Friday 10th November. 8PM. ITV 1
The final international break of 2017 has arrived and, with just seven months to go until the big kick-off in Russia, England and Germany begin their preparations for next summer’s World Cup by renewing one of football’s great rivalries.
A big Wembley crowd will be expected to watch Gareth Southgate’s men test themselves against the World Cup holders. With it being such an important weekend, the Three Lions will want to give the fans something to remember. It certainly won’t be easy, but it should be a great opportunity for England to find out where they are currently at.
For once, we could be set for a decent friendly at Wembley.
Southgate Forced To Try New Faces
Last month, Southgate openly admitted that some players were only called up due to a long list of absences. Those sentiments certainly ring true once more as no less than seven players pulled out with injuries. However, that should give some of the fringe players a chance to stake a claim against one of the best sides on the planet, which should spark huge motivation from the hosts.
Debuts could be handed to the likes of Jordan Pickford, Tammy Abraham and Joe Gomez at some stage, although Southgate is most likely to start with a team of stars looking for a starting place next summer. The goalkeeper situation is a real sticking point, and Jack Butland could be set to take the gloves from Joe Hart in what could be a forecast of what’s set to happen in Russia.
While this is a far less experienced England team than it could’ve been, there is a good chance for Southgate to try out what could be his first-choice defence over the next couple of games. Realistically, Chris Smalling is the only potential starter that has missed out on the squad. Having said that, Gary Cahill may be rested until the Brazil game after sitting out of Thursday’s training.
England arguably look a little light up top, especially with Harry Kane, Raheem Sterling and Dele Alli all missing. However, we know that England can hit teams on the counter. If Harry Winks and co. can show maturity against the World Cup holders, it’ll be a success regardless of the result.
Germans Out For A Hat-Trick
Germany started 2017 with a home win over England in a glorified Lukas Podolski testimonial, and will be eager to repeat the feat with another triumph in this reverse clash. If they do grab a victory, it will be their third in three visits to the new Wembley, after they also beat the Three Lions in the final clash at the old ground.
If that doesn’t keep the visitors motivated, a chance for fringe players to cement their place in Joachim Low’s plans certainly will be. The Nationalelf squad certainly boasts more experience than the England team, especially in the midfield area thanks to the inclusion of Mesut Ozil, Sami Khedira, Toni Kroos and Mario Gotze. Still, there’s a huge chance for players like Sandro Wagner and Leroy Sane to underline their importance here.
RB Leipzig man Timo Werner is perhaps the man who will be most eager to put in a big performance. The 21-year-old has six goals in eight caps and is already pushing to become Germany’s central striker for many years to come. A goal at Wembley certainly won’t do any harm.
After winning the Confederations Cup with a rotated squad, the Germans won’t exactly be worried about missing a few players here. If they are up for it, Southgate’s men could be set for tough night in the capital.
England v Germany Betting
Even at Wembley, it’s Germany who enter Friday’s showdown as the firm favourites at Evens with Ladbrokes. The bookmaker has established England as 12/5 underdogs while the draw can be backed at 11/5.
It wouldn’t be crazy to think England can win this one, but Germany are rightly considered the favourites and possess the quality to carve the hosts apart.
If anyone is likely to punish Southgate’s rotated side, though, it will probably be Werner. He might have failed to score in March’s meeting, but we expect him to put that right here.
England’s attacking absences cannot be overlooked either. Given that they often lack quality in the final third anyway, there’s a good chance that this will see them struggle to create chances against the solid Germans.
Even without Manuel Neuer, the visitors are more than capable of a clean sheet. Back them to win via a shutout.