Germany and Poland need no introduction to one another. The two neighbors already met twice in the Euro 2016 qualifiers, with Poland securing a historic win. And now, they meet once again after both teams won their first game of the tournament. Can the Poles deliver another shocking upset over the reigning world champions?
Read on below for our preview of this battle for Group C supremacy. Meanwhile, don’t forget to check out our preview of Thursday’s other mouthwatering rivalry game, England vs. Wales.
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Germany vs. Poland Preview
Where: Stade de France, Saint-Denis
When: Thursday, June 16, 3:00 PM ET
TV Broadcast: ESPN
Betting on Germany (-210)
The world champs didn’t have the greatest performance in their opener against Ukraine. Their defense was shaky and needed a sublime goal-line clearance from Jerome Boateng to prevent a Ukraine equalizer. Meanwhile, World Cup hero Mario Gotze was ineffectual as the starting false nine. But despite these flaws, they still had more than enough quality to secure a comfortable 2-0 win.
And when they need a change, they can always pluck another world-class talent off their bench like Bastian Schweinsteiger, who got the clinching goal against Ukraine minutes after coming on as a substitute.
Meanwhile, Germany’s defense could get a much-needed boost with the possible return of Mats Hummels. The newly-signed Bayern Munich defender knows Robert Lewandowski very well, both as teammates at Borussia Dortmund and as adversaries. He will be crucial in keeping the Polish hitman in check.
Germany has historically dominated its matchup against Poland, with 13 wins in their 20 meetings all-time.
Betting on Poland (+450)
Poland got off to a good start after beating Northern Ireland 1-0. However, the Poles didn’t leave unscathed as No. 1 goalkeeper Wojciech Szczesny suffered a thigh injury and will miss their match with Germany. Not to worry, though. Poland is incredibly deep at goalie, and back-up Lukasz Fabianski should be a more than adequate replacement.
Poland played as the aggressor against a very defensive Northern Ireland, but the team is at its best when it can play on the counterattack. The Poles will get their chance to play that style against a Germany team that, due to its dangerously high defensive line, is prone to allowing at least one or two very good goalscoring opportunities per game.
If presented with such opportunities, Poland has not one, but two weapons who can capitalize. The Germans know all about Bayern Munich star Robert Lewandowski, the leading scorer in the German Bundesliga for two of the last three years. But Arkadiusz Milik, who has struck 32 goals in 52 league games for Ajax, has already shown his quality with his well-taken goal against Northern Ireland.
Poland has historically struggled against its neighbors, but it did defeat Germany 2-0 during qualifying – its first win against Germany in history. It should also be to Poland’s favor that Germany has not won a second group game in three-straight major tournaments, with two losses and a draw.
Both teams have goals in them, but neither one goes all out for the win. This game ends in a 1-1 draw (+295), which should satisfy both sides.
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