Sports Mole previews Tuesday’s Euro 2020 qualifier between Germany and Estonia, including team news and predicted lineups.
Germany will be looking to make it three wins from their three Euro 2020 qualification matches when they host Estonia in Group C on Tuesday night.
Joachim Low‘s have beaten Netherlands and Belarus thus far to collect six points from six, while Estonia have lost against Northern Ireland on two occasions to sit fourth, just ahead of Belarus on goal difference.
It has been a case of so far, so good for Germany, who followed their 3-2 win over Netherlands towards the end of March with a 2-0 victory away to Belarus on Saturday night. It was not a vintage performance from Low’s side at the Borisov Arena, but goals from Leroy Sane and Marco Reus saw them collect all three points.
It does appear that 3-4-3 will be the way forward for the Germans when it comes to formation, with the tactic working well in both of their Euro 2020 qualifiers thus far. It would be a shock if they did not pick up another three points in this match and that would lead them nicely into the home game with Netherlands on September 6.
Germany are three-time winners of the European Championships and have qualified for every edition of the tournament since 1968. They have not triumphed since Euro 1996 but have reached the semi-finals in each of the last two tournaments, losing to Italy in Euro 2012 and France in Euro 2016.
DFB-Elf were knocked out of the last World Cup in the group stages, however, which was certainly a huge shock. It is very much a new era for the national team, who perhaps still lack a genuine world-class option at centre-forward, which is actually the case for a number of top European nations, including Spain.
Germany will fancy their chances of breezing through qualification, though, and will certainly be amongst the teams to watch at Euro 2020. Netherlands will provide stern competition when it comes to leading the group, although Northern Ireland are actually currently top of the section with three wins from three.
On a five-match unbeaten run, Germany drew with Netherlands and Serbia in their two internationals before beginning their European Championship qualification campaign. They did lose to Netherlands and France in the UEFA Nations League in the latter stages of 2018, however, in games which very much showed their weaknesses.
Incredibly, Germany only actually won four of their 13 international matches in 2018. Indeed, their run of friendly results was not exactly terrific and they struggled at the 2018 World Cup before failing to qualify for the latter stages of the UEFA Nations League.
The squad is packed full of talent, though, and simply cannot be written off for the upcoming tournaments. A win over Estonia would place them in a strong position in the section and Die Mannschaft have been victorious in each of the three internationals between the two teams.
Recent form: WW
Recent form (all competitions): LWDDWW
Currently 96th in the FIFA rankings, Estonia have never qualified for the finals of a World Cup or European Championship. They did reach the qualifying playoffs for Euro 2012 after finishing second in their group, but could not overcome Republic of Ireland to make the tournament.
It is a very tough ask to expect the Blueshirts to cause the hosts a problem on Tuesday night. It will actually be their first meeting with Germany since 1939, which ended in a 2-0 defeat. That said, Estonia have only lost two of their last six matches and impressively beat Greece in the UEFA Nations League in November 2018.
Estonia are yet to collect a point in Group C, however, with back-to-back defeats to Northern Ireland leaving them in fourth. Indeed, they suffered a 2-0 loss away to Michael O’Neill‘s side in March before losing 2-1 at home to the same opponents on Saturday night.
The squad is not exactly short of experience, with Sergei Zenjov boasting 77 caps, Sander Puri 76 and Taijo Teniste 71. Meanwhile, captain Konstantin Vassiljev, who plays his club football for Estonian outfit Flora, has 113 international appearances to his name.
However, aside from Zenjov and Vassiljev, there are not too many goals around. Indeed, Rauno Sappinen led their line against Northern Ireland last time out but the 23-year-old has only managed two international strikes.
There is an English-based player in the squad, meanwhile, with Mattias Kait turning out for Fulham. The 20-year-old is yet to make his first-team debut for the Cottagers but is an important player for his country and impressed against O’Neill’s team last time out.
In terms of what is ahead for Estonia, they will welcome Belarus in their next Euro 2020 qualifier on September 6, before hosting Netherlands three days later. It is going to be very tough for Martin Reim‘s side to pick up points in the group but they can certainly have a big say on which nation finishes top.
Recent form: LL
Recent form (all competitions): WWDLWL
There are not expected to be too many changes to the Germany team following the clash with Belarus, although it would not be a surprise to see Low freshen up his XI.
Sane and Reus should again both start in the final third, with Timo Werner potentially coming in for Serge Gnabry, who was replaced against Belarus after struggling to make his mark.
Joshua Kimmich and Ilkay Gundogan are again expected to be the midfield two, with Jonathan Tah continuing at the back as Antonio Rudiger is a long-term absentee with a knee problem.
Toni Kroos, out through injury, is another notable absentee from the squad.
Sappinen led the Estonia line against Northern Ireland at the weekend and that is again expected to be the case in this match, although teenage Erik Sorga is an option for the visitors.
Fulham’s Kait should continue in the middle of the park, meanwhile, with Vassiljev and Artjom Dmitrijev also lining up for the away side, who could start in a 4-4-1-1 formation once again.
Germany possible starting lineup:
Neuer; Ginter, Sule, Tah; Kehrer, Kimmich, Gundogan, Schulz; Reus, Werner, Sane
Estonia possible starting lineup:
Lepmets; Pikk, Mets, Vihmann, Teniste; Sinyavskiy, Kait, Dmitrijev, Zenjov; Vassiljev; Sappinen
Head To Head
As mentioned, Tuesday will be just the fourth meeting between the two teams. Germany have won each of the previous three, following a 5-0 success with 4-1 and 2-0 victories.
The upcoming clash will be their first meeting since 1939.
We say: Germany 4-0 Estonia
Germany should have far too much for Estonia on Tuesday night. Low’s side will be full of confidence after back-to-back wins and we fully expect them to move onto nine points in the section.