Reigning world champions Germany kicked off their FIFA Confederations Cup Russia 2017 campaign with a 3-2 win over Australia in Sochi on Monday. A first strike in their nations’ colours for Lars Stindl and Leon Goretzka either side of a penalty from Julian Draxler were enough for Joachim Löw’s side, who twice watched their opponents from Down Under pull within a goal thanks to Tom Rogic and then Tomi Juric.
There were a couple of wobbly moments at the back but all in all it was a very good start to the tournament from Joachim Löw’s men. As a result, Germany will probably return to a back four against Chile, a formation also familiar to many of his players from their club football. This will be a stern test for this young German side, and exactly the kind of challenge the coach and his charges were hoping for. The four-time world champions could book their place in the semi-final ahead of schedule with another win.
Meanwhile, Chile scored twice late on to secure a 2-0 win over Cameroon. Late goals from Arturo Vidal and Eduardo Vargas gave Chile all three points in a 2-0 win over Cameroon in their opening match in Group B at the Spartak Stadium in Moscow in front of a crowd of 33,492.
Both teams made winning starts to the tournament but neither were entirely convincing. Chile needed 81 minutes to find a breakthrough against a stubborn Cameroon side before going on to win 2-0. Meanwhile Germany emerged with a 3-2 win against unfancied Australia. Their youthful side will need to put in a more convincing defensive performance if they are to keep Chile quiet here and the South Americans look capable of coming out on top.
Teams will be looking to take possession and harry their opponents to put them under pressure early on. However, this will also create space for players to exploit. The key to success will be to create pressure, avoid mistakes and play clever balls forward from the back.
Head to Head
Three previous competitive games have been played between these two teams, all of them at FIFA World Cups and all ending in victories for the European side. A 2-0 win for Germany in 1962 was followed by a 1-0 triumph in 1974 and a resounding 4-1 triumph in 1982.
Low’s men also got the upper hand in a friendly between the two teams in 2014, winning 1-0 thanks to a goal from Mario Gotze.
- Arturo Vidal will face one of his Bayern Munich team-mates, Joshua Kimmich, when his side play Germany. Sebastian Rudy and Niklas Sule, who are set to join the record-breaking Bundesliga champions this summer, can also be included. Arsenal’s Shkodran Mustafi and Alexis Sanchez will also line up against each other.
- 39 goals have been scored in Germany’s nine previous matches at the FIFA Confederations Cup, an average of 4.3 per game.
- The fact that the four-time world champions have netted 20 goals while conceding 19 suggests that they are as slack in defence at this competition as they are dangerous in attack.
- Chile are the sixth South American team to play at the Confederations Cup. Only Europe (ten, including the 2017 edition with debutants Portugal and Russia) has had more teams representing the continent.
- Joachim Löw could celebrate his 100th win as Germany coach on Thursday if his team beat Chile.
- Both teams have scored in 5 of Germany’s last 6 Confederations Cup matches and in 3 of their last 4 internationals.
- Chile have been beaten inside 90 minutes in just 1 of their last 14 matches at major tournaments.
Die Mannschaft stalwarts such as Toni Kroos, Thomas Muller, Jerome Boateng, Mats Hummels, Marco Reus and Mesut Ozil were all left out of the squad, while Leroy Sane and Manuel Neuer were unavailable due to injury.
Leipzig midfielder Diego Demme has withdrawn from the squad with a back injury. Germany may opt to sure things up by bringing Emre Can into the midfield, having adopted an attacking approach against Australia that left them exposed at times.
Chile coach Juan Antonio Pizzi, on the other hand, opted to take a strong squad to Russia, and he has stars such as Vidal, Vargas, Alexis Sanchez, Gary Medel, Mauricio Isla and Charles Aranguiz to call upon.
Chile could make a few changes despite winning their first game. Alexis Sanchez played a starring role from the bench in that match and should start here, despite suffering a swollen ankle. Keeper Claudio Bravo is still a doubt with a calf injury.
Germany: Marc-Andre ter Stegen; Joshua Kimmich, Antonio Rudiger, Shkodran Mustafi, Jonas Hector; Emre Can, Leon Goretzka; Julian Brandt, Lars Stindl, Julian Draxler; Timo Werner.
Chile: Johnny Herrera; Mauricio Isla, Gary Medel, Gonzalo Jara, Jean Beausejour; Arturo Vidal, Marcelo Diaz, Charles Aranguiz; Jose Fuenzalida, Eduardo Vargas, Alexis Sanchez.