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Wednesday, 16 January, 2019

Australia can cause young Germany problems

But Low's lads have the quality to win

Australia goalie Mathew Ryan has just signed for Brighton
1 of 1

Confederations Cup Group B
ITV4, 4pm Monday

Germany should get their Confederations Cup campaign off to a winning start but may struggle to keep a clean sheet against Australia, who tend to approach major tournaments with no fear.

Germany are still aiming to win the tournament but their chances have been reduced by a selection policy which has focused heavily on giving youth a chance.

Of the team who started the Euro 2016 semi-final against France only four players - Joshua Kimmich, Jonas Hector, Emre Can and Julian Draxler - have travelled to Russia.

Draxler, promoted to the captaincy, has the most experience in the squad with 30 caps but 15 of the 21 players have played no more than ten times for the seniors.

Joachim Low has rewarded several youngsters for strong performances in Germany's successful European Under-21 Championship qualifying campaign which yielded ten wins from ten games.

Leroy Sane, Niklas Sule, Joshua Kimmich, Leon Goretzka, Julian Brandt and Timo Werner were all included after impressing in the Under-21s, although Sane - one of Germany's most exciting young players - has had to withdraw through injury.

Despite being nowhere near full-strength, Germany possess enough quality to have a crack at winning the tournament.

But with Low juggling a mixture of fringe players and youngsters it may take him a while to settle on his best team.

They are likely to improve the longer they stay in the competition so from Australia's point of view it should be a benefit to play them first.

Australia are in a tough group but it will not be any harder than the 2014 World Cup when they were drawn alongside Holland, Chile and Spain.

 They approached that tournament positively and won a few friends despite losing all three matches.

They found the target in two of the three games and famously led 2-1 against the Dutch before going down 3-2.

Their bright performances in Brazil were enough to shore up the position of head coach Ange Postecoglou. And he rewarded the patience of the Australian Football Federation by leading the Socceroos to glory as host nation of the 2015 Asian Cup.

That was the greatest achievement in Australian football history and would only be surpassed if they can make a major impact at a World Cup.

The best effort to date was a run to the round of 16 in Germany 2006 when Tim Cahill starred, scoring two goals in a 3-1 group stage success over Japan.

Cahill is still part of the Australian setup but it is mainly a young squad with only two players aged over 30.

Australia are sure to play with a lot of spirit and energy and could trouble a German rearguard missing Manuel Neuer, Mats Hummels and Jerome Boateng.

But Germany are genuinely excited by the attacking players they have coming through and it is likely to be a busy afternoon for Australian goalkeeper Mathew Ryan, who has just signed for Brighton.

A German victory looks probable but they are unlikely to be at their best and the Aussies can grab a consolation goal.

Germany to win and both teams to score
1pt 21-10 Hills, Paddy Power

Team news
Brad Smith and Mile Jedinak had to withdraw with injuries and were replaced by Alex Gersbach and James Jeggo.

Leroy Sane and Diego Demme withdrew from the squad with injuries and were not replaced.

Key stat
Australia have scored in 15 of their last 16 matches.

Of the Germany team who started the Euro 2016 semi-final against France only four have travelled to Russia
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