England vs. Germany – The Preview

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Last month, Writing Fussball reviewed the incredibly successful 2018 World Cup qualification campaign for the German National team. On Friday, Joachim Löw’s men will look to build upon their stream-rolling form when they pay a visit to Wembley.

The two countries last met in March at the Signal Iduna Park, where a single goal from the retiring Lukas Podolski saw Germany come out on top. We have to go back forty-two years, to March 1975, to find the last time England beat Germany on home soil, when the Three Lions ran out 2-0 winners in London.

Captain Manuel Neuer continues to be Löw’s only long term injury headache. The Munich stopper is aiming to return in the early stages of the Rückrunde. Marc-André ter Stegen remains as more than suitable cover. However it would be farcical of Löw not to further audition Bernd Leno or Kevin Trapp, especially after the news that red hot Harry Kane will be sitting out with a knee injury.

Leipzig’s Marcel Halstenberg has been given his first call up and will join Marvin Plattenhardt in jostling for the second left-back slot in the squad. With Jonas Hector on the injury list until mid-December, this is a prime opportunity for Halstenberg and Plattenhardt to state their claim.

It’s a welcome return to the side for Mario Götze and İlkay Gündoğan, who are looking for their first slice of international action since November 2016. Götze is well on the way back to his best, racking up four assists in twelve appearances so far this season. He could be a shoe-in to start, as Thomas Müller misses out with a knock. Gündoğan is yet to break into the Manchester City starting eleven, but the former BVB man is definitely in Pep Guardiola’s plans, making six appearances coming off the bench in the Premier League and a further three in Europe.

The other short-term absences are Shkodran Mustafi, Serge Gnabry and Leon Goretzka.

For Gareth Southgate’s side, things are looking rather bleak. The squad appears to be thinning daily. Liverpool captain Jordan Henderson misses out, as well as the in-form Manchester City pair of Raheem Sterling and Fabian Delph. Just yesterday it was announced that Dele Alli and Harry Winks would also be unavailable.

However, the most severe blow has to be Harry Kane. The striker is having a sensational run of form at present, scoring thirteen goals in fourteen appearances in all competitions. Without Kane, Southgate will turn to Jamie Vardy to lead the line. Whilst not as prolific as his Spurs counterpart, the Leicester striker does have six goals to his name this season. He’ll be supported by Marcus Rashford and Swansea’s Tammy Abraham, the latter of which will be hoping for his senior debut.

Along with Abraham, there are also first time call ups for Joe Gomez and Ruben Loftus-Cheek. Southgate’s options are severely limited, especially when you look at the impressive depth of Löw’s squad. The Sun suggested that Emile Heskey could be in the mix for a recall.

Friday night will also see the first professional outing of the VAR system in the UK. A fitting fixture for the debut – flashes of the 1966 final and 2010 round of 16 come to mind.

On the eve of Armistice Day, both sides will sport black armbands with poppies for the match. The FA and DFB will host a period of silence before kick-off. Regardless of result, a meeting between the two rivals is always an intriguing affair. With both managers set to experiment, will we see unassuming individuals step up and grab the brass ring, as we surge ever closer to Russia?

England: Hart, Butland, Pickford, Walker, Bertrand, Jones, Cahill, Stones, Gomez, Keane, Maguire, Trippier, Rose, Livermore, Dier, Lingard, Young, Loftus-Cheek, Cork, Vardy, Rashford, Abraham.

Germany: Trapp, Leno, ter Stegen, Süle, Plattenhardt, Ginter, Hummels, Rüdiger, Boateng, Kimmich, Halstenberg, Khedira, Draxler, Kroos, Özil, Can, Götze, Brandt, Gündoğan, Rudy, Sané, Wagner, Werner, Stindl.

Tom Scarborough | @tomscarb_REF