Competition: European Championship
Fixture: Germany v Ukraine
Date: Sunday, June 12, 2016
Venue: Stade Pierre-Mauroy, Lille
Kick off time: 9:00 pm, local time
World Champions Germany will begin their run in the Euro Cup 2016 on Sunday night, as they face Ukraine in the Group C.
Germany’s form: W-L-W-L-L
When they won the World Cup in Brazil back in 2014 after a sensational performance, they clearly sent out a strong message to others that they are here to dominate. Joachim Low has got himself a pretty impressive squad, which certainly makes his team one of the favorites to win the tournament. In the previous editions of the Euro Cup, they have certainly gotten close to lifting the trophy for the fourth time, but had to settle for the runner-up place in 2008 and third place in 2012.
Despite finishing the Qualifiers on the top place with 22 points, their performance was something which wasn’t expected by many. They had lost to Poland and Republic of Ireland, in addition to being held to a goalless draw by the latter at home. They carried on the same stigma in the international friendlies too, as they lost to France, England and Slovakia. Seeing that they lost to two of the big teams in the Cup, with their defeat to The Three Lions coming after they were up by 2-0 in the match, it is certainly something which will be on Low’s mind.
His preferred formation is usually 4-2-3-1, which has been working fairly well for him. However, his experiments with other tactics such as 3-4-3 or 4-3-3 in the recent friendlies may see him resorting back to this line-up. Although he is missing his key striker Marco Reus who succumbed to injury before the tournament, the spectacular talent which he has in the 23 man squad should be sufficient to fill the void.
Ukraine’s form: W-W-W-W-D
This team may be low on experience, but has definitely got a lot of vigor and passion in them to make up for it. They finished at the third place in the Group C of the qualifiers, which resulted them competing in the playoffs for a ticket to France. They faced Slovenia in the playoffs, whom they defeated by 3-1 on aggregate.
Their performance in the other matches has been quite impressive, which is the reasons why they are ranked at the 19th place in the world. Prior to coming in France, they played in four friendlies which they ended up winning. They defeated Cyprus and Wales by 1-0 each, and proceeded to defeated Romania by 4-3. Their last match was against Albania, whom they defeated by 3-1.
Mykhaylo Fomenko has got a well disciplined squad which capitalizes on counter-attacks and looking for chances, even if it means only one opportunity in the entire game. They have got a pretty intact defense which and do not concede goals that easily. Like Low, Fomenko too prefers the 4-2-3-1 formation, and given the abundance of international caps in the center midfield, they certainly do pose a challenge for other sides to score.
The 20 year old Viktor Kovalenko has also been highly impressive with Shakhtar Donetsk, which is the reason why he was called upon for the national side. They will also be on the prowl for the free kicks, which their captain Ruslan Rotan specializes in taking.
Key Players and Team News:
Germany: On paper, the backbone of the team is certainly one of the strongest in the competition. But as their recent defeats has shown, their tactics still need some work. Toni Kroos and Sami Khedira will be the crucial players playing at the center back like they have been doing so. Mesut Ozil too has been quite crucial in team’s performance in the matches and he will definitely be brought in the starting XI. However, the inclusion of Bastian Schweinsteiger in the squad despite an injury hit season with Manchester United may be a bit of concern.
Mario Gomez will be their key goal scorer, alongside with Thomas Muller, considering that the duo have been in good form in the recent few weeks.
Ukraine: Their hopes will be relying on Andriy Yarmolenko and Taras Stepanenko, who are the reasons for Ukraine’s qualification this season. Sevilla man Yevhen Konoplyanka too has been quite good with the ball, as he found his name on the scorecard, along with being the play maker for the team. Kovalenko’s inclusion in the team means an added boost of much needed pace in the midfield.Their defense looks particularly solid, seeing that four of them have got a good number of international caps to keep their prospects of getting clean chit alive.
Germany have got an immense amount of experience and talent on their side, which is why they will be the favorites to win here at 4/7. You can also expect Thomas Muller to strike a goal at anytime during the match at 11/10.