Scotland and world champions Germany kick-off their Euro 2016 qualifying campaign this evening at Dortmund’s Signal-Iduna Park.
The visitors have a major task on their hands getting anything from the game against the newly crown world champions.
Tonight’s clash will be Germany’s first competitive game since beating Argentina 1-0 in July to win the World Cup.
However, they have since played a friendly international against the Argentines and suffered a 4-2 home defeat.
There were mitigating circumstances to that defeat, including the fact that Joachim Low’s team were not at full strength for the fixture.
The Germany boss also experimented with the formation and new players in defence.
The likes of Per Mertesacker, Miroslav Klose and World Cup winning captain Philip Lahm have all called time on their international careers. All three will be missed and the Germans will now need to find suitable replacements.
That meaningless friendly aside and Germany have been formidable in qualifying for major tournaments. More often than not the Germans make it through to tournaments at a canter and very rarely lose.
Nobody can doubt the quality within their ranks or their efficiency at making it to the major tournaments.
Despite Germany appearing to be a formidable team, Scotland could be meeting them at just the right time. With those retirements Die Mannschaft boss Low now has to find players to replace key players.
That means there could be a bit of chopping and changing in their line-ups in the next few months, especially in defence where Mertesacker has been a mainstay stay for many years. The versatile Lahm has also played much of his international football at full-back, although he has been used as a defensive midfielder in recent times.
The defence that appeared against Argentina are by no means watertight, as the result proved. Scotland may not have great players, but they do have some players that could cause their host some problems.
Scotland head into this clash on the back of a six match unbeaten run. That run included wins over Croatia, Norway and Poland. Boss Gordon Strachan seems to have re-instilled the belief back into the players, after the team went through a decline.
Strachan has the team working hard and producing decent results. The former-Celtic boss will know that at least they will be getting the toughest game of the group out of the way first. Even if they do suffer defeat they will still have a decent chance of qualifying for Euro 2016.
Germany seems to have produced an endless conveyor belt of quality players in recent years. However, at the moment a number of their first team players are struggling with injuries and knocks.
Germany will definitely be without Sami Khedira, Mesut Ozil and Julian Draxler, while new captain Bastian Schweinsteiger is also a major doubt with a knee injury. Centre-backs Mats Hummels and Jerome Boateng are also injury doubts.
That means that the centre-back pairing of Benedikt Howedes and Matthias Ginter are likely to start the game. The pair did not look convincing against Argentina, but the South Americans do have some world-class attacking players.
Scotland does not quite have the same standard of player available to them, but with uncertainty in that German defence the visitors may just be able to capitalise.
Despite Germany’s injury problems they have been able to welcome back dynamic Dortmund forward Marco Reus into the team, after he missed the World Cup through injury.
Scotland are massive odds of 18/1 to claim a historic victory and that seems like a very unlikely outcome from this clash. However, with Germany currently looking unsure in defence and struggling with a few injury problems, who knows Scotland may just be able to sneak something from the game, even if it is only a draw.
Can Scotland cause a shock in Germany?
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