England vs Germany preview, betting tips and prediction: Die Mannschaft to give Southgate food for thought at Wembley
Germany to win 2-0
Germany to win and Leroy Sane to score first
As usual ahead of the World Cup, England have scheduled a couple of friendlies to test themselves against two of the favourites in Russia. First up, Gareth Southgate’s men face Germany at Wembley, adding a new chapter to an eternal rivalry that has defined football in both countries. After Joachim Low’s men have been and gone, there is the small matter of a Brazil side rejuvenated after a disappointing World Cup campaign on their own patch. That ended with a 7-1 semi final defeat to England’s next opponents, who went on to lift the trophy for the first time in 24 years.
Can we read much into friendly games? Perhaps not, but it may give an indication of how Southgate will approach competitive games next summer. The young England boss has taken some risks with his squad selection for these two games, and they have a real chance to impress. Lethargic displays against weak oppositions in an easy qualification group which was won will not fly against Germany, even in a game with nothing riding on it other than pride.
It will be a tight game, but Germany have looked typically efficient in front of goal in their recent games and they should edge it.
On paper, England look in good shape, they won their last four games in qualification to secure a place next summer as group winners. But three wins by one goal, against poor teams in comparison to Germany, do not bode well. A late Harry Kane goal secured a 1-0 win at home to Slovenia last time out, but even in the win over Malta in September, which looked very comfortable at 4-0, flattered to deceive with three goals coming late in the game. The 3-2 loss at France in June is probably a better representation of how England come into this game.
Germany have both played tougher opponents and looked a lot stronger in recent games. They won ten games from ten in qualification, scoring 39 goals and conceding just 4. A recent 3-1 win over Northern Ireland was particularly impressive; while at times they haven’t looked ready to defend their crown, winning the Confederations Cup in Russia this summer suggests they are getting closer to their top level. It will be a necessarily tough game for the Three Lions at Wembley on Friday; Kane will be expected to continue his excellent club form this season.
Gareth Southgate has not been afraid to mix things up with his squad selections, and this one is no different. After giving Harry Winks a first call up after just four appearances for Tottenham, Southgate has called up Joe Gomez after a string of decent performances at right back in the absence of Nathaniel Clyne at Liverpool, Tammy Abraham and Ruben Loftus-Cheek, who have both impressed in loan spells from Chelsea, at Swansea and Crystal Palace, which is great news for the Blues. They are unlikely to start, with Raheem Sterling in such good form at Manchester City and Kane leading the line.
For Germany, Mario Goetze and Ilkay Gundogan have been recalled to the squad as they prepare to face England and then France next week. The pair have not featured internationally since November 2016; Manchester City man Gundogan is one of five Premier League based players in the squad. RB Leipzig defender Marcel Halstenberg could earn his first cap.