I, along with the majority of German supporters, should be sending a massive congratulations and case of “We’re glad you proved us wrong” to Jogi Löw. Start as you mean to go on, Germany.
These two sides come into this vital Group G match on opposite ends of the emotional spectrum. Germany after their biggest-ever win against Portugal and Ghana having lost in the final moments of their opener vs. USA, to the Bundesliga’s own John Anthony Brooks. Löw’s team will look to qualify for the knockout stages with a second win from as many games and hope to emulate the impressive performance against Portugal.
All week long Germany’s players and backroom staff have been speaking of a need to calm down and keep concentrating after the incredible demolition of Portugal. But with the toughest opposition of the group vanquished, there is no time to take things for granted, especially with the team’s poor record traditionally in the second group stage match.
It’s expected that Germany will field a very similar side vs. Ghana, from the one that began the tournament. With Mats Hummels expected to miss the game through injury, Löw will likely not make any changes to the winning formula aside replacing the Borussia Dortmund defender. Philipp Lahm will continue in midfield while the trio of Thomas Müller, Mesut Özil and Mario Götze should start up front.
Ghana have their tournament hopes hanging by a thread. Having made the quarterfinals in 2010, their fans were hoping for a similar feat in Brazil, but the loss to USA means they must pick up points in this Saturday’s clash otherwise face an improbable scenario against Portugal on the final matchday.
Ghana could make a few changes following the loss to USA, with Kevin-Prince Boateng and Michael Essien expected to return to the starting line-up, having made big impacts vs. the Americans. Gyan is likely to lead the line once again, and will be itching to get on the scoresheet after setting up André Ayew to open his account on Monday.
Germany will face a slightly different opponent in the Black Stars. Whereas Portugal are quick on the counter, Ghana are a more physically imposing team which could challenge Löw’s side. The Ghana game will be a true litmus test of the team’s level of performance at this tournament.
Ahead of the match, Löw gave his take on the Ghana game, the tactics and the in-form Thomas Müller:
The game against Ghana: “Our opening win was very good and very important but we have to follow it up now. With a win we can get to the next round. Whoever takes their foot off the pedal loses in this tournament.”
The situation ahead of the match: “For Ghana it’s already going to be like a final. They’re going to fight until the end. If they don’t win, it’s going to be really difficult for them.”
Potential playing time for Mats Hummels: “He hasn’t been 100% fit so far. He is going to do the final training with us and then we’ll see.”
Potential alternatives in defense: “We can also play Jerome Boateng in the middle and then use a new player on the right. Or we can use Matthias Ginter or Shkodran Mustafi at center-back.”
On hattrick hero Thomas Müller: “He is unpredictable for opponents and always good for a goal. He is very important and has a positive personality.”
Germany: Neuer – Boateng, Mertesacker, Mustafi, Höwedes – Lahm, Khedira, Kroos – Götze, Müller, Özil.
Ghana: Kwarasey – Opare, Mensah, Boye, Asamoah – Atsu, Essien, Muntari, Ayew – Boateng – Gyan.
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