-up with Kai Havertz ready to start and Jamal Musiala also looking to come in from the start. Lukas Nmecha won’t feature as he has left the squad with a knee complaint.
Possible starting line-up: ter Stegen; Kehrer, Süle, Schlotterbeck, Gosens; Kimmich, Gundogan; Musiala, Müller, Sané; Havertz
What they’re saying:
Gareth Southgate: “I’m not the first coach to go through a difficult time in terms of results and criticism. That is part of the territory. For me, it’s a great challenge to lead the team through a moment like this. You are not going to have six years as we’ve had without a spell where you are going to have some tough results, and you’ve got to show resilience to come through those moments.”
“The results haven’t been at the level we want, that we require, so no matter what job you have in football that would be the case. Of course with the national team that noise is going to be louder and more widespread – I understand that. I’m not hiding from it. We are not enjoying it but we have to keep doing the right things every day to keep improving.”
Harry Kane: “We know results haven’t been what we wanted. As a group we know what we’re about and will fight through a tough period. Full house at Wembley against Germany will be great World Cup preparation.”
Raheem Sterling: “It’s been a tough period but I don’t think any of the boys will be thinking that we don’t have a good chance in the winter – that’s the belief that we have as a group. The results don’t show that right now but I strongly believe, with the boys, that when we go over there in the winter that we’ll have a good one. There’s no need to panic. These results are bad but we’ve got good things to come.”
Hansi Flick: “It [England already being relegated] doesn’t change anything. I expect every single player to push themselves. Only then will we get the conviction and the quality that we need on the pitch. It should spur everyone on to give everything they have on Monday and to use the six weeks after that to be as well prepared as possible. We need to ensure that we are better over the 90 minutes against England.”
23.09.22 Italy 1 England 0 (Nations League)
14.06.22 England 0 Hungary 4 (Nations League)
11.06.22 England 0 Italy 0 (Nations League)
07.06.22 Germany 1 England 1 (Nations League)
04.06.22 Hungary 1 England 0 (Nations League)
29.03.22 England 3 Ivory Coast 0 (Friendly)
23.09.22 Germany 0 Hungary 1 (Nations League)
14.06.22 Germany 5 Italy 2 (Nations League)
11.06.22 Hungary 1 Germany (Nations League)
07.06.22 Germany 1 England 1 (Nations League)
04.06.22 Italy 1 Germany 1 (Nations League)
29.03.22 Netherlands 1 Germany 1 (Friendly)
The reverse back in June in Munich ended in a 1-1 draw with Harry Kane’s 88th minute penalty rescuing a point for England after Jonas Hofmann had put Germany into the lead with a good finish five minutes into the second half. It was Kane’s 50th goal for his country and denied Germany the three points they were so close to securing.
Players to watch:
There will be changes to the starting line-up, but Jude Bellingham will be desperate to start and show what he can do against many of his club mates and fellow Bundesliga stars. The midfielder is a key member of the Dortmund side and a real leader despite his young age. His performances week-in, week-out for his club are just raising his market value and impressive displays on the international stage will add even more value to an already shooting star.
It will be an emotional occasion for Jamal Musiala as he faces England at Wembley. The English FA will be kicking themselves that they lost the tug of war over the Bayern Munich prodigy as he represented them from U-15 level right through to U-21 level.
Born in Stuttgart, Musiala moved to England aged seven and spent his formative years in the Chelsea academy. A move to Bayern in 2016 followed and with the return to the land of his birth came the decision to represent Germany at full international level.
England’s loss is very much Germany’s gain.