Key battles in the 23rd edition of the Germany – Argentina rivalry
Sportsbet.io lists the pivotal clashes of the latest heavyweight fixture between two of international football’s oldest household names.
Germany has won five of their six games so far in 2019 and starts as slight favorites against Argentina tonight. Die Mannschaft have won just two of their last five meetings with La Albiceleste and Joachim Löw, amidst the injury crisis at hand, will field a host of fresh faces in Thursday’s ‘warm-up’ game for the upcoming Euro 2020 qualifiers.
Argentina, also in a state of flux, are on a two-game winning streak and travels to the Signal Iduna Park in the first of two European friendlies in the pipeline. La Albiceleste emerged victorious in the last meeting against Germany, and coach Lionel Scaloni will hand over the goalscoring duties to Lautaro Martinez and Paulo Dybala against Die Mannschaft.
Here are the face-offs to watch out for in the upcoming showdown between international football’s eternal rivals.
NIKLAS SULE v LAUTARO MARTINEZ
In the absence of Jerome Boateng and Mats Hummels, 24-year-old Sule will lead Germany’s resistance against Argentina. The Bayern Munich defender has kept three clean sheets across all competitions this term and will have the prime task of shutting down the imminent threat of Lautaro Martinez.
The Inter Milan forward has two goals and an assist for Inter Milan so far and is poised to consolidate his impressive tally of nine goals in 13 games for La Albiceleste. Martinez is in high spirits since netting a hat-trick against Mexico in September and is poised to trouble Germany’s new-look defence line-up.
JOSHUA KIMMICH v ROBERTO PEREYRA
The versatile German has slotted into the midfield for Bayern, and Joachim Löw could likely do the same against Argentina. Although his offensive tactics will come in handy for a new-look Die Mannschaft, Kimmich will probably sweat it out against Roberto Pereyra.
The Watford midfielder received a call-up for his positive displays for the Hornets, despite their beleaguered start to the 2019-20 season. Pereyra has played five times for La Albiceleste this year, and Lionel Scaloni will bank on the 28-year-old to unleash his bag of tricks against Germany.
SERGE GNABRY v NICOLAS OTAMENDI
Bayern Munich’s in-form attacker is the odds-on favourite to open the scoring against Argentina tonight, given his rich vein of form on the domestic and international front. Gnabry has five goals in five games for Die Mannschaft and is well-placed to extend the streak against La Albiceleste in the build-up to the upcoming Euro 2020 qualifiers.
A possible thorn along the way for Gnabry will be Manchester City defender Nicolas Otamendi. The 31-year-old has kept three clean in his last eight starts for the national team and will need to put up a rock-solid performance against the rampaging threat of 24-year-old Gnabry.
Words: William Paul