Best Odds: 8/15
Reigning world champions Germany kick off their World Cup preparation campaign with a trip to their neighbours Austria. Das Team will welcome Die Mannscaft of Saturday evening hoping to extend the positive run of results.
A reported Manchester United target Marko Arnautovic put in a great show against Russia this week as Jose Mourinho kept a close watxh on his every move from the stands. Austria glided to a 1-0 victory over the World Cup hosts with West Ham forward setting up midfielder Alessandro Schopf for the only goal two minutes shy of the half-hour mark to give Austria their sixth successive victory.
Das Team failed to qualify for the showpiece tournament in Russia which led to Marcel Koller’s sacking in November, with Franco Foda being appointed his successor. Foda registered four wins from as many matches since taking over and will be confident ahead of the Germany friendly which is expected to be a stark contrast to the friendly against out-of-form Russia. The Saturday’s match will be a great opportunity for Foda’s men to measure up against one of world’s best, days before taking on Brazil in Vienna next Sunday. Packed with Bundesliga talents, Austria will hold no secrets with Germany as the likes of Schalke star Guido Burgstaller and Bayern Munich starlet David Alaba prepare to lock horns with some of their brethren.
Bayer Leverkusen’s Baumgartlinger is expected to join Burgstaller and Alaba on the show as Austria are expected to field their strongest side possible for the Germany test.
The 2014 World Cup title holders have yet to officially begin their preparations for Russia. They did have a competitive check this week, however, as Jachim Low guided his team to a 7-1 rout over Germany’s Under-20 side.
The Brazilian-style beating of their juniors happened over the course of an hour during which time Germany head coach kept interrupting the play to give tactical instructions. The juniors did their best to imitate Sweden, Mexico and South Korea in different tactical formations but Austria will definitely provide a better insight in Germany’s current form. Die Mannschaft appear to have released the throttle ever since cruising through the World Cup qualifiers and FIFA Confederations Cup. They are running on the back of a four-match winless (friendly) streak and will be keen to get back up on their feet and turn on ‘mode Russia’. After all, Die Mannschaft are one of the main favourites to win the World Cup – again – and there is a huge reputation to be upheld.
All eyes ahead of the trip to Austria will be on Bayern Munich goalkeeper Manuel Neuer who completed 30 minutes against the juniors.
Joachim Low has yet to trim his 27-man squad although it’s already being whispered that Nils Petersen, Kevin Trapp, Jonathan Tah and Sebastian Rudy are set to suffer the cut.
Key Factors to Consider
- Austria come off the back of six straight victories
- Germany failed to win a single game in last 4 outings
- Das Team were last beaten at home by Ireland in 2016
- Die Mannschaft haven’t lost any of their last 11 matches on the road
- Manuel Neuer is expected to return in goal for the first ime since April
Heading into the new cycle after missing out on the World Cup spot, Austria are welcoming reigning world champions Germany without competitive pressure which could be their big advantage. Die Mannschaft need to up their game following recent string of setbacks and we definitely should expect a much improved showing from Low’s men.
Best Odds: 8/15
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