Germany will be up against Italy in the second round of the UEFA Nations League A Group 3 at the Borussia Park in Monchengladbach. The two old rivals have met once already in the current phase of the UEFA Nations League and the encounter ended on June 5 ended without a winner.
Germany trail Italy, occupying the top spot in the group, by two points as they welcome them this time on home turf. Both sides picked up draws in their respective matches this weekend and this will be the final match on the calendar before their players depart for their long-awaited and well-deserved holidays after a grueling and taxing European season.
Germany are yet to truly get off the mark in the UEFA Nations League 2022-23 and have drawn all three of their matches so far. They are still searching for that first win that will get them a comfortable footing at the group table. Hansi Flick will be concerned about his side’s possibility of making it to the competition’s finals and it will depend on a resurgence in form over the course of the next three matchdays in September.
For now, however, Die Mannschaft will be hoping to close the current cycle with as strong an impression as possible. All of their last four matches have ended with a 1-1 scoreline, including the head-to-head encounter with Italy to open the current cycle of the Nations League a fortnight ago. Besides being held to a draw by an Italy side in clear transition, Germany also registered the same scoreline against England this weekend after conceding a late equalising goal.
Die Mannschaft, who are yet to make an appearance in the UEFA Nations League finals, took the lead in the contest deservedly through Jonas Hoffman in the second half. However, there was late drama in store as England captain and stalwart striker Harry Kane converted his penalty by sending Manuel Neuer the wrong way in the 88th minute to force a 1-1 draw.
On the other hand, the script was exactly the opposite when Germany faced their Euro 2020 opponents Hungary in Budapest. They had to recover from being a goal down and the goal came from Jonas Hoffman once again to preserve Germany’s undefeated streak which now stands at 12 matches in a row.
Chelsea’s attacking duo of Kai Havertz and Timo Werner have struggled to create and get on the end of chances in the final third. Despite dominating possession in the Puskas Arena and arguably being the better side, it was yet another disappointing result for head coach Hansi Flick to contend with. Although Die Mannschaft haven’t been defeated during his tenure as coach, they haven’t exactly sauntered their way through either and have had their fair share of struggles.
Germany have also secured just one win in their last seven away matches ever since the UEFA Nations League began in 2018. The current edition’s group stage will come to a close with fixtures against Hungary in Leipzig and after facing England at the Wembley Stadium in September. However, ahead of that, Flick has a sizeable task on his hand as overcoming Italy, going through transition or not, is no mean feat. Germany are unbeaten in their last five matches against Italy across all competitions and the primary objective will be securing all three points.
The aftermath of Italy’s calamitous attempts and successive failure of qualifying for the 2022 FIFA World Cup in Qatar has brought about a plethora of changes. The old guard is on the way out and despite head coach Roberto Mancini staying fiercely loyal to them despite their erratic form over the last couple of years, he’s now cognizant of the fact that the side needs new blood desperately. A considerably younger lineup of players have helped Italy occupy the top spot of their Nations League group at the halfway stage of the competition.
At the Molineux Stadium in Wolverhampton, the Azzurri ground out a goalless draw with England in the third match of what has been a congested and busy summer for them. It began with a 3-0 humbling at the hands of Lionel Messi’s Argentina in La Finalissima. However, they lead dark horses Hungary by a point at the top of the group and will be desperate to hold on to that position.
Securing a point against England this weekend – in a game played before just a few hundred young spectators, due to the chaotic scenes that unfolded in last year’s Euro 2020 final between the two countries – followed a well-deserved stalemate with Germany at the Stadio Renato Dall’Ara and victory over the Hungarians in Cesena.
They will now travel to the North Rhine-Westphalia to take on Germany in the reverse fixture. Roberto Mancini’s men are unbeaten in the UEFA Nations League so far, a proposition that looked extremely unlikely even two weeks ago. While a dramatic failure to qualify for the World Cup might have gotten him the sack had it not been for the unexpected European victory last summer, there seems to be brighter dawn on the horizon in his future with the Italian national team.
To sum up the phase of transition that Italy are going through at the moment, only two players who started for them in the final against England at the Wembley last summer, featured for them in the starting XI this weekend against the same opponents. Talented prospects, including Sassuolo’s pair of Davide Frattesi and Gianluca Scamacca are starting to establish themselves as regulars in the first team under the former Manchester City head coach.
The mood in the camp is now relatively positive and they will be eager to round off this phase of the international fixtures by avoiding another defeat. This will be their second clash with Germany in 10 days after the two sides shared spoils the last time around.
Lorenzo Pellegrini grabbed the opening goal of the contest for Italy but Germany answered through Joshua Kimmich only a couple of minutes later. This time, however, Mancini will be hoping to lead his side to do one better away from home.
DEU vs ITA, UEFA Nations League
Date: 15th June, 2022
Time: 12:15 AM IST
Venue: Borussia Park, Monchengladbach
Germany Nations League form:
Germany form (all competitions):
Italy Nations League form:
Italy form (all competitions):
Germany wins: 9
Italy wins: 15
Germany Team News: Following a very busy summer schedule that is expected to have had an obvious impact on his players, head coach Hansi Flick may be forced into making several changes to his side for the clash on Tuesday night. Jonas Hofmann, who has registered three goals in his last four appearances for Die Mannschaft, has been in red hot form and is expected to retain his place at the right wing-back position on his home ground in Monchengladbach.
Timo Werner has endured a dry spell in front of the goal and has failed to make much of an impact up front. The case is similar for his Chelsea teammate Kai Havertz and both players were substituted off before the final whistle in Budapest. Therefore, Flick could resort to Bayern Munich’s attacking duo of Leroy Sane and Thomas Muller instead with Karim Adeyemi and Lukas Nmecha being interesting options to lead the line from the bench.
Sane and Muller’s Bayern teammate Serge Gnabry has been troubled by a calf issue lately and he may not feature in Germany’s final game this summer. That is also expected to be the case for Marco Reus who is suffering from a muscular problem.
Italy Team News: It is difficult to ascertain the starting XI that Roberto Mancini is going to field. He has shown plenty of willingness to shuffle the pack and has also been up for experimentation this month. This has allowed plenty of players to showcase their skills and make a case for themselves being included in the dynamics of the national side.
Atalanta’s Mateo Pessina, who has struggled to make an impact since his cameo against England in the final of Euro 2020, has provided plenty of support to Gianluca Scamacca in attack against the same opposition. Juventus defender Federico Gatti also made his debut for the Azzurri on the same night.
Both will hope to hold on to their places in a probable 4-3-3 formation, though wonderkid Wilfried Gnonto has shown flashes of potential during his first senior call-up and could replace the former.
Alessandro Florenzi and Tommaso Pobega have become the latest players to leave the Azzurri’s training camp, while Sandro Tonali will be unavailable after being suspended.
With most of his usual midfield colleagues either injured or released from the squad, Nicolo Barella could be set to return in the visitors’ engine room, after being sat on the bench at the weekend.
Germany possible starting lineup:
Neuer; Klostermann, Sule, Rudiger; Hofmann, Kimmich, Gundogan, Raum; Sane, Muller; Werner
Italy possible starting lineup:
Donnarumma; Calabria, Mancini, Bastoni, Dimarco; Frattesi, Locatelli, Barella; Pellegrini, Scamacca, Gnonto
While Italy have performed better in their period of transition than many would’ve expected even a couple of weeks ago, there are problems awaiting them in the frontline. They haven’t been as clinical as they would’ve desired and still need to iron out the flaws in attack.
Despite being underwhelming so far and having a poor record in the UEFA Nations League, Germany are ahead in their development cycle under head coach Hansi Flick and also have several senior players who continue to be influential in the dressing room and on the pitch. It won’t be surprising to see Die Mannschaft finally registering their first win in the current cycle against Italy on Tuesday.