They are two of the world’s best football nations and their encounters never really count as friendlies. Italy and Germany will take a break for their 2018 FIFA World Cup Qualifiers to go head to head in what is expected to be a highly contested match at San Siro.
Italy to switch back to 3-5-2
The Azzurri kept their pace in the race for the top place in World Cup qualifying Group D with a compelling 4-0 win at Liechtenstein. A strong first half and a brace from Belotti, with goals from Immobile and Candreva in the span of mere 30 minutes were a clear demonstration of power from Giampiero Ventura’s side. The Italian coach’s experiment was a complete success as his newly formed 4-2-4 shape yielded great results. Without any intention to diminish Italy’s last rivals, but the very mention of the name Germany will force Italy to go back to their usual 3-5-2 system, which Ventura confirmed himself. The Azzurri will be looking to take the opportunity to get one back to Germany after the summer’s Euro 2016 elimination in the quarter-finals. The Italians still remember the penalty shoot-out which sent them home earlier than expected and anticipated, so Tuesday’s match will at least be a good opportunity for a payback.
Ventura is likely to ring several changes to his starting line-up with Milan goalkeeping jewel Gianluigi Donnarumma ready to be given a starting berth together with Matteo Darmian and Marco Parolo. There are some concerns over the fitness of Eder, who suffered a knock to his knee.
Five straight clean sheets for Germany
Germany’s trip to San Marino turned out to be a proper stroll in the park as Die Mannschaft put eight past the helpless hosts to keep their five-point gap in front of the Northern Ireland wide open at the top of Group C. Serge Gnabry was particularly impressive with his hat-trick, while Jonas Hector grabbed a brace on the night. Joachim Low’s men are enjoying a blistering start to their qualifying campaign as Germany won all of their four matches without conceding a single goal. Their clean-sheet run stretches to last five matches however as the Germans started with their August friendly with Finland. During the aforementioned period of five matches, Germany went on to score 18 goals in total, which is enough of a warning sign for defence-oriented Italy who will not be as easy to crack. Fine form and incredible team atmosphere after the goal-glut against San Marino was prolonged in Rome where Germany players enjoyed a relaxing night out prior to their clash with Azzurri. Die Mannschaft have lost only twice to Italy away since 1970 and will sure hope to extend the record and keep their overall five-match winning run intact.
Low fielded a somewhat changed line-up for his last match at San Marino and a couple of shifts are expected in Italy as well. Barcelona keeper ter Stegen is likely to be given an extended run at goal, while hat-trick scorer Gnabry will be hopeful he has done enough to earn another starting spot.
Clashes between Italy and Germany are traditionally fiercely contested affairs. Two of Europe’s finest will do their best to put in a memorable display against their great rivals and earn a massive morale boost ahead of the international pause. Italy are given the benefit of home advantage, but Germany are no pushovers and will be keen to extend their fine run.
Top Pick: Both teams to score – yes 1.91 (10/11) @WilliamHill
Alternative pick 1: Over 2.5 goals 2.10 (11/10) @StanJames
Alternative pick 2: Germany & Both Teams to Score 5.50 (9/2) @Bet365