Having come through their test against Poland on Friday, Germany now top Group D and have the chance to further cement their place at the summit with another three points up for grabs against Scotland on Monday.
The result and performance against the Poles in Frankfurt was very pleasing with Mario Götze in particular reminding people of the immense quality he possesses. At times the football produced was back to the quality that saw Germany crowned World Champions back in the summer of 2014.
Bayern Munich’s Götze has started just one of the Bavarian’s three Bundesliga matches this season, but he sent out a clear message to Pep Guardiola and the watching public that he perhaps deserves more action with a two-goal display that was very nearly a hat-trick display.
Joachim Löw’s side now sit two points ahead of Poland and know that victory in Glasgow will go a long way to seeing them once again finishing top of their qualifying group. A tricky away trip to the Republic of Ireland follows in October before they finish with what should be a straightforward home game with Georgia.
Scotland however, will be desperate themselves for something from Monday’s game following their disappointing trip to Georgia on Friday when Gordon Strachan’s men came away with a 1-0 defeat from Tbilisi. That puts them fourth in the group on 11 points- three behind second placed Poland, who they host in October.
The Scots gave Germany a real game a year ago in Dortmund in what was their first competitive match since the glory of the Maracana. The World Champions were pushed all the way by Scotland and Ikechi Anya’s 66th minute equaliser looked to have given his side at least a point.
However, Thomas Müller hit his second of the night minutes later and was then denied a hat-trick by the post in stoppage time. The Scots however, have won all three of their homes games so far in Group D and with the passionate Tartan Army behind them, should prove a stern test for Germany.
Scotland have no new injuries to contend with following their game with Georgia, so Gordon Strachan could go with the same XI.
It appears that despite a bang on the foot and his early substitution against Poland, Karim Bellarabi will be fit for selection against the Scots. Ilkay Gundogan’s impressive display after coming on the second half means the Dortmund midfielder is pressing his case for a start. Joachim Löw could give Emre Can another chance to impress at right-back.
Scotland won: 4 Germany won: 7 Draws: 5
Last match: Germany 2 (Müller 18,70) Scotland 1 (Anya 66) (07/09/2014)
Shaun Maloney– Even though he plays in England’s second tier with Hull City, Maloney remains a key part of Scotland’s attacking plans. The former Chicago Fire player has scored four goals in qualifying so far from his seven appearances (the pick of which was the winner against Ireland) and provided two assists. He’ll be involved in any set-pieces Scotland get in and around the German penalty area.
Mario Götze– The scorer of the magic goal in the World Cup final was once again the hero on Friday with his double salvo against Poland. The first was an individual Messi-esque run which produced a fine finish, before he later snapped up a second following up Thomas Müller’s shot. There is no doubting Götze’s quality, he is now enjoy the confidence of Joachim Löw and the chance to show it.
What they’re saying:
Gordon Strachan: “I don’t see us making loads of chances against Germany. We have to get better passes and crosses in and if we do get a couple of them then we can take our chances and score. We are not going to play for a point but that would keep everybody still in it, that’s for sure.
“But you don’t know what’s going to happen elsewhere. You never know, on Monday night at 12 o’clock we might all be feeling a wee a bit different or it might be another battle on our hands with two games left”.
Joachim Löw: “The Scots lost to Georgia and so at home, if they want to have a chance of qualifying, they must invest a bit more in attack. So we don’t expect to have such defensive opponents as with Poland. We succeeded with a series of combinations and a great positioning game to beat them [Poland].
“We will remain equally focused in Scotland. We wanted to take that risk with our full-backs operating high so as to stretch the Poles because normally they are good at shutting down their defence.”
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