Germany find themselves going into 2018’s final two fixtures in damage limitation mode. After flopping at the World Cup, Joachim Low’s side have set an unwanted national record for defeats in a calendar year and tackle Russia on Thursday before facing the Netherlands in the UEFA Nations League on Monday.
By the time they meet the Dutch, they could be in the embarrassing position of having already been relegated from the top tier of European clubs, having earned just a single point from their first three fixtures.
This friendly gives them the opportunity to show that they really belong.
|Game||Germany vs Russia|
|Date||Thursday, November 14|
|Time||7:45pm GMT / 2:45pm ET|
TV Channel, Live Stream & How To Watch
In the United States (US), the game can be streamed via ESPN+.
|US TV channel||Online stream|
In the United Kingdom (UK), the game will not be broadcast.
|UK TV channel||Online stream|
Squads & Team News
|Goalkeepers||Neuer, Leno, Trapp|
|Defenders||Kehrer, Hector, Ginter, Hummels, Schulz, Sule, Rudiger, Tah|
|Midfielders||Goretzka, Kroos, Rudy, Brandt, Reus, Kimmich, Gnabry, Sane, Havertz|
|Forwards||Werner, Muller, Uth|
Germany starting XI: Neuer, Kehrer, Ginter, Süle, Rüdiger, Hector, Kimmich, Sane, Gnabry, Havertz, Werner.
|Goalkeepers||Lunyov, Marinato, Shunin|
|Defenders||Kudryashov, Dzhikiya, Neustadter, Rausch, Semyonov, Ignatyev, Nababkin, Sorokin, Petrov|
|Midfielders||Yerokhin, Zobnin, Miranchuk, Ionov, Kuzyayev, Gazinsky, Miranchuk, Kambolov, Erokhi|
|Forwards||Poloz, Zabolotny, Ari, Chalov|
Russia saw a raft of players retire following the World Cup in the summer, including Yuri Zhirkov, Sergei Ignashevich and Igor Akinfeev.
A more immediate issue is the number of injuries that they are carrying. Mario Fernandes, Ilya Kutepov, Viktor Vasin, Denis Cheryshev, Artem Dzyuba, Aleksandr Kokorin and star man Aleksandr Golovin are all missing because of physical problems, leaving Stanislav Cherchesov with a severely depleted panel.
Sergey Petrov and Roman Zobnin have both been carrying thigh injuries of late, too.
Krasnodar forward Ari has received a first call to the squad.
Russia starting XI: Lunyov, Nababkin, Dzhikyia, Neustädter, Rausch, Ionov, Gazinsky, Kuzyayev, Miranchuk, Yerokhin, Ari.
Betting & Match Odds
Germany are priced at 3/10 favourites with Bet365 to win this friendly. Russia are rated a 10/1 shot and the draw is priced at 5/1,
This has been a year that the Germany international side will want to put behind them quickly. Dumped out of the World Cup at the group stage, having suffered shock losses to Mexico and South Korea, the rebuilding process will not be a quick one.
Indeed, Joachim Low’s side are faced with Nations League relegation, having picked up only one point from their three matches to date. October’s loss to France was their sixth of the year – the highest that the Germany national side has ever suffered.
The long-time national team coach, while coming under pressure, is still looking to the future, however. Euro 2020 remains the ultimate goal.
“Our view goes beyond the borders of the Nations League,” he told the DFB’s official website. “The 2020 European Championship is the next big goal. Until then, we want to have a powerful team on the field again.”
While there is clearly a desire to put 2018 behind them, Low is demanding that his young squad give a strong account of themselves against Russia and the Netherlands, having turned in what he felt was an encouraging display in losing 2-1 to France last month.
“I expect that after a bad year, we’ll say goodbye to our fans with two good games,” he said. “We want to show the qualities that distinguished up for years.”
While the Germans have been lamentable, Russia have been steadily building.
Three defeats to begin the year suggested they would toil under the spotlight at the World Cup, but instead they impressed as they made it to the quarter-finals, where they were eliminated only after a penalty shootout against eventual champions Croatia.
And they have used that as a building block for further success, chalking up three wins and a draw in their four post-tournament matches, albeit against weaker opponents than Germany.
Ahead of the match in Leipzig, they have been hampered by freezing weather and a crippling injury list, but they have a bullish mindset.
“We’re in a fighting mood,” Fedor Kudryashov said.
That thought was echoed by team-mate Cyril Nababkin, who explained: “Germany are still a high-level team. Their squad is made of great players.
“Both games against Germany and Sweden are important in their own way. We have to win both games.”
The hosts have been warned.