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Germany set to defeat England in Dortmund shootout

Goals should flow in friendly thriller

Jamie Vardy could cause plenty of problems for the Germany defence
1 of 1

International friendly
ITV, 7.45pm Wednesday 

England have recorded three consecutive away victories over Germany under three different managers, but the Three Lions' fun could end with a high-scoring defeat at Borussia Dortmund's Signal Iduna Park where the locals are used to watching goals flow.

Friendlies are not always given 100 per cent focus by Germany but it could be different this time with Joachim Low set to name as strong a side as injuries will allow - Manuel Neuer, Mesut Ozil and Julian Draxler were originally named in the squad but have been ruled out.

Germany look solid odds-on favourites to get the win but they are not watertight at the back and may struggle to stop England scoring.

The Germans have won their opening four games in World Cup qualifying group C and hold a five-point lead over second-placed Northern Ireland.

Qualification looks a formality, and Germany have no need to keep key men wrapped in cotton wool for Sunday's clash away to Azerbaijan.

Low's hand has been weakened by the withdrawal of Neuer – widely regarded as the world's best goalkeeper – but there are able deputies in the squad including Barcelona's Marc-Andre Ter Stegen, who is used to playing in big matches.

Germany have kept six consecutive clean sheets against average to poor opposition since last summer but their biggest strengths are in midfield and attack.

They lack a world-class centre-forward but versatile attacker Thomas Muller averages a goal every 2.3 internationals, Lukas Podolski will be eager to impress as captain in his last international and Manchester City winger Leroy Sane is starting to realise his huge potential.

Ozil is absent with a hamstring injury, which is a blow because he is often at the heart of Germany's best attacks. But the key to the match could be in midfield where Toni Kroos and Sami Khedira are likely to dominate.

Germany monopolise possession in the majority of their matches and are likely to be very dominant.

A lack of quality in England's midfield was the main reason Wayne Rooney played there at the start of Euro 2016. And the situation has got worse with Jordan Henderson injured and Eric Dier out of practise, having lost his regular Tottenham midfield berth to Victor Wanyama.

Dier will return to the centre of the park for England and could be assisted by either Jake Livermore or Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain, who has featured in Arsenal's midfield in recent times.

But there are a lack of midfield options for Gareth Southgate and it looks an area where the team could be horribly exposed.

England's strength is in wide areas. Full backs Kyle Walker and Ryan Bertrand love to bomb forward and Raheem Sterling is having an excellent season, having responded well to the heavy criticism he received at the Euros.

Centre-forward Jamie Vardy should get reasonable service and his confidence is returning after four goals in his last five games for Leicester.

Vardy – 9-1 to notch the first goal – looks among the most dangerous forwards on the pitch and could cause problems for a Germany defence missing the pace and power of injured centre-back Jerome Boateng.

England may score but hopes of repeating the 3-2 victory achieved 12 months ago may be ruined by a lack a quality and experience in the spine of the team.

The England back four has lacked leadership since John Terry departed the international stage and, without the energetic Henderson to afford some protection, it is likely to be torn apart.

Recommendation
Germany win and both teams to score
1pt 13-5 bet365

Bet on this match at Soccerbase.com


Team news
Germany
Mesut Ozil (hamstring), Julian Draxler and Mario Gomez are ruled out with injuries. Goalkeeper Manuel Neuer (calf) withdrew from the squad and has been replaced by Kevin Trapp. Injured trio Jerome Boateng, Ilkay Gundogan and Marco Reus did not make the original squad.

England
England are short of attacking options with Michail Antonio (hamstring) joining Wayne Rooney, Daniel Sturridge and Harry Kane on the sidelines. Jack Butland, Jordan Henderson, Danny Rose and Danny Drinkwater are also unavailable.

Key stat
England have scored in all of their last seven friendlies.

The England back four has lacked leadership since John Terry departed the international stage
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