?Germany host Serbia in an international friendly at Volkswagen Arena on Wednesday night as both sides prepare for their respective Euro 2020 qualifying matches.
The home team will travel to the Netherlands for their first clash on Sunday, whilst the Serbs face Portugal on Monday evening in Group B. Both managers will be using the midweek friendly as an opportunity to try out new players and tactics before they begin their respective qualifying campaigns.
Joachim Löw’s men are still reeling from their World Cup nightmare and have yet to regain their once-scintillating form since returning from the tournament. In contrasting fashion, their opponents have been unbeaten since their exploits in Russia, a 2-0 defeat to Brazil in the group stages being their last loss.
Here is all you need to know ahead of the encounter in Wolfsburg.
Where to Watch
|?When is Kick Off?
||?Wednesday 20 March
|What Time is Kick Off??
|?Where is it Played?
|?TV Channel/Live Stream?
||?Sky Sports 1
Löw made headlines at the start of the month with his announcement that Bayern Munich stalwarts Thomas Müller, Mats Hummels and Jerome Boateng would no longer be considered for selection.
Cologne defender Jonas Hector, Schalke midfielder Sebastian Rudy and Borussia Dortmund playmaker Mario Gotze have suffered a similar fate after also being omitted from the coach’s most recent squad. Paris Saint-Germain’s Julian Draxler is unavailable due to injury.
Defensive duo Niklas Stark and Lukas Klostermann have received their first senior call ups, as has Werder Bremen midfielder Maximilian Eggestein, after the youngsters managed to impress in the Under-21 setup.
Aleksandar Kolarov has recovered from a knock to be named as Serbia’s captain for this week’s international match-ups. Official leadership roles have also been handed to Ajax’s Dušan Tadi? and Manchester United’s Nemanja Matic.
Fulham hitman Mitrovi? is once again selected as he looks to continue his rich vein of form for the Balkan side. Highly-rated Lazio midfielder Sergej Milinkovi?-Savi? is also in the squad, with the 24-year-old having enjoyed a superb season in Serie A.
||?Ter Stegen; Kehrer, Ginter, Süle, Rudiger, Schulz; Kimmich, Kroos; Gnabry, Sane, Werner
||?Rajkovi?; Rukavina, Milenkovi?, Veljkovi?, Kolarov; Milinkovi?-Savi?, Mati?, Luki?; Tadi?, Ljaji?, Mitrovi?.
Head to Head Record
This is just the third meeting between Germany and Serbia, with the record currently reading one victory apiece.
In their last encounter it was the Serbians who emerged victorious, shocking their opponents 1-0 in the group stages of the 2010 World Cup in South Africa. Then-Liverpool forward Milan Jovanovi? grabbed the only goal of the game, beating Manuel Neuer close to half time.
That breakthrough came moments after Germany’s talismanic striker Miroslav Klose had been sent off for a dangerous lunge in what was a decidedly forgettable match for the favourites. Lukas Podolski also missed a penalty that day, compounding an awful showing from the Germans.
Two years prior they had won 2-1 in an international friendly at the Veltins Arena, with a late winner from Michael Ballack seeing his side home.
Germany have failed to move out of the shadow cast by their shambolic World Cup exit, continuing to struggle under intense scrutiny and criticism. Repeating their summer failure, the 2014 world champions came bottom of their UEFA Nations League pool over the autumn, unable to claim a single win.
They conceded twice late on to the Netherlands to forfeit a two-goal lead in their last match, ultimately drawing the game 2-2. That result followed up damaging defeats to the same opponents and France, completing a torrid 2018 for the nation.
A slim victory over Peru and a 3-0 drubbing of Russia – both of which were friendlies – are their only successes in recent fixtures, a record they must improve upon with critical qualifying matches to come.
The Eagles have fared much better of late, topping their Nations League group and seeing out the rest of the calendar year without a loss. However, they were competing in the third tier of the new tournament.
Nevertheless, triumphs over Lithuania and Montenegro, and a pair of draws against Romania, have left the Serbian camp in a buoyant mood. Their defence was impressive during that spell, as Mladen Krstaji?’s team conceded just four goals across the six games.
Striker ?Aleksandar Mitrovi? stood out in those matches, netting six times to take his tally of international goals to 23.
Here’s how the two sides fared in their last five fixtures:
|?Germany 2-2 Netherlands (19/11)
||?Serbia 4-1 Lithuania (20/11)
|?Germany 3-0 Russia (15/11)
||?Serbia 2-1 Montenegro (17/11)
|?France 2-1 Germany (16/10)
||?Romania 0-0 Serbia (14/10)
|?Netherlands 3-0 Germany (13/10)
||?Montenegro 0-2 Serbia (11/10)
|?Germany 2-1 Peru (09/9)
||?Serbia 2-2 Romania (10/09)
?German football has endured one of its darkest periods in the last 12 months. The national side recorded their worst ever World Cup performance, whilst this week confirmed that the ?Bundesliga will have no representatives in the ?Champions League quarter-finals.
The visitors will look to take advantage of Germany’s low confidence, viewing this fixture as an excellent opportunity to claim a scalp. Pressure will certainly be on the hosts and they could wilt in a suffocating atmosphere.
Recent displays suggest that an upset could be on at the Volkswagen Arena, with this being a period of transition for the Germans. Don’t be surprised to see Krstaji?’s side claim a famous victory.
Prediction: Germany 0-1 Serbia