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Preview: Netherlands vs. Germany - prediction, team news, lineups

:Headline: Preview: Netherlands vs. Germany - prediction, team news, lineups: ID:354175: from db_amp
Sports Mole previews Sunday's Euro 2020 qualifier between the Netherlands and Germany, including predictions, team news and head-to-head records.

One of international football's biggest grudge matches takes place at the Johan Cruyff ArenA on Sunday evening as the Netherlands play host to Germany in a Euro 2020 qualifier.

Ronald Koeman's side got off to a flying start by beating Belarus 4-0 in their opening Group C fixture, but this will be a far tougher test against a new-look Germany side coming off the back of a terrible World Cup.


After missing out on successive major tournaments, Koeman has been tasked with stopping the rot by guiding Oranje to Euro 2020 - a tournament that they will jointly host - by any means necessary.

Being drawn in a group with perennial qualifiers Germany makes Koeman's life tougher, but that was always to be expected after sliding down the world rankings in recent years to an all-time low of 22nd in 2016.

Koeman has enjoyed a positive first year in the job since taking over from Dick Advocaat last March, losing just two of his 11 matches in charge of the fallen European giants.

The first of those defeats came in a friendly against England in his very first match exactly a year ago; the second was a 2-1 loss to France last September in a Nations League clash.

The Netherlands may have fallen just short against the world champions, but they recovered by collecting seven points from the next nine on offer to finish top of their group, setting up a semi-final tie with England in Portugal later this year.

Oranje beat Germany 3-0 in Amsterdam and claimed a dramatic 2-2 draw in the reverse fixture, earning the point they needed to finish above France thanks to last-gasp goals from Quincy Promes and Virgil van Dijk in Gelsenkirchen.

Since then, Koeman's men have played just one more match - Thursday's 4-0 win over Belarus that leaves them top of the early Group C standings on goal difference.

Two goals from Memphis Depay, one from Georginio Wijnaldum and one from Van Dijk ensured that the Netherlands' momentum - they are without defeat in five matches - continues heading into this ultimate grudge match with Germany.

Recent form in Euro 2020 qualifying: W
Recent form (all competitions): LWDWDW


Joachim Low has had plenty of time to devise a fresh plan in the nine months since his side suffered a shock group-stage exit in the 2018 World Cup, with the Germans becoming the latest defending champions to suffer humiliation.

Wednesday's friendly with Serbia in Wolfsburg offered a first real chance to see the change of direction Low recently promised, having axed Bayern Munich trio Mats Hummels, Jerome Boateng and Thomas Muller from his squad, effectively ending their international careers.

Football moves very quickly, and that was best epitomised by the fact that goalkeeper Manuel Neuer - himself seemingly on the wane - was the only World Cup winner to start against Serbia.

Germany struggled to create too many chances but they did manage to recover from an early Luka Jovic-inflicted deficit to snatch a 1-1 draw, thanks to Leon Goretzka's fierce strike in the second half.

Low admitted after the match that his youthful side 'did not function' very well as a unit in the first half, but he was "satisfied" with the overall performance.

The DFB's decision to stick with Low last summer was a surprise to many, though the federation clearly feel that he is the right man to turn things around. Having guided his nation to World Cup success in 2014, an extra two years is the least he deserves.

Including their underwhelming Nations League results, Die Mannschaft have won just two of their seven matches since the World Cup, coming in friendlies against Peru and Russia. In competitive matches, they have won one out of seven.

Low would have liked to have been given the opportunity to ease his side into qualifying, but their toughest match comes first with this trip to the Dutch capital. If the 59-year-old is looking to send out a message, though, there is no better chance to do so than picking up all three points this weekend.

Recent form (all competitions): WLLWDD

Team News

Koeman unsurprisingly named arguably his strongest-possible XI for the opening-game win over Belarus, knowing the importance of making a positive start to this Euro 2020 qualifying campaign.

A change or two may be necessary for Sunday's match, however, as Denzel Dumfries left the field with an injury and replacement right-back Kenny Tete has also withdrawn from the squad.

Atalanta's Hans Hateboer has been called up and is in line to slot straight into the backline, alongside one of the most formidable central-defensive partnerships in Van Dijk and Matthijs de Ligt.

Low is expected to stick by Neuer for the start of the qualifying campaign, but whether he goes with a back three or back four in front of the Bayern Munich keeper is less clear.

Timo Werner did not exactly take his chance against Serbia and could lose his place to Marco Reus up top, while Leroy Sane should start after recovering from a nasty Milan Pavkov challenge in midweek.

Elsewhere, Antonio Rudiger - an unused sub last time out - will be pushing for inclusion, as will Toni Kroos in central midfield.

Netherlands possible starting lineup:
Cillessen; Hateboer, Van Dijk, De Ligt, Blind; De Roon, De Jong, Wijnaldum; Bergwijn, Depay, Babel

Germany possible starting lineup:
Neuer; Rudiger, Sule, Ginter; Klostermann, Kimmich, Kroos, Halstenberg; Gnabry, Reus, Sane

Head To Head

The Netherlands are unbeaten in their last three matches against Germany, winning one and drawing two.

November's 2-2 draw not only meant that Oranje qualified for this summer's Nations League finals but also relegated their opponents from the top tier.

However, Die Mannschaft have the better overall record in this fixture, winning 15 matches compared to the Netherlands' 11 from 42 games played.

We say: Netherlands 2-1 Germany

Koeman's men have won eight of their last nine matches on home turf and have momentum on their side. Germany, by comparison, struggled for wins throughout 2018 and may need time to gel together as a team, so we are backing the home side to come out on top.

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