Mark O’Haire’s Euro Tips – Germany v Poland
Germany v Poland
Old rivals Germany and Poland meet at the Stade de France on Thursday night having both secured maximum point returns from their opening Euro 2016 fixtures on Sunday.
Germany v Poland, Thursday 16th June 2016, 20.00, ITV & RTE2
It puts the two fancied Group C nations in pole position to progress to the knockout stages but with top spot still up for grabs, there’s plenty still to play for, including national pride here.
Germany began their quest for a record fourth European Championship with a victory but the world champions weren’t completely convincing despite a mercurial performance from Toni Kroos and an early headed goal from Shkodran Mustafi.
Jerome Boateng was forced to clear the ball from his line while keeper Manuel Neuer made several good saves to keep the Ukrainian attack at bay. With seven defeats in 18 games since winning the World Cup in Brazil two years ago, perhaps nerves were expected in the German camp.
Still, Joachim Low’s charges weren’t at their best. Up front, Mario Gotze was isolated and had the fewest touches of any player on the pitch. Fellow midfielders Thomas Muller and Mesut Ozil were also subdued.
Nevertheless, the job was done and post-match Low stressed the importance of the Polish encounter, saying “The Poland game is going to be decisive as both teams have won and the result of that one will shape how the group finishes.”
So we should expect an improved and polished performance with the Germany head coach keen to collect another victory to consolidate top spot in Group C.
Meanwhile, Arkadiusz Milik scored the only goal of the game as Poland started with a 1-0 success over Northern Ireland. The White Eagles had dominated proceedings but were thwarted by some resolute defending from the competition debutants and had to wait until the second-half for a breakthrough.
However, Northern Ireland did not manage to get a decent effort on-target in what proved to be a fairly comfortable first ever opening match victory at the Euros for Poland.
Adam Nawalka’s troops should be confident in taking on the Germans after their qualification win in Warsaw against their old enemy but that famous triumph was a touch fortunate considering how the fixture played out. Germany dominated the shot, corner and possession count but were sucker-punched by the Poles.
Die Hard Display
Die Mannschaft are your typical tournament team and we should expect an improved display here. With the Germans intent on picking up a second success, odds of 6/10 on the world’s best going two from two reflect their excellence.
Of the sides on show this summer, only Czech Republic (14) shipped more goals in qualifying than Poland (10), many of which were leaked on the counter-attack. It’s certainly a potential flaw in the White Eagles’ set-up with a vulnerable defence to protect.
Over The Goals
However, Poland have scored in all bar two of their 20 competitive fixtures since Euro 2012 and with Robert Lewandowski and Milik spearheading the attack against an injury-hit German defence, goals should be on the agenda in Paris.
Collectively, these two teams have seen Over 2.5 Goals prove profitable in 31/49 (63%) meaningful matches over the past four years, making the 3/4 on offer for a repeat appear decent value.
If we combine both assumptions – Germany will win and Over 2.5 Goals – the obvious conclusion is that both sides will score. With that in mind, having a nibble on the 12/5 offered for a German win and Both Teams To Score is of real interest.
Germany may have failed to silence the doubters despite their 2-0 triumph over Ukraine but Low’s charges still possess the game-management and match-winning skills to see off Poland.
The White Eagles are a little too top-heavy to topple the Germans but their front-foot approach should lead to an enjoyable and open attacking contest, giving goals backers a good run for their money.
Germany To Win and Both Teams To Score (12/5)
*Prices correct at time of publication