Germany welcome Estonia to Mainz on Tuesday night for their Euro 2020 Qualification Group C clash, with the Germans looking to regain top spot from Northern Ireland, and Estonia hoping to pick up the first points of their qualifying campaign.
Germany will again play the fixture without manager Joachim Low, who suffered a contused artery that has sidelined him for a month. They will instead be led by assistant manager Marcus Sorg who oversaw Germany's 2-0 win over Belarus on Saturday evening.
Low may well count himself fortunate to still be manager of the national team at all, having followed up an embarrassing bottom of the group finish in the 2018 World Cup with relegation to the second tier of the newly created Nations League.
However, having a World Cup win on your resume buys you a certain amount of time. Germany have slowly begun to grind back into gear and will still be favourites to qualify as group winners, having already won they trickiest fixture away to the Netherlands.
Having already succumbed twice to Northern Ireland, any faint hopes Estonia may have had of a remarkable top two finish have all but faded already. They will enter the fixture as clear underdogs, and with the pressure removed, may just fancy causing an upset.
Check out 90min's preview of the game below.
Where to Watch
|When Is Kick-Off?||Tuesday 11 June|
|What Time Is Kick Off?||19:45 (BST)|
|Where Is it Played?||OPEL Arena, Mainz|
|TV Channel/Live Stream?||Sky Sports Red Button/Sky Go Extra|
Germany will continue to be without Spanish-based pair Marc Andre ter Stegen and Toni Kroos, who were both left out of the Euro 2020 qualifiers squad due to a knee problem and a muscular issue, respectively.
The only other concern for Marcus Sorg is the continued injury of Arsenal's Bernd Leno, which means Bayern Munich's backup goalkeeper Sven Ulreich may win his first international cap, having been called up to the national squad for the first time last week. With the match against Belarus having occurred just three days prior to this fixture, expect Germany to rotate somewhat, and give the likes of Julian Brandt and Leon Goretzka an opportunity to impress.
The best that can be said for Estonia is they have no fresh injury concerns, and are likely to persevere with the side that came up just short against Northern Ireland last time out.
|Germany||Neuer; Schulz, Tah, Sule, Ginter, Klostermann; Sane, Kimmich, Gortezka, Brandt; Reus|
|Estonia|| Lepmets; Pikk, Vihmann, Mets, Sinyavskiy; Dmitrijev, Sappinen, Kait, Vassiljev, Teniste; Zenjov.|
Head to Head Record
As one might expect, the head to head record between these two sides is heavily in Germany's favour - who have won every game played between the two sides.
However, this figure is slightly misleading as the teams have only faced each other on three occasions; the most recent occurring in 1939.
Whilst results from over 80 years ago do not seem relevant to a modern day fixture, the fact that the sides have met so infrequently highlights the gulf in class between the teams - with Estonia having failed to qualify for a single World Cup or European Championship.
Since their dismal World Cup performance and only marginally better Nations League campaign, Germany have steadied the ship, going unbeaten in their last five fixtures including an impressive 3-2 victory away against a resurgent Dutch side.
13 - Germany have won their last 13 European Qualifiers (World Cup & European Championship), equalling their longest such winning streak (2010-2012). Focus. #BLRGER @DFB_Team_EN pic.twitter.com/roT5OgzOVt— OptaFranz (@OptaFranz) June 8, 2019
Low was brutal in the fallout of the World Cup fiasco, axing long term servants including Mats Hummels in favour of promoting a crop of talented youngsters. Whilst his new-look team is not yet performing at the level of his great World Cup winning side, there are signs that Low is building another squad that can compete for international honours.
Like Germany, Estonia suffered a miserable Nations League campaign - winning just one game and being relegated to Division D. However, their more recent form is much improved, having picked up two wins in their last five, including a 2-1 victory away against their Scandinavian rivals, Finland.
Here's how the two sides have fared in their previous five fixtures:
|Belarus 0-2 Germany (08/06/19)||Estonia 1-2 Northern Ireland (08/06/19)|
|Netherlands 2-3 Germany (24/03/19)||Gibraltar 0-1 Estonia (26/03/19)|
|Germany 1-1 Serbia (20/03/19)||Northern Ireland 2-0 Estonia (21/03/19)|
|Germany 2-2 Netherlands (19/11/19)||Estonia 0-0 Iceland (15/01/19)|
|Germany 3-0 Russia (15/11/19)|| Finland 1-2 Estonia (11/01/19)|
Whilst Estonia's recent performances may give their fans a faint glimmer of hope, the gulf between the two sides combined with the fact that the fixture is taking place in Germany makes Die Mannschaft firm favourites for this tie. Having spent the last two fixtures on the road, Germany will be looking forward to playing in front of their home fans, and will be targeting a big win against their unheralded opposition. Expect the Germans to dominate from start to finish, with Marco Reus to grab a brace.
Prediction: Germany 4-0 Estonia