World champions Germany begin their final Euro 2016 preparations with a friendly match against Slovakia on Sunday, eager to build up on the comprehensive 4-1 triumph over Italy in March after a patchy stretch.
Germany in poor form
FIFA 2014 World Cup winners have been displaying poor form ever since October 2015 and their surprising 1-0 defeat to Ireland in the Euro 2016 qualifiers. Joachim Low’s men have since then lost two of their four matches, including a 3-2 thriller against England. Still the Germans recovered from the loss with a comprehensive 4-1 victory over Italy and there is no doubt that they will be eager to put in yet another strong performance against Slovakia. Joachim Low’s men have a chance to become only the third team to follow a World Cup trophy with a European Championship title and Germany are hugely motivated to make it happen in France. Die Mannschaft are well aware of the challenge as they prepare for Euro 2015 on the Swiss border with Italy, but they will be looking to make the results count as they are the country that reached at least the semi-finals of every major tournament since 2006. Besiktas striker Gomez will be the one to watch as the Germany striker has had a pretty successful campaign in Turkey and has been playing in superb form of late.
Joachim Low is expected to make a couple of changes to his usual squad as Manuel Neuer is likely to be rested with Bayer Leverkusen shot stopper Bernd Leno poised to start on goal. Mats Hummels is recovering from a calf injury he sustained at DFB Pokal final and will not be risked, while Bastian Schweinsteiger is still struggling with fitness.
Unbeaten since October
Slovakia have been in fine form recently having continued their road to France with a comfortable 3-1 win over Georgia on Friday. Adam Nemec scored twice before Adam Zrelak netted the third as Slovakia extend their unbeaten run that is now going all the way to October 2015. It has been six matches without defeat for Slovakia, who are looking to regain the attacking momentum that carried them to six successive wins, including a victory against reigning champions Spain, during the qualifying process for their first European championship since becoming an independent country in 1993. Slovakia rested a couple of key players in order to keep them fit for Germany on Sunday which saw the Slovaks struggle in the opening stages of the game with Georgia, but the quality prevailed as Jan Kozak’s men managed a morale-boosting win. Slovakia are underdogs in their group in France as they were pitted against England, Russia and Wales, teams all placed higher in the FIFA rankings. Being the world’s 32nd footballing nation will not stop Slovakia from putting an inspiring display against Germany as Slovakia looks to repeat the heroics that led them to victory over Spain.
Slovakia striker Robert Vitek missed a friendly against Gergia and he is unavailable for Euro 2016 as well through injury, but Liverpool defender Martin Skrtel should be included against Germany despite missing out on a number of games in the Premier League. Milan Skriniar and Matus Bero could be handed their debuts against Germany.
Germany are determined to put their patchy form behind them and a 4-1 win over Italy could hae been interpreted as a sign of things to come as Low’s men begin their final preparations for the continental championship. Slovakia have had a successful qualifying campaign, but die Mannschaft are expected to record a clear-cut victory in their first match since March.
Top pick: Home win 1.3 (3/10) @Bet365
Alternative pick 1: Germany/Germany 1.91 (10/11) @Coral
Alternative pick 2: Over 2.5 goals 1.44 (4/9) @BetVictor