3 Key Battles That Could Decide Germany's World Cup Clash With Sweden on Saturday

​World Cup holders Germany will face Sweden at the Fisht Olympic Stadium on Saturday in Group F's second round of games. 


Die Mannschaft fell to a surprising 1-0 defeat against Mexico in their World Cup opener and another defeat against the Scandinavians on Saturday would see the holders eliminated from the competition. 


Sweden, on the other hand, got their World Cup campaign off to the perfect start with a 1-0 victory against South Korea. The Blågult looked far from convincing but Andreas Granqvist's 65th minute penalty was enough to guarantee them of all three points. 

Here are three clashes which could prove to be decisive. 

3. Joshua Kimmich vs Ludwig Augustinsson

Joshua Kimmich pushed high up the pitch against Mexico, leaving the right hand side of defence completely exposed. In hindsight, his aggressive style of play was perfect for a Mexico side boasting a number of pacy players capable of launching incisive counter-attacks. 


Saturday's game will be a completely different affair, however. Sweden are a defensively solid outfit, but they don't possess the same attacking talents as Mexico and they're nowhere near as proficient in the final third. 


Kimmich will need to get forward on Saturday, much like he did against Mexico, in order to help breach Sweden's stern backline. It will be up to Ludwig Augustinsson to neutralise the youngster's threat.

2. Marco Reus vs Sebastian Larsson

Mesut Özil - like most of Germany's lineup - failed to impress against Mexico. Joachim Löw had hinted prior to the game that Özil would be dropped and, following another disappointing performance, Löw could finally act on that threat. 


Instead of Özil, Dortmund's Marco Reus could be handed a start in behind Timo Werner. Reus has struggled with a number of injury setbacks in the past few years but he proved his fitness - and quality - just in time to be included in Germany's 23-man World Cup squad.


The BVB star likes to take players on with his combination of pace and skill and that could work against Sweden, who will probably revert to a deep backline. 


Sebastian Larsson will be the one tasked with marking Reus, although, because of Sweden's 4-4-2 formation, that may also neutralise Sweden's own attacking threat - especially if Reus is having an effective game. 

1. Timo Werner vs Victor Lindelöf

Timo Werner also disappointed against Mexico, although it was a game in which he received minimal service. Nevertheless, the 22-year-old, who scored 20 goals for RB Leipzig last season, possesses Germany's most potent threat in attack. 


Despite having recorded a clean sheet in their opener against South Korea, Victor Lindelöf has recovered from illness and is likely to be handed a place in Sweden's starting lineup at the expense of Pontus Jansson. 


Lindelöf was hailed as one of the best up-and-coming centre backs before he joined Manchester United last summer, but the 23-year-old has struggled in his debut season at Old Trafford and has looked prone to making mistakes.


Werner will look to exploit any weaknesses in his game with his blistering pace and movement.