Spain vs Germany Prediction
27th November 2022
22:00 Qatar Time/19:00 GMT
Al Bayt Stadium, Al Khor
World Cup Head-to-Head Record
Played:4 Germany Wins: 2 Spain Wins:1 Draws:1
Spain vs Germany Prediction Match Overview
There were contrasting fortunes for Spain and Germany in their first matches. Spain looked excellent against Costa Rica, with the caveat that the Central Americans are a slow, aged, and modest team. However, you can only beat what is in front of you, and the Spaniards strangled the life out of the game in a manner only they can. Indeed, Spain registered 82 per cent possession and a record 1,045 passes, a record for a World Cup match. They also possessed a clinical edge in front of the goal. Dani Olmo, Marco Asensio, teenager Gavi (now the third youngest-ever scorer in the World Cup), and striker Alvaro Morata, particularly, produced beautiful finishes. This could be ominous for the other big teams, as Spain’s problem in recent times has been converting their chances after dominating games. However, nobody would want to face them if they have brought their scoring boots to Qatar.
Germany played relatively poorly against Japan, although the Japanese are a much quicker, more technical and tenacious team than Costa Rica. Germany looked ponderous, and despite 74 per cent possession and 26 shots, they didn’t create that much of substance. After taking the lead through an Ilkay Gundogan penalty, Jamal Musiala missed a great chance after a beautiful dribble in the box. There was also a chance for Leon Goretzka. The truth is, though, that they needed to do more. Japan were excellent in pressing a lackadaisical German midfield. Indeed, they got through on goal on multiple occasions against a porous German defence, with the winner coming from substitute Takuma Asano after a Nico Schlotterbeck mistake. Germany now enter the match against Spain as slight underdogs and know that a loss will knock them out if Japan avoid defeat against Costa Rica (as seems likely). Spain, for their part, will practically guarantee their place in the knockout round if they win.
Injuries and Suspensions
Might not play: Leroy Sane (Germany)
Will not play:
Spain vs Germany Prediction Analysis
Possible Changes from the First Matches
The World Cup is happening in the middle of a hectic season. The tournament is so condensed that resting players and rotating the team seems paramount. It is hard to second-guess Spain coach Luis Enrique as he likes to tinker with his team. However, this is a massive match against a fellow heavyweight football nation. Therefore, he might start with the same eleven he did against Costa Rica in Spain vs Germany. If Spain win, there will be time to rest players against Japan in the final game when they are likely through. Therefore, we expect central midfielder Rodri to continue to play as centre-back alongside Manchester City clubmate Aymeric Laporte. The Barcelona midfield trident of Sergio Busquets and youngsters Pedri and Gavi should also remain. Enrique might change things around in attack, as he has a plethora of wide forwards at his disposal. There is also the option to start Alvaro Morata in place of Marco Asensio as a more traditional centre-forward.
German coach Hansi Flick, alternatively, has much to consider. The team looked slow and sluggish against Japan and playing Niklas Sule as right-back did not work. Lukas Klostermann could play if he is fit. However, Thilo Kehrer will likely start on the right. Schlotterbeck will probably be dropped to allow Sule to partner Antonio Rudiger in the middle. In midfield, Leon Goretzka staked his claim to start when he came off the bench. However, Joshua Kimmich and Ilkay Gundogan will likely remain. Leroy Sane is a crucial player for Germany, but his fitness remains doubtful. He should come on in the second half if he is fit enough. Jonas Hofmann might come in on the right as a more conventional wide player than Thomas Muller. This change would allow the exciting Jamal Musiala to occupy a more central area where he excels the most. Havertz played poorly as a false nine against Japan, so Niclas Fullkrug might get his chance to start. It is hard to say, as Germany might want to avoid playing with a conventional striker against a possession-based team like Spain so they can pack the midfield. The truth is that they must win this game, so they have to attack.
The Midfield Contest
It goes without saying that the midfield area is of incredible importance in this match. Both teams love to dominate possession. Indeed, Spain are the one team in this tournament who can keep the ball better than Germany. Therefore, Spain will likely control the ball but not to the extent they did against Costa Rica. Gundogan and the elegant Kimmich will have their hands full in dealing with the brilliant Pedri and Gavi. The young Barcelona sensations were fantastic against Costa Rica, intelligently finding space and choosing the correct pass at all moments. This football intelligence is uncommon in young players, but they have it in abundance. They also got forward often, with Pedri having a chance and Gavi scoring a beautiful outside-of-the-boot strike off the post. They and the calm and composed Sergio Busquets are very press-resistant. Kimmich himself is a very good orchestrator of games, but he may be chasing shadows against Pedri.
Still, we think Kimmich can give a good account of himself. The German front players must come deeper, too, to involve themselves in the battle for midfield ascendancy in Spain vs Germany. Musiala will be expected to come deep to link play for the Germans and help by pressing when Spain try to play their short passes in the midfield area. Indeed, Germany must be brave and try to press Spain high. However, this could be a case of diminishing returns, as no team is better than Spain at evading the press. Therefore, Germany could leave themselves exposed at the back if they are too adventurous in their pressure. It is a conundrum for Flick, and playing such a strong team so early in the tournament (and after a disappointing loss) gives him a headache. Enrique knows that his team can keep the ball for fun. He will be telling Rodri and Laporte at the back to maintain what they did against Costa Rica. They must distribute the ball intelligently to the full-backs and Busquets, Gavi, and Pedri. This provision will give Spain the platform to intelligently build the play. Spain will likely win the midfield battle, as Germany seem sluggish in this tournament.
Wide Areas and Shots on Goal
Whichever team controls possession of the ball will be able to wear out their opponents through the match. This is where finding an end product and creating chances becomes so essential. Spain will look to strangle Germany and play little passes into the spaces between the German defence and midfield. It is in these areas that Asensio or Morata will likely operate, dropping deep to help cleverly keep the play moving. The midfielders and forward will also get the ball wide to the Spanish wingers (likely Dani Olmo and Ferran Torres). They can isolate David Raum and Thilo Kehrer at full-back. As usual, the width of the Spanish full-backs in building play and creating overloads will be essential. Dani Carvajal will likely start at right-back after missing the first match, and Jordi Alba is always a willing outlet.
For Germany, Raum must be brave and try to get forward, though he will likely be pinned back sometimes. Kehrer is not a natural full-back in the manner the Spaniards are. There will be a massive onus on Musiala, Serge Gnabry, and potentially Jonas Hofmann to attack the spaces the Spanish full-backs leave. Indeed, the midfielders on both teams must cover these spaces as the wide men for both teams are tricky and clever. Germany will look to transition well and use the pace of Gnabry and Musiala to hit Spain on counters.
Both teams will rely on their attackers to finish their chances in Spain vs Germany. Havertz was poor against Japan, and we think the more traditional number 9 will start in Niclas Fullkrug. He and the three behind him must take any chances when they come their way. The pattern of play is difficult to predict, but we expect Germany to have fewer chances, so when they arrive, they must take them. Equally, at the other end, Spain’s likely superior possession will not necessarily translate to an abundance of chances. Therefore, in a game which is likely to be cagey, the forwards for both teams must try to take their chances when they arrive. Manuel Neuer in the German goal will present a challenge for the Spanish players, some of whom have been profligate in recent years.
Spain have plenty of changes they can make. They can use Pau Torres or Eric Garcia at centre-back or Cesar Azpiliecuta as a versatile option anywhere in defence. Left-back Alejandro Balde impressed in his cameo at Costa Rica and is an alternative to Alba. Koke, Carlos Soler, and Marcos Llorente are options in midfield. Yeremy Pino, Nico Williams, and Ansu Fati might come on in wide areas.
For Germany, the obvious options are Leroy Sane, Kai Havertz, Leon Goretzka, and Thomas Muller. Sane is a game-changer with his speed and trickery, and he might come on in the second half if Germany need an injection of energy. Muller brings experience and intelligence, and Goretzka can freshen things up in midfield areas. Julian Brandt and Mario Gotze are also options, as are youngsters Karim Adeyemi and Youssoufa Moukoko.
Spain Key Players
Having turned 20 only a few days ago, Pedri shows a very calm and composed demeanour for someone as young as he is. He was exceptional against Costa Rica, but this match represents a step up in challenge. He must link well with clubmates Busquets and Gavi to try to control the ball and starve the Germans of possession. Pedri also showed a willingness to get forward against Costa Rica and will look to join the attack and find little pockets in the German defensive third to exploit. Once there, he can slip the ball wide or play cute little through balls for Morata or Asensio. Pedri will be vital in the midfield battle, especially up against Kimmich.
Torres has only sometimes been a clinical finisher in his club and international career. However, he produced two goals against Costa Rica. He will be responsible for isolating Kehrer or Raum against Germany (depending on what side he plays) and getting at the German backline. He can come inside onto Rudiger and Sule to get shots away or try to link up with his full-back to create gaps in the box to exploit. Torres is a very intelligent player, and his pace, dribbling, link-up and shooting will all be crucial in Spain vs Germany. He and his fellow attackers must have their shooting boots on, as chances are likely to be at a premium.
Germany Key Players
Like Pedri, Kimmich is an elegant, classy, intelligent, and technical midfielder at the heart of his team’s midfield. He will try to stop the Spanish flow and rhythm in this game by getting on the ball and stopping the Spaniards from pressing him high. Kimmich must try to retain the ball and link up with his teammates in midfield. His triangle with Gundogan and Musiala will be critical, as it is here that Germany can find success in playing through Spain. Kimmich is very talented and must be brave when Gavi and Pedri swarm him. His passing and composure will determine if Germany can gain a foothold against Spain.
Musiala, like Pedri and Gavi, has a bright future ahead of him at both club and international levels. He is a very technically gifted young man, a fantastic dribbler, and wise beyond his years on the pitch. Like Kimmich, he must take the ball in dangerous areas against Spain and try to stop the Spaniards from winning the ball from him through interceptions and harrying. If he can receive the ball in the Spanish defensive third and get turned, he will have the opportunity to drive at the centre-backs or exploit the spaces the full-backs leave. His dribbling, passing, finishing, and cute little link-up play will be vital. He is a more advanced player than Gavi and Pedri; he has the genius that could decide this match.
Spain vs Germany Prediction
Spain vs Germany is clearly a challenging game to predict. It is a clash between two European heavyweights of international football. Despite Germany’s poor start to the tournament, it could go either way. The pressure is on Germany, as Japan may have beaten Costa Rica by the game’s commencement. In that event, a German loss would eliminate them from the tournament. Spain will smell blood here, as they know they have the passing and pressing game to exploit any weakness or lack of confidence in the German team. Still, most of the time, Germany seem to grow into tournaments and perform. They will likely give Spain a difficult game here, but we predict Spain to narrowly edge it as we believe they will create more chances. It could go either way, but we think the Germans will be eliminated after this game.