Ahead of another round of World Cup Qualifiers, GGFN’s Jon Mackenzie provides a preview of today’s match between San Marino and Germany.
The German team are sitting comfortably at the top of group C, having won all three of their games so far without conceding. What is perhaps most notable about this match, against the groups minnows, San Marino, is that it offers Miroslav Klose a managerial debut. The Germans will be hoping for a comfortable victory and the chance tuo introduce new talent into the side: Joachim Löw has called up uncapped trio of Serge Gnabry (Werder Bremen), Yannick Gerhardt (VfL Wolfsburg) and Benjamin Henrichs (Bayer Leverkusen) for the occasion.
San Marino are without a win in 125 competitive games. They recorded another defeat in their last match against Norway eventually running out 4-1 losers despite levelling the scoring after Norway went ahead. In the end, substitutes Adama Diomande, Martin Samuelsen and Joshua King struck three goals in the last 14 minutes to deny San Marino a first World Cup qualifying away point in more than 15 years: Mattia Stefanelli’s equaliser was their first away goal in World Cup qualifying since a 1-1 draw in Latvia on 25 April 2001.
Head to Head
It should come as no surprise that the Germans have won both previous meetings between these two sides. With an aggregate score of 19 goals for and 0 goals against, Germany are the clear favourites. In qualifying for Euro 2008, Germany inflicted record 13-0 defeat on San Marino away from home before going on to win the return game 6-0.
Germany: Die Mannschaft is riddled with injury problems for Friday’s game with Manuel Neuer (virus), Jerome Boateng (groin and right knee) and Toni Kroos (fractured foot) all missing from the squad. Since the squad was announced, Julian Draxler and Julian Brandt have also dropped out to injury or illness, although Löw has not moved to replace them. Mesut Özil is being rested for the fixture.
San Marino: As ever, San Marino will be turning to 40 year old striker Andy Selva to lead their front line. The veteran forward is the top scorer in their squad with eight goals and bears the auspicious honour of being the only player to have scored more than once for the team. 23-year-old striker Mattia Stefanelli will be hoping to change that and build on his goal against Norway. The team will be captained by 34-year-old defender, Alessandro Della Valle.
Short of calling a win for Germany, it is almost impossible to predict how the match will unfold. The Germans will want to use the occasion as an opportunity to score a number of goals, although their manager has cautioned them from keeping the 13-0 record at the forefront of their minds. That said, the match may be treated as a training exercise for Germany who are likely to field a young side, perhaps even giving debuts to the uncapped players in their squad. In either eventuality, the German fans will expect their team to score freely and another double-figure target is not out of the question.