Germany vs Poland – Group C – 8pm (ITV) – 16.06.16 – Stade de France, Saint-Denis
Boasting one win and one clean sheet each, the only thing separating these sides at the top of Group C is Bastian Schweinsteiger’s 92nd minute goal that made it 2-0 to Germany against Ukraine on Sunday.
The current world champions rode out as winners of that match, but the scoreline looks far more comfortable than the reality.
Despite taking an early lead, large periods of the second half were dominated by Ukraine and only a time-and-space-bending goal line clearance from Jerome Boateng prevented Yevhen Konoplyanka from equalising.
Schweinsteiger’s goal that sealed the win came off the back of intense Ukrainian pressure – a rapid counter attack saw Mesut Ozil sweep the ball into the 31 year old’s path for a well-taken tap in.
But being able to maintain a clean sheet and grind out a victory is the sign of champions and Germany’s pedigree and ability can not be underestimated.
Poland swept Northern Ireland aside in a match that seemed to be the exact opposite of Germany’s.
Adam Nawałka’s side’s 18 shots on goal went without reply until Northern Ireland’s two off-target attempts in the last half an hour.
And although Bundesliga and Euro 2016 qualifying stages top scorer Robert Lewandowski remained largely anonymous, Ajax’s 22 year old Arkadiusz Milik picked up the mantel, mainiting a high threat level and scoring a goal with a well placed finish.
Poland dominated, but only emerged as 1-0 winners.
They cannot afford to be as wasteful against a Germany team that will punish every mistake. If they are to get a result they will naturally look towards Lewandowski, especially with the striker playing against a side that could potentially feature five of his Bayern Munich teammates.
I think Germany may just have too much in the tank for Poland and, if they play to the level we know they’re capable of, should end up as comfortable winners.
Recommendation: Germany -1 handicap at 2.50
- Poland have only won one of their 20 games against Germany (D6 L13), it was in October 2014 (Euro qualifiers).
- Poland have never beaten Germany at a major tournament (D1 L3 at World Cup/Euros). They’ve also never scored against them in those tournaments.
- The last time these two sides met in this competition was in Euro 2008. Germany won 2-0 and it remains the only time Poland have conceded more than one goal in a game in a European competition.
- Germany have kept eight clean sheets in their last 12 games against Poland.
- Germany have only failed to score once in their last 13 games at the Euros, it was in the 2008 final against Spain (1-0 defeat).
- Poland won their opening game against Northern Ireland, putting to an end their run of six games without a victory in the European Championships. It was also the first time they kept a clean sheet in the tournament.
- Poland have never scored more than one goal at the Euros (7 games).
- Robert Lewandowski has scored in two of his three appearances for Poland against Germany. He didn’t have a single shot in his first game at this year’s tournament against Northern Ireland.
- Jakub Blaszczykowski has been directly involved in Poland’s last three goals at the Euros (1 goal, 2 assist).
- Mesut Özil has delivered eight assists in the World Cup and Euros since 2010 (4 in each competition), more than any other player.