Despite it being a midweek friendly that many will immediately dismiss, I’m excited about this game. Sweden have picked a strong squad, and Germany are always determined and competitive. Also, this game gives Joachim Loew a chance to see which of Germany’s younger stars will be able to make the step up to the international level. Mario Gotze, Marcel Schmelzer, Andre Schuerrle and Lewis Holtby are all set to win their first caps, and it’s going to be interesting to see where Joachim Loew sees them all fitting into his tactical setup. Will Holtby find himself competing with Thomas Mueller for a spot on the right wing? Will Mario Gotze challenge Mesut Ozil for his spot in the side? All remains to be seen. It’s at least some kind of gauge as to the (positive) direction Germany are heading in. The future looks bright.
Germany will setup as usual, with Joachim Loew making substitutions on the fly as players tire. The German head coach has announced that any player who does not start will come on, so everyone will get a chance to play. Here’s what Loew will probably start with:
Neuer – Beck, Westermann, Mertesacker, Boateng – Khedira, Schweinsteiger – Marin, Kroos, Holtby – Gomez
Since Thomas Mueller, Mesut Ozil, Philipp Lahm, Arne Friedrich, Sascha Riether and Lukas Podolski are all set to miss out, Loew will have to field some of the German national team’s fringe players, who will relish the chance to shine under very little pressure. Big things will be expected from Marko Marin and Toni Kroos, who are around that age where becoming a regular national team player is a priority.
Sweden head coach Erik Hamren has picked a side with a good mix between experience and youth. HSV’s on-loan star Marcus Berg will be given the chance to shine alongside Ola Toivonen, who has been great form with PSV this season. In midfield, Sweden are quite combative with the likes of Sebastien Larsson, Rasmus Elm and Pontus Wernbloom in there. The creative force will be Lyon’s Kim Kallstrom, who will need to be watched closely by Sami Khedira. In defense, Sweden are pretty thin. Andreas Granqvist and Daniel Majstorovic will be the center-half pairing, but other than that they’ve got very little. A quick turn of pace or a slick bit of passing will likely rip this defense to bits, so there should be goals here.
Isaksson – Wendt, Majstorovic, Granqvist, Lustig – Kallstrom, Wernbloom, Elm, Larsson – Toivonen – Berg
Their 4-4-1-1 formation will be compact and defensive, but down the flanks they’ve got a bit of technique and up top they’re dangerous. Still, Germany should breeze past their northern opponents and record a comfortable win. Hopefully some of Germany’s debutants can grab a goal too!
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