International friendly: Austria vs Germany – Lineups, Preview and Prediction
On Saturday, the World Champions start their World Cup preparations against neighbours Austria.
17:00, Saturday 2nd June, Wörthersee Stadion, Klagenfurt.
On Wednesday, Austria played the role of party poopers as they defeated the 2018 World Cup hosts Russia in the first of their international friendlies before the competition kicks off later in the month.
This Saturday, they have the chance to dent Germany’s preparations for the tournament by defeating them in their first warm-up game.
German’s will be excited to hear Manuel Neuer should return to the side in his first appearance since the early days of this seasons Bundesliga campaign.
Last time out the Germans were defeated 1-0 by Brazil but, before that, were undefeated since their European Championship exit to France back in 2016.
Austria, on the other hand, have won their last five games and look to be in great form ahead of their European qualification campaign in the autumn.
Joachim Loew will have to cut four players before the World Cup starts so this game will not be used as a run-around by his players.
Austria have a clean bill of health heading into this game against Germany so expect a strong line-up from Franco Foda.
Joachim Lowe will be without Jerome Boateng (hamstring) and Mesut Ozil (back) for their game against Austria. Manuel Neuer returns after a long injury layoff.
Austria – David Alaba
The Bayern Munich star is undoubtedly the biggest and best player that Austria possesses. With Austria, he plays a more advanced role, a far cry from his usual position of left back with Bayern Munich.
25-year-old Alaba has already played 61 times for his country which will surely put him on course to break the Austria appearance record which is currently set at 103.
Germany – Manuel Neuer
Can Manuel Neuer return to the form we all expect from him after such an injury? The Bayern Munich star has only played 360 minutes this season and he is expected to return against Austria.
We all know how good he can be. The best sweeper-keeper probably in history, the German seems to possess everything you could ever want from a stopper.
But is he fit enough and will Germany risk him? Look out for the answer to that question over the next two warm-up games.
Can Austria build on their win over Russia?
Franco Foda deserves great credit for keeping his side motivated despite the disappointment of not qualifying for this summer’s tournament and their win over Russia is a testament to that.
But imagine if they could beat rivals Germany before the World Cup? It would prove that his side are maybe better than their qualification attempt looked.
The confidence and expectations would rise in Austria if they were to beat Germany and that would be the perfect tonic to make sure they do not miss out on European qualification in 2018.
Are Germany still the best?
Four years ago the Germans were an animal. They destroyed hosts Brazil 7-1 in the semi-final of the competition in arguably the most shocking result in football history.
Now the German side have to prove that they are still the crème de la crème in international football and what better way to start than defeating their neighbours Austria?
Brazil are given the slight edge as favourites by bookmakers at this competition, but Germany should be in the final four at least this summer.
Prediction – Austria 1-3 Germany
The Germans should have enough about them to defeat a stubborn Austria side who have not conceded in their last four matches.
In fact, the Germans have yet to lose to a smaller nation since Ireland defeated them in 2015 – ominous for Austria.