Three things to watch out for when Germany clash with Hungary

On Wednesday evening, Germany will face Hungary at the MHPArena in Stuttgart as Julian Nagelsmann’s side look to build upon their remarkable 5-1 opening day victory over Scotland. In what was a dominating display by Germany to kickstart Euro 2024, it would be fair to say that a precedent has been set as similar performances will now be expected of them. 

However, Hungary pose a whole different threat than that of Scotland. With two current RB Leipzig stars in Péter Gulácsi and Willi Orbán, as well as former Leipzig midfielder Dominik Szoboszlai, Germany will be well aware of the quality that Hungary possess. 

Therefore, when the two lock horns on Wednesday, what can we expect to see from the hosts?

More “Wusiala” magic

On the opening day against Scotland, Florian Wirtz and Jamal Musiala were simply breathtaking. With questions being asked regarding whether the pair could truly work together in the same team, the answer provided was quite emphatic.

A consistent threat from the first whistle, the movement offered by the pair off the ball left the Scottish rearguard bamboozled at the best of times. Then, when they had the ball at their feet, there was a sense that something magical was about to happen.

While the Bayern Munich and Bayer Leverkusen starmen both registered a goal each, with six successful dribbles and a 97% pass accuracy, as per FotMob, the pair were unplayable. Therefore, against Hungary, further magic will be expected, and if Germany are to lift silverware on July 14, then they will undoubtedly have “Wusiala” to thank.

Questions to be asked of Germany’s backline

While the midfield and attack shone brightly on Friday evening, there was less to be said about Germany’s backline. At full-back, Joshua Kimmich and Maximilian Mittelstädt both provided attacking threats, with the former claiming an assist, but defensively, they were hardly tested.

Antonio Rüdiger’s unfortunate own goal was a blight on the overall performance, but in truth, there was little the Real Madrid defender could do. However, it is unlikely that the German backline will have the same leisurely night out as they did against Scotland.

With Rüdiger and Jonathan Tah only having to put in one tackle all game between them, it is expected that Hungary will ask further questions of them. As well as this, with Manuel Neuer facing criticism in goal prior to the tournament, it will be an opportunity to see whether the Bayern shot-stopper is truly at the top of his game. 

A truer indication of Germany’s ability

As previously mentioned, Germany’s backline was hardly tested against Scotland. However, in reflection, Germany as a whole were hardly tested against Scotland.

From the first whistle, the hosts took control of the game, while Steve Clarke’s side just sat off and allowed Germany to attack at will. With Wirtz opening the scoring after ten minutes, the floodgates opened, and Germany were ruthless.

Nevertheless, despite Hungary collapsing in the first half of their encounter with Switzerland, with an abundance of attacking threat spearheaded by Liverpool’s Dominik Szoboszlai, more will be expected of Hungary. As well as this, prior to the start of Euro 2024 and before they shipped three goals to Switzerland, Hungary had only conceded two goals in the previous five fixtures.

Should they hold the hosts at bay for at least the first 30 minutes, a truer indication of Germany’s ability may be on display. Whether Nagelsmann’s side will start to panic or whether they stick to their game plan would make for interesting viewing, but either way, they should not have it all their own way like they did against Scotland. 

GGFN | Will Shopland

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