With Germany already relegated to League B for the 2020/21 campaign, they really have nothing left to do but play the role of spoilers for their near-neighbours and partners in mutual contempt, the Netherlands. Ronald Koeman’s side have been a surprise success in this competition so far, defeating Germany and France on home soil. To take a place in the semi-finals, they now only need to take a point from this short trip – easy, right?
Well, no, of course not. While it’s a huge understatement to say that 2018 hasn’t been Germany’s best year, their 3-0 evisceration of Russia demonstrated that they haven’t become a bad side, and the derby nature of this match will make them all the more determined to finish the year with a more positive outlook. If the Dutch are to take the point they need to move above France and advance to the next stage, they’ll need to earn it in a hostile atmosphere.
Germany vs Netherlands Prediction: Germany 1-2 Netherlands
The Nations League has not been without its surprises – of the four European teams that made the World Cup semi-finals, two have already been eliminated and World champions France could follow this evening. This Dutch side is arguably not ready to take on and beat the best, but scoring five goals without reply against Germany and France – as they did in their home assignments – must count for something. When the chips are down here, Holland have more to play for and although we expect a highly-charged contest, that extra edge could be what they need to secure the narrow win here.
Our recommended tip: Netherlands to win
Although Germany have won just once in their last five competitive matches, the Dutch will nonetheless need to take them very seriously. It’s approximately a year since the former World champions finished top of their World Cup qualifying group with the only 100% record in Europe, and although form is an important consideration, some credit has to be given for that achievement. Nonetheless, Koeman’s side have all the momentum and the motivation here to score a rare win on their big rivals’ turf, and at 27/10 (3.70) with Ladbrokes that’s an outcome worth punting on.
These sides have met many times over the years – in friendlies, occasionally in qualifying competitions and at major finals. The most relevant game to look at, though, is the most recent. It took place in Amsterdam in October, and with Germany strong favourites to win the home side pulled off an impressive 3-0 win. Virgil van Dijk opened the scoring on the half-hour, and despite pressure from the visitors the Netherlands held firm, increasing the margin on the counter-attack through Memphis Depay on 86. Three minutes into time added on, Gini Wijnaldum made sure with an accurate low shot.
The Dutch haven’t won in Germany since 2002, when they beat that year’s World Cup runners-up 3-1, goals coming from Patrick Kluivert, Ruud van Nistelrooy and Jimmy Floyd Hasselbaink.
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Players to watch: Serge Gnabry & Georginio Wijnaldum
Although Germany have underperformed in recent matches, coach Jogi Low is adamant that the future is bright thanks to a cohort of young players showing encouraging signs for club and country. Among those, Gnabry could be one of the best. Making some waves at Bayern Munich after a spell on loan at Hoffenheim, the speedy winger has four goals in four games for die Nationalmannschaft. Yes, three came in one game against San Marino, but his showing in the 3-0 win over Russia – in which he scored the third goal – was perhaps the standout display on the night.
Part of a Liverpool team which is justifiably recognised for excellent attacking football, Wijnaldum is often an afterthought when people talk about the main cogs in that machine. However, his energy, consistency and thoughtful style of play are a major part of the whole that allows the likes of Mo Salah to flourish. As the scorer of two goals during this Nations League campaign, he also knows when to get forward, and Germany will need to keep a very close eye on the former PSV man for the 90 minutes here.