Germany Preview Part 1

Let’s start with a fact that I’ve not seen anywhere else. Yet.

We have never beaten Germany at Wembley since their re-unification in 1991. The record since then includes four defeats in six games and a goal difference of -4, with the Germans scoring in every single encounter we’ve had since the Berlin Wall came down.

In fact, the only time we’ve ever beaten Germany on English soil was in December 1935:

Germany had been beaten semi finalists in the 1934 World Cup but the team that arrived in London almost eighteen months later contained only four players that went on to feature in their suprise 2-0 defeat quarter final by Norway in the Berlin Olympics a few months later. Despite their amateur status, Reinhold Munzenberg, Ludwig Goldbrunner and Ernst Lehner are still widely acknowledged as being German footballing legends. The fourth – midfielder Rudi Gramlich – was eventually honoured as a Vice President by his club Eintracht Frankfurt, but that title was stripped posthumously at the start of 2020 when researchers discovered Gramlich had been a member of the SS and an active Nazi.

To put that result into perspective, Eddie Hapgood, Stanley Matthews, Raich Carter, George Camsell and Cliff Bastin were in the England team; Camsell – who scored twice in a comfortable 3-0 win – still holds the highest goals to games ratio in England goalscoring history: a remarkable 18 goals in nine games between 1929 and 1936. And if you didn’t know Sir Stanley Matthews retired from playing First Division football just after his 50th birthday, you do now.

Back to tomorrow’s game now: how do Germany look at the moment?

The Nationalelf have been less than impressive recently. They’ve only won half of their last ten games keeping only two clean sheets in that sequence and they failed to score against Spain and France as well as losing to North Macedonia. A lot of this inconsistency was down to Joachim Loew’s not knowing what his best team was before the finals began and the defeat to the Macedonians only exacerbated that issue. Only Matthias Ginter and Serge Gnabry have started in those last ten games and in total 32 players have been involved since the game against Ukraine last November. That situation seems to have stabilised for this tournament as ten players have started all three games but even given that the number of subs has now been increased, I still thing using eighteen players in just three games is excessive, considering that’s only produced one win.

Germany seem to be at their most effective in attack between 15 minutes and an hour into the game. They’ve scored 68% of their goals in the last the last ten games within this time frame, including all four in their win against Portugal ten days ago. Timo Werner, Kai Havertz and Ilkay Gundogan have all scored three goals but so far only Havertz has scored at the Euros and Germany’s leading goalscorer at Euro 2020 is Own Goal with two.

Defensively they are most vulnerable at the start of the first half and especially after a hour has gone: over 40% of the goals they’ve conceded since last November have been in the last fifteen minutes, including Andras Schaefer’s sensational effort for Hungary in the last group game.

I don’t think this is a vintage Germany side at all. It’s Loew’s farewell tour anyway and there was some consternation in the German footballing press when he decided to stay on for this tournament: so far Germany have been outclassed by France, went behind to Portugal before turning in what might be described as a vintage performance against the winners of Euro 2016 and then struggled against a Hungarian side that was only eight minutes away from beating them. However, this makes them unpredictable – a word that cannot usually be used to describe the Germans. It also makes them potentially dangerous than any of the teams we’ve faced so far.

I’ll be back tomorrow with a similar preview for England.