Monday, May 22, 2017

Prediction: Germany vs Ukraine

Verdict: Ukraine not to lose

Best Odds: 5/4

Bookmaker: bet365

World Cup holders Germany may be the favourites to win Group C, but with so many injury problems ahead of their opening fixture, Die Mannschaft will have to work hard to ensure a strong start to the competition. Ukraine, on the other hand, are at full strength and determined to prove they have what it takes to mix it up with the best of them in Europe.

Germany

Germany have experienced all sorts of problems after winning the 2014 World Cup in style, but even though they are clearly not in the best shape, Die Mannschaft remain one of the main candidates for the Euro 2016 trophy. Joachim Low’s charges have failed to impress in the final warm-up games, defeating Italy and Hungary, but losing to England and Slovakia, with all four fixtures played on home soil. The manager has been experimenting with his formations and starting line-up, and the fact that he still has quite a few doubts with regards to his strongest XI is a serious issue. Injuries to important players Ilkay Gundogan and Marco Reus only add to the problems, with Antonio Rudiger the latest player to miss out on the tournament finals. Taking also into account that Bastian Schweinsteiger and Sami Khedira are not fully fit and that Mats Hummels misses the opening game, we have serious doubts as to whether Germany will be able to justify the favourites’ tag against very good Ukraine side. Following all those withdrawals, Die Mannschaft now also lack quality back-up options, and that could cost them dearly in the latter stages.

Team News

Marco Reus, Ilkay Gundogan and Antonio Rudiger all miss out through injury, with Jonathan Tah called to replace the AS Roma defender.

Mats Hummels is unavailable for the Ukraine game as well, and Shkodran Mustafi is tipped to replace him in the starting line-up.

Ukraine

Ukraine ended their play-off curse in the best possible time, defeating Slovenia to qualify for the European Championship finals and despite being placed in a strong group, Zbirna are clearly not here just to make up the numbers. Even if they did not impress in the build up to the Euro 2016 finals, Mikhail Fomenko’s charges won all four warm-up games, beating Cyprus, Wales, Romania and Albania, and their result-oriented style of play is clearly producing results. Ukraine will have a tougher task in competitive matches at the biggest stage, but with so much experience in their ranks, we seriously doubt they will succumb to pressure. Andriy Yarmolenko and Yevhen Konplyanka remain Zbirna’s star performers, but the team have got quality in all areas of the pitch, and the return of both Roman “Ukrainian Rooney” Zozulya and Yevhen Seleznyov will definitely make Ukraine much stronger up front. At the same time, Fomenko’s hard-working side are always difficult to crack and this is probably the perfect time to be facing out-of-form Germany, who are missing quite a few important players through injury.

Team News

Even if he had been dropped from the national team for moving to a Russian club, Yevhen Seleznyov has been recalled for the tournament finals.

Meanwhile, Artem Kravets and Oleg Husyev have failed to make the cut, while there have been no fresh selection worries for Mikhail Fomenko.

Key Factors to Consider

  • Three of their past five meetings ended all squared
  • Germany have never beaten Ukraine away from home
  • Die Mannschaft are without three key players
  • Ukraine won all four Euro 2016 warm-up games
  • Germany lost two of their four warm-up fixtures

Conclusion

We all know that Germany are masters of overcoming all problems to perform above expectations, but it is perfectly clear they are going through a very rough patch at the moment. Ukraine, on the other hand, are in fine form and at full strength, so we will put ourselves on the line and back Zbirna not to lose.

Verdict: Ukraine not to lose

Best Odds: 5/4

Bookmaker: bet365

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