Germany lifted the most prestigious prize in football four years ago, and entering the 2018 World Cup they were touted by the bookies as the second favourites to lift it again. That price has significantly lengthened now though, and it’s all because of their torrid display against Mexico on Sunday.
The usually stalwart German defence was exposed time and time again on the break by the pacey Mexicans, and it came to a head when a quick ball from the back was played into Javier Hernandez. The West Ham striker left Mats Hummels for dead with a smart pass and turn, and the young Hirving Lozano took the chance coolly, evading the backtracking Mesut Ozil and smashing it past Manuel Neuer.
It was more of the same for the rest of the match. Joshua Kimmich and Marvin Plattenhardt were regularly found stranded up the pitch, leaving Hummels and Boateng to deal with all the counter attacks that came their way. Germany did come close to equalising a few times, but in the end it was a deserved loss for Joachim Low’s side.
The frustration was so great that Hummels even came out in the press after the game to complain about both Low’s tactics and his teammates performances, a rant that can’t be good for already fractious team spirits in the German camp. Things don’t look good for them right now.
This downfall isn’t entirely new though. Germany have only won one of their last seven matches, and they have conceded in 13 of their last 16 outings overall. Usually they score as well, of course, but the vulnerability of their defence is plain for all to see.
Sweden will be hoping to take advantage of that. They managed a deserved 1-0 win over a feckless South Korea side in their opening game, limiting them to just two shots on goal and none on target. That is unlikely to be replicated against a Germany side who have scored in 17 of their last 20 games, but given Germany’s frailties at the back they will fancy their chances of getting a goal.
This makes Both Teams to Score look a fantastic bet here, and we also like Sweden’s chances of getting something. They have only lost two of their last nine matches and are facing a German side who have been out of sorts this year. Backing a Sweden Win or Draw Double Chance looks a good shout as well, along with a 1-1 correct score predictions.
Germany Predicted Lineup: Neuer, Kimmich, Boateng, Hummels, Plattenhardt, Goretzka, Kroos, Muller, Ozil, Reus, Werner
Sweden Predicted Lineup: Olsen, Lustig, Jansson, Granqvist, Augustinsson, Claesson, Larsson, Ekdal, Forsberg, Toivonen, Berg
Germany have won five of their last seven meetings with Sweden, drawing the other two. They last met in the World Cup in 2006, with Germany coming out of that game 2-0 victors thanks to a brace from Lukas Podolski.
Joachim Low could be tempted into changing things up after a terrible performance against Mexico, with Julian Brandt in prime position to come into the starting lineup after an impressive showing from the bench on Sunday. Leon Goretzka will also be hoping for a start.
Sweden are unlikely to make any changes from the side that beat South Korea last time out, although they could potentially drop one of their two strikers for a more conservative lone striker approach.