International friendly: Germany vs Saudi Arabia – Lineup, Preview and Prediction
The World Champions wrap up their preparations for the World Cup against Saudi Arabia.
18:30 BST, Friday 8th June, BayArena (Leverkusen, Germany)
Two defeats in a row are not exactly the perfect tonic for a Germany side chasing their second consecutive World Cup.
A 2-1 defeat to Austria last time out was shocking and Germany boss Joachim Loew retaliated by cutting four players including Manchester City star Leroy Sane.
Poor performances and an ego were sighted as the reasons but it seems ridiculous that Sane, who terrorised defences last season, will miss out on the competition.
Question marks have arisen for Saudi Arabia about whether they are prepared for the tournament because of the quality of their domestic division.
This is something they tried to address by sending nine players to Spain to try to get some much-needed experience, but whether or not this will work remains to be seen.
In their two previous warmup friendlies, Saudi Arabia lost 2-1 against Italy and last time out it was a 3-0 defeat against Peru. Damage limitation may be the best course of action for the team at this summer’s tournament.
Germany could go many ways with their team selection against Saudi Arabia, but we suspect that they will mix some of their starters with the fringe players of the squad. Timo Werner should get the nod upfront so that he can build some momentum, but do not be surprised to see Thomas Muller feature in that position at some point.
Manuel Neuer will surely get the start in goal, though he may not have much to do against a vastly inferior Saudi Arabia team.
Saudi Arabia Lineup
Saudi Arabia will surely call upon top scorer Al-Sahlawi against Germany while the rest of the side could be made up of the players who played in their 3-0 defeat against Peru.
Keymen – Timo Werner (Germany) vs Mohammad Al-Sahlawi (Saudi Arabia)
The Germans can look upon Timo Werner to score them goals this summer and his current international record is fantastic, seven goals in 13 games.
This past season he netted 21 goals in 45 games for RB Leipzig and his goal-scoring exploits are likely to continue if he starts against Saudi Arabia.
Mohammad Al-Sahlawi has scored 28 goals in 39 international games for Saudi Arabia and he will be their one ray of hope heading into the World Cup.
Can he continue his goal-scoring exploits on the grandest international stage? The 31-year-old is a goal machine in Saudi and has scored 102 goals in 174 games for current club side Al-Nassr.
Can Germany get back on track?
Recent form has been poor for the Germans, but they can take comfort from the fact that they only won one of their three warm-up games prior to the 2014 World Cup – a competition they of course won.
Saudi Arabia is a perfect opponent to build some confidence against as they are inferior in every department on the pitch. If Germany wants to be ruthless, then they could score an absolute hatful.
Are Saudi Arabia cannon fodder?
At the World Cup, every team should be a good one. But Saudi Arabia potentially are the exception to the rule as they lack any real star power.
However, a game against Germany in warmup could be enough to prove that they are not as bad as people perceive. Could they cause an upset and build some momentum?
The confidence from doing so could stand them in good stead for when they face Russia in game one – especially since the Russians are struggling at the moment.
Prediction: Germany 5-0 Saudi Arabia
A one-sided affair is on the cards and it is really hard to not see Germany having some fun against their opponents.
Saudi Arabia should approach the game with a defence-first mentality but the quality in the German ranks should be more than enough to see them coast to victory.
Do you think that Saudi Arabia can cause a shock? Let us know below.