Sports Mole previews Sunday’s UEFA Nations League clash between Switzerland and Germany, including team news and predicted lineups.
Switzerland kicked off their campaign with a 2-1 defeat to Ukraine, while Germany suffered last-minute heartbreak against Spain as they were forced to settle for a draw on Thursday evening.
Switzerland got off to the worst possible start in the 2020-21 Nations League as they suffered a narrow defeat to Ukraine in a fixture which provided a trio of memorable goals.
Andriy Yarmolenko‘s backheel gave the hosts the lead after just 14 minutes before Haris Seferovic lashed in the equaliser for Switzerland just before half time, but it would be another Premier League Ukrainian who would decide the game as Oleksandr Zinchenko‘s delightful curler condemned Switzerland to defeat.
Vladimir Petkovic‘s men would have no doubt felt that a clash with Ukraine possibly represents their most winnable game of the group stage, but there is still plenty of time for Switzerland to turn their fortunes around despite the calibre of their opponents.
Petkovic’s side were just pipped to third place in the 2018-19 edition as they lost to England in a penalty shootout, although it would take something quite spectacular for Switzerland to top the group and advance to the finals this time around.
Meanwhile, Germany looked on course to take all three points in their clash with Spain, but Joachim Low‘s men were undone by a Jose Gaya equaliser five minutes into injury time after Chelsea’s Timo Werner had opened the scoring.
The stalemate means that Germany are still searching for their maiden victory in the Nations League having drawn two and lost two of their fixtures in the 2018-19 edition.
Despite a lack of Bayern Munich and RB Leipzig players following their European exploits earlier in the summer, a team of Die Mannschaft’s quality will no doubt be setting their sights on a finals run, and recording their first three points against Switzerland this weekend will therefore be of paramount importance to Low.
Switzerland and Germany have not locked horns since a 2012 friendly, where Die Mannschaft ultimately ended up on the wrong side of an eight-goal scoreline as Switzerland recorded a thrilling 5-3 victory.
Incredibly, Sunday’s meeting will represent the first competitive clash between the two sides since the 1966 World Cup, where a Franz Beckenbauer double inspired West Germany to a 5-0 triumph in the group stage.
Switzerland Nations League form: L
Switzerland form (all competitions): WLWWWL
Germany Nations League form: D
Germany form (all competitions): WDWWWD
Celtic new boy Albian Ajeti came off the bench for the final 20 minutes of Switzerland’s defeat to Ukraine, but should Petkovic opt for a one-man strikeforce once again, it is difficult to see Seferovic dropping out of the side.
However, given the quick turnaround in fixtures to contend and the strength of their opponents, Petkovic must strike the right balance between freshening the team up and avoiding disrupting the harmony.
As far as Germany are concerned, Die Mannschaft have confirmed that Kai Havertz has left the team camp with a move to Chelsea now confirmed.
Low may decide to revert to a back four with a victory in their sights this weekend, which could see Julian Brandt come back into the fold on the left-hand side.
Switzerland possible starting lineup:
Sommer; Akanji, Elvedi, Rodriguez; Mbabu, Xhaka, Aebischer, Benito; Embolo, Seferovic, Vargas
Germany possible starting lineup:
Leno; Kehrer, Ginter, Sule, Gosens; Kroos, Neuhaus; Sane, Draxler, Brandt; Werner
We say: Switzerland 1-2 Germany
Both teams are undoubtedly far from their best having just made the return to international football, but Germany were incredibly unlucky not to take all three points against Spain in midweek. Had it not been for a star-studded performance from David de Gea, Low’s men could have easily scored quite a few more on the night, so we are backing Die Mannschaft to scrape a narrow victory and kickstart their Nations League campaign this Sunday.
Top betting tip
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