Spain vs. Germany: Winner Takes All in Group 4
Two of Europe’s top teams will come together Tuesday in what could be a deciding game for League A’s Group 4. The teams are currently both at the top of Group 4, with Germany holding a one point lead over the Spanish. Matchday five held different destinies for both teams.
While Germany decidedly defeated Ukraine 3-1, Spain had to take advantage of a Switzerland red card to save a draw vs. the Swiss team currently sitting in last place. Going into the game both teams boast high odds, as USA sportsbooks are split with no consensus on a favorite.
For Spain, this is a must win game in order to top the group tables, whereas Germany will need only a draw for promotion.
Spain: Looking to Finish it at Home
Despite the team being in second place, Spain has looked far from being the dominant team we might have imagined them to be in this group.
The team beat Ukraine 4-0, however every other game has been either a draw or a difference of one goal.
The Spanish team is heading into the matchup with Germany without winning either of its last two games and has only won one game by more than a goal.
Spain 1, Germany 1
Spain 4, Ukraine 0
Spain 1, Switzerland 0
Ukraine 1, Spain 0
Spain 1, Switzerland 1
There are a couple of factors that improve the outlook for this upcoming matchup, which will be the most important one so far.
The game will be taking place in Seville, Spain, which is great news for the team, as the Spanish team is unbeaten in the group when playing their games at home.
In fact, the team has yet to give up a goal at home with a goal difference of 5-0.
One other thing is quite important for Spain, or rather one man Sergio Ramos. The Real Madrid and Spanish captain has played all five games for the team, with two goals and helping to keep two clean sheets.
Ramos has far and away more National Team caps than anyone who will be on the field, and will bring much needed experience and confidence to a group deciding game.
Spain Lineup and Path to Victory
We can be sure of two starters at the keeper and center back positions going into this game. Barring any injuries, fans can expect to see both Ramos and Manchester United keeper David De Gea starting the game for the Spanish.
If midfielder Sergio Busquets is available, it is likely we will see him in a starting spot as well though his status is still questionable.
Both teams will have a long list of notable exceptions from the UEFA Nations League competition, including three of Spain’s top strikers. The bulk of the attacking play will fall on the shoulders of Juventus’ striker Alvaro Morata, who is having a great start to the season with six goals for the Italian club.
The striker will have to combine his good hold up play against strong German centerbacks with class finishing that we know the striker can display.
Morata is an excellent header of the ball, which will be absolutely necessary as we expect most of the offense to move forward through the wings, due to a less than impressive midfield.
Mikel Oyarzabal has played three games in the group for Spain and has scored once. Despite being only 23, the Real Sociedad Captain has more than proved himself and was just named La Liga’s Player of the Month for October. Expect lots of balls crossed in from the wing and Morata finishing at least one of them.
Notable Absences: Diego Costa, Rodrigo, Isco, César Azpilicueta, Daniel Carvahal, Jordi Alba
Germany: Through Changes Stillon Top
The German squad has come into the tournament in much of the same way as the Spanish. It has been able to stay on top of the group in large part due to the strength and depth of its squad. However, the matches we have seen played have not shown us complete dominance of the team.
Like Spain, the team has only one game which they have won by more than a single goal. Lackluster indeed it must be said, as two draws to the last-placed Swiss have given Spain a chance to take the group away from them.
Germany 1, Spain 1
Germany 1, Switzerland 1
Germany 2, Ukraine 1
Germany 3, Switzerland 3
Germany 3, Ukraine 1
The German team’s first win against Ukraine proved something that may be vital to the upcoming meeting with Spain, that the team is able to perform well and win away from home.
The squad has also not lost any of the five previous matches in the group, which against Spain on Tuesday will be enough to take the group.
What may worry the Germans is the added confidence to the Spanish team due to the nature of their draw in the previous matchup. Spain will be looking for the win, and scoring the tying goal in the 97th minute should carry over some momentum for the Spanish.
Germany Lineup and Defensive Focuses
With the German team only needing a draw to win the group, the focus will be heavily put on the centre back duo along with longtime goalkeeper Manuel Neuer.
The Bayern Munich and German legend will certainly be starting between the posts, however the 34-year-old may not inspire much confidence after conceding five goals in the three he has started.
Both centre backs as well as the midfield will need to step up in order to contain the Spanish attack going forward, and especially to stifle striker Alvaro Morata.
Notable Absences: Julian Draxler, Joshua Kimmich, Antonio Rüdiger, Kai Havertz, Marc-André ter Stegen, Thomas Müller
Both defenders Ginter and Sule have adequate experience playing for the National Team, and should provide the experience along with Neuer at the back. The absence of both Joshua Kimmich and Antonio Rudiger will be worrisome for the team, as the list of missing players for the Germans is even longer than the Spanish teams.
The place where Germany should have the most benefit is on the counterattack, which is deadly fast. The pace of each player in the front three will allow the rest of the team to play more defensively without taking much away from the offensive potency.
Timo Werner will play a critical role in commanding the offense, as his speed and pure class of finishing has led to four goals in the five games he has played in the competition.
Final Thoughts and Prediction
If Germany is able to hold the possession for most of the game and give the front three or Goretzka attacking opportunities, they should be able to pull out the draw needed to win the group.
However, an unconvincing backline and a shaky Manuel Neuer in goal could be all Spain needs to take the group for themselves.
Especially with the current form of Oyarzabal and Morata. Seeing as that is the case, Spain does admittedly look the team with the stronger chances going into Tuesday’s game.
It is hard to see either team pulling away and winning by more than one goal however, if that.
More than likely, both teams will score, but neither will be able to ultimately pull ahead. Expect a repeat of the team’s previous matchup minus the late-game drama.
Prediction: Spain 1, Germany 1