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The former world champions will hope to take firm control of Group D.

Kick-Off: Friday, June 18, 13:30 CET.
Port Elizabeth Stadium, Nelson Mandela Bay/Port Elizabeth.

Another Hammering On The Horizon

Germany were expected to defeat Australia in their opening match of the World Cup but there were not many who anticipated a comprehensive 4-0 triumph. Nevertheless, the Germans' win over the 'Asian' side is easily the most eye-catching so far in what has been largely a lacklustre World Cup.

Mesut Oezil, Miroslav Klose, Thomas Mueller, Philipp Lahm and Sami Khedira all impressed in the win against Australia and maintained their recent scoring record: they had scored three goals in each of their three international fixtures prior to the Australia match.

Even Lukas Podolski, who was woeful in club football in 2009-10, was sensational and rediscovered the form that made him the 'Best Young Player' four years ago in the Germany World Cup.

Joachim Loew's side will certainly be buoyed for their match against Serbia on Friday afternoon as they will attempt to virtually assure qualification for the second round with a win.

Six points should be enough for the 2006 World Cup semi-finalists to book a berth in the last 16 and the Germans will be expecting a win against the Serbians, who looked average against Ghana in their opening game of the competition.

Keeping Hopes Alive

Serbia were not exactly exceptionally appalling against Ghana in their opening match but their defeat was deserved. Ghana looked quite impressive against the eastern Europeans and won the match 1-0, thanks to a late Asamoah Gyan penalty. Aleksandar Lukovic was sent off for the White Eagles in the second half.

Serbia are considered by many as dark horses for this year's World Cup finals: their brilliant performance in the qualifiers and a strong central defensive partnership were the main reasons that many saw them as potential last 16 candidates. However, the White Eagles's defeat to Ghana has turned that theory upside down.

A win against Germany on Friday is almost imperative. A defeat would virtually see them knocked out of the World Cup, and a draw, which is perhaps the most they can hope for against a free-flowing Germany side, isn't going to do them much good either as they would have to depend on other results on the final matchday in the group stage.



FORM GUIDE

Germany

June 13: Germany 4-0 Australia (World Cup)

June 3 Germany 3-1 Bosnia-Herzegovina (Friendly)

May 29 Hungary 0-3 Germany (Friendly)

May 13 Germany 3-0 Malta (Friendly)

March 3 Germany 0-1 Argentina (Friendly)


Serbia

June 13: Serbia 0-1 Ghana (World Cup)

June 5: Serbia 4-3 Cameroon (Friendly)

June 2: Serbia 0-0 Poland (Friendly)

May 29: New Zealand 1-0 Serbia (Friendly)

April 7: Japan 0-3 Serbia (Friendly)



TEAM NEWS

Germany


Coach Joachim Loew is unlikely to make any change to the side that hammered Australia 4-0 in their opening game of the World Cup.

Probable Line-up (4-2-3-1): Neuer, Lahm, Mertesacker, Friedrich, Badstuber; Schweinsteiger, Khedira; Mueller, Ozil, Podolski; Klose

Serbia


Aleksandar Lukovic was sent off against Ghana and is suspended for the match against Germany. Neven Subotic will probably replace him. Zdravko Kuzmanovic is likely to replace Nenad Milijas in midfield while Danko Lazovic could start instead of Marko Pantelic in attack.

Probable Line-up (4-4-2): Stojkovic, Ivanovic, Vidic, Subotic, Kolarov; Krasic, Stankovic, Kuzmanovic, Jovanovic; Zigic, Lazovic


PLAYERS TO WATCH

Mesut Oezil (Germany)

The Werder Bremen player was arguably the star for Germany against Australia in the Europeans' opening game at the World Cup. Oezil was the creator-in-chief for the Germans, who ripped apart the Socceroos, linking up with his team-mates and providing crisp passes that left the Aussie defence in sixes and sevens. Oezil is only 21 years of age and will be eager to repeat that wondrous performance against Serbia on Friday.

Nemanja Vidic (Serbia)

The Manchester United man marshalled the back four well against Ghana in Serbia's opening game of the World Cup but he looked far from his best. However, Vidic, placed 54th in the Castrol Rankings, will have to be on top of his game against a rampant Germany side who will be looking to hammer the eastern Europeans just the way they crushed Australia. Vidic's big-match experience and ability to combat aerially as well as on the ground will be put to the test on Friday.


PREDICTION


The Castrol World Cup match predictor gives the Germans a 50% chance of winning the game while Serbia's chances of garnering maximum points from this fixture is placed at 25%, with a draw put at 25% too. Indeed, Germany should be the favourites after starting the competition impressively and Serbia will still be smarting after losing to Ghana in a game that they deserved to lose. However, the eastern Europeans do have some quality players and Germany shouldn't get very complacent.

Germany 2-0 Serbia

Who will come out on top? Check out Castrol Football's 2010 World Cup Match Predictor.


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