Italy will be looking to avenge their Euro 2016 quarterfinal loss at the hands of Germany when they take on Die Mannschaft in Milan tonight. The game is the final fixture of the year for both sides and current England interim boss Gareth Southgate in particular will be looking at it with great interest, with Germany set to be the Three Lions’ first opponents next year if he gets the job on a permanent basis
The two sides have already met twice this year, with Germany coming up trumps on both occasions. In March, Joachim Low’s side hammered the Azzurri 4-1 in a friendly in Munich. At the European championships, the Germans prevailed 6-5 in a tense shootout, with Jonas Hector, slotting the winning penalty.
Germany v Italy at the European Championships
Low’s side go into this game on a streak of five straight wins and haven’t conceded a single goal in those five outings. They’ve found the back of the net a total of eighteen times, including an 8-0 annihilation of tiny San Marino which saw Serge Gnabry score a hat trick on international debut.
San Marino 0-8 Germany
Low fielded a youthful side against San Marino but is likely to opt for more experience against the Azzurri. However he will be without the services of injured Bayern defender Jerome Boateng, with Schalke’s Benedikt Howedes likely to start in central defence alongside Mats Hummels.
Low has also said that Bayer Leverkusen’s Bernd Leno will be under the sticks in Milan. The goalkeeper will get his first start since May, with the gaffer sticking to his word about giving fringe players opportunities. Manuel Neuer is out due to injury which gave Barcelona’s Marc Andre Ter Stegen the chance to start against San Marino. Young Yannick Gerhardt may also get the nod at left back ahead of Euro hero Hector.
With Bayern Munich taking on Borussia Dortmund this weekend in what is arguably the biggest game in the German footballing calendar, Low is also under pressure to reduce the work burden on some of his stars.
Pundits think Germany have the talent required to make it three wins this year against the Azzurri, which explains them being placed as marginal favourites. At Betfred, the Germans are being quoted at 13/8, with Italy at 9/5 and a draw at 9/4. If those odds look attractive, check out the section for free bets at SBAT.com , which shows that the bookmaker is currently offering £30 on an £10 bet.
This game is also important from another perspective- it is the latest in world football’s trial with technology and video assistant referees (VAR’s). Italy have already played a game under such conditions before- their fixture against France back in September was the first international one to feature VAR’s. (Les Bleus won 3-1)
Goals, penalties, red cards and mistaken identities (for fouls) are the four situations in which video technology can be used and should the trials be successful, we could see it in action in Russia 2018.
Italy v Germany (November 15, 2016 at the San Siro, Milan)