After their shock opening game defeat to Mexico, this is now an absolutely huge game for the reigning World Cup champions, Germany, as they take on Sweden. Germany were many peoples picks to win this tournament, although not mine, I must say, but they could well face early elimination if they lose this game and Mexico beat South Korea in the early game. Germany have a very poor record in the second matches of previous World Cup tournaments, winning just one of their last six second group stage matches since 1994. Joachim Low will need his side to turn in a much improved performance on Saturday if they are going to win this match and keep their World Cup hopes alive.
Germany were pretty rotten against Mexico in their opening match and there have been plenty of calls for Low to drop underperforming Arsenal midfielder, Mesut Ozil, from the starting line up. I have written before about how I believed that leaving Leroy Sane out of this World Cup squad would come back to haunt Low, and that certainly looked to have come true in an opening match where they looked short of pace and quality in the attacking third. Low may well decide to make changes for this game and we could see Julian Brandt come into the starting line up after looking lively off the bench against Mexico. Germany have an excellent recent record against Sweden and are unbeaten in their last seven matches against their fellow Europeans.
Sweden beat South Korea 1-0 in their opening match in a fairly low key affair settled by a second half penalty from Andreas Granqvist. Sweden were never really challenged by a South Korean side who failed to have a single shot on target in the match and you have to imagine that they will face a much tougher task against Germany on Saturday. Sweden came into this World Cup in poor form, with just one win in seven matches and you feel as though they could well struggle against Germany in Sochi.
Germany have to get back to winning ways against Sweden on Saturday and I’m backing them to do just that. Sweden didn’t look like a side who will cause many sides problems during their 1-0 win against South Korea and even though Germany were poor against Mexico, they should have too much ability for this rather one paced Swedish side. I’m backing Germany to pick up a fairly comfortable victory in this one and keep their World Cup hopes alive.
Betting Tips (Coral)
Germany are being heavily backed to return to winning ways on Saturday, with Coral pricing them up at 8/15 to win the match, whilst a victory for Sweden is available at 11/2, with the draw priced up at 3/1. Sweden looked fairly toothless in attack during their game against South Korea and so the 6/4 available on Germany to win to nil looks like a great bet to me. Both Teams to Score – No at 17/20 also looks like a solid bet to me when you consider Sweden’s lack of quality in the attacking third.
Germany to Win to Nil – 6/4 (Coral)
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