Germany play their last International game of 2018 to end a horrible footballing year when they host Netherlands at the Veltins Arena in Gelsenkirchen on Monday night. Germany who won the 2014 World Cup in Brazil had a dreadful campaign defending their trophy losing 2 of their 3 group games and only scrapping a 2-1 win over Sweden in the second game. The team has yet to really kick on thereafter, recording 2 wins, 2 losses and a draw in the 5 games played since the end of the World Cup.
Die Manncshaft are bottom of Group 1 in League A after picking up only 1 point from 3 games played so far. The Netherlands 2-0 win over France on Friday was Didier Deschamp’s team’s first loss since winning the World Cup and that condemned Germany to relegation meaning Joachim Low’s side have nothing to play for on Monday except pride and will start the next UEFA Nations League season in League B.
The Oranjes are a team on the rise following failure to qualify for the last two major International tournaments. That culminated in the retirement of some established players like Arjen Robben, Robin Van Persie and Wesley Sneidjer while Ronald Koeman replaced Dick Advocaat at the helm.
Ronald Koeman has rebuild the entire side nearly from the ground up giving preference to young players like Matthias De Ligt and Frenkie De Jong. Ryan Babel is the only player aged over 30 in the Dutch squad. The Netherlands defeated Germany in the reverse fixture 3-0 in October. Lyon’s Memphis Depay ran the French ragged and scored the winning goal at the death after he had been brought down in the box by Moussa Sissoko. The current Dutch team are not yet up there with the great Dutch teams of old but are gradually now churning out impressive performances. They have 6 points from 3 games in the group and 3 wins, 2 draws and a loss from their past 6 games.
15 of the previous 41 games between these two have ended in draws while the Netherlands have won on 11 occasions and lost 15 to the Germans. Goals from Wijnaldum, Depay and Van Dijk ensured a comprehensive thrashing of Die Manncshaft last time around at the Johan Cruyff Arena.
Jerome Boateng is missing in action for Germany while Julian Draxler is also out. Relegation may mean Joachim Low affords fringe players another opportunity to showcase their talent. Serge Gnabry and Leroy Sane may continue on the wings after their outing in the German’s 3-0 win over Russia on Thursday while Joshua Kimmich may continue in midfield following the 3-4-3 formation deployed against the Russians. Matt Hummels, Toni Kroos and Marco Reus should also return after sitting out Thursday’s victory.
Koeman has a full squad to choose from and is unlikely to make changes to a winning team. Any changes will be few as confidence and understanding between players will be key in the early stages of a rebuilding process.
The Netherlands need a draw to reach the finals while Germany are only fighting for pride. A win for Netherlands will ensure they finish the group on top with 9 points. So, Ronald Koeman and his men have a huge reason to want to go all out. Joachim Low and his team are playing on home turf and that should ensure they don’t end on the losing side. This has all the makings of a score draw.