It was certainly an unexpected start for Germany at the 2018 World Cup, losing a shocker to Mexico to begin their tournament. They looked slow, particularly in the midfield, and also seemed quite vulnerable at the back. Against a structured and defensively compact Swedish syde, they’ll need to be a lot more dynamic and fluid in attack to open them up and secure a much-needed three points.
It will not be easy against a Swedish side that sticks to its structure like no other. In their opening clash against South Korea, all Sweden needed was one converted penalty and then easily held on and cruised to the full three points. Sweden knows the Germans are vulnerable and can be exposed in certain areas, and if the team-oriented Swedes can pull off the shocker – they’ll find themselves in the Round of 16. Read on below for a full match preview and betting prediction for this crucial Group F showdown.
Sweden vs. Germany Betting Odds:
Over 2.5 (-114)
Under 2.5 (-106)
Sweden vs. Germany Pick:
This Sweden team is no stranger to knocking off some big soccer giants. In the qualifying playoff, the Swedes eliminated the Italians. And now on Saturday, the Swedes will have the opportunity to do it again to a German team actively seeking revenge following their opening match defeat to Mexico.
The reigning World Cup champs will need to respond against Sweden and expect a slight change in tactics for speed and attacking fluidity throughout the lineup. Joachim Low’s team was a little slow and defensive against Mexico, and that was exposed at times – especially on the counter. Though they did many things well when they possessed the ball, there wasn’t enough of a commitment to getting it back when they lost it. As a result, I’d expect changes in the form of Sami Khedira coming out of the lineup. The veteran has played a key role in the past, but his best days are likely behind him. Instead, look for Manchester City’s Ilkay Gundogan to enter the lineup. Marco Reus is also expected to replace Mesut Ozil who doesn’t seem to be 100%, while left back Jonas Hector will return to the starting lineup which should really help solidify a vulnerable backline.
Sweden meanwhile will likely stick with their same lineup and same formation. Their recipe for success is apparent and they will not deviate from that. Look for the Swedes to be very defensive in this match, likely hoping for and playing for a low-scoring draw. Whether or not they can do that for a full 90 minutes against a German side gunning for victory remains to be seen. They are defensive compact and well-organized, but the lack of a real dynamic attacking presence going forward means the German defense can likely push forward and not respect Sweden’s goal-scoring threats.
Germany desperately needs a victory and I think they’ll do enough to break down the Swedish structure and net a goal or two. Their changes will be positive ones, and should result in a low-scoring German victory. Looking at the betting markets, I like both Germany -1 and the Under 2.5 in this clash – but do feel stronger about Germany -1. Either a 1-0 or 2-0 scoreline seems fitting in this one.
MY PICK = Germany -1 (-123)