Fresh from a rousing thrashing of the Republic of Ireland, Germany entertain Sweden in Berlin on Tuesday (7.45pm BST) looking to continue their excellent start to the 2014 World Cup qualification process.
Germany have had little trouble reaching recent tournaments, winning all ten of their matches in qualification for Euro 2012 and eight of ten en route to the last World Cup. Three wins from three in the current process is par de course for coach Joachim Low and his men.
The 6-1 rout of Ireland did, however, come in the midst of internal tensions arising from Germany’s inability to turn dominant qualifying campaigns and impressive football into major international honours. Their Euro 2012 semi-final defeat to Italy still rankles, the whys and wherefores of the loss still yet to be definitively understood.
Victory over a terribly substandard Ireland team has certainly not alleviated all of the lingering issues, nor does it take Germany any closer to solving their problems in tournament play. But the manner in which they swept aside their hosts was admirable, with the emergence of Marco Reus particularly pleasing.
Reus starred for Borussia Monchengladbach last season and has sparkled since joining Borussia Dortmund in the summer. He was especially excellent in their 1-1 Champions League draw away to Manchester City earlier this month. A fast, incisive dribbler who can strike the ball well off either foot, it was only going to be a matter of time before he started to make a similar impact at international level.
Two goals, one with his right, one with his left, in the victory over Ireland followed another strike in Germany’s previous qualifier, a 2-1 win away to Austria. Reus has started all three qualifiers to date and looks to have supplanted Lucas Podolski on the left flank of Germany’s 4-2-3-1 formation.
He is one of the few post-Euro 2012 changes to a settled German team who are well-drilled in their approach and enjoy an excellent understanding. With Philip Lahm back from suspension they will be at near full-strength for the visit of Sweden, although there is some concern over the fitness of midfielder Sami Khedira, who picked up a knock against Ireland.
Germany’s opponents have also begun the qualifying process well, recording two wins from two. Coach Erik Hamren continued in his role despite Sweden’s group stage elimination at Euro 2012 and there has been little change of approach from that which led them to qualify for that tournament with an average of over three goals per match.
Hamren’s Sweden are an offensive side, based around the formidable Zlatan Ibrahimovic, who has provided two assists and one goal in the campaign thus far. His 75th minute winner spared Sweden the ignominy of dropping points away to the Faroe Islands on Friday and he will again be key if they are to get something against Germany.
With Johan Elmander likely to be in contention after returning to full training, Hamren has a full squad to pick from for Tuesday’s match, but is only likely to make minor changes to his starting eleven.
Anders Svensson and Fulham’s Alexander Kacaniklic both impressed off the bench against the Faroe Islands and will be pushing for starts in place of Kim Kallstrom and Christian Wilhelmsson. Kacaniklic scored Sweden’s equaliser and is the most likely of the two to start against Germany. Elsewhere, Marcus Berg will push Mattias Ranegie for a starting berth up front.
Sweden’s formation vacillates between a 4-4-2 and 4-2-3-1 depending on the positioning of Ibrahimovic, who is given license to drop back into a number 10 role to help in the construction of play. Ireland struggled to contain Germany even with a clear three man midfield and Sweden look ripe to be out-numbered in the centre of the park.
Germany v Sweden Betting Tips Conclusion
Germany were imperious at home in qualification for Euro 2012, winning all five matches and scoring an average of 4.4 goals per match against opposition that included Belgium and Turkey. They are undefeated in their last 13 major tournament qualifying matches at home, winning 12 of them.
Sweden (best odds of 13/1 with Pinnacle) are likely to be a little too open for their own good and we can therefore see Germany continuing their excellent home record on Tuesday.
- Best odds of 3/10 for the home win are not particularly attractive, so we would suggest instead backing Germany -1.5 goals on an Asian Handicap @ 860/1000 with Ladbrokes. Those odds are better than 4/5 and a shade shorter than 10/11.
- We would also fancy this to be relatively high-scoring match, so bet on over 2.5 goals @ 4/6 with Blue Square.