Germany′s predicted line-up vs. England | Sports| German football and major international sports news | DW | 24.03.2016
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Germany's predicted line-up vs. England

The first of Germany's final four friendlies takes place on Saturday, in Berlin, against England. DW's Alex Chaffer has selected the line-up he expects Joachim Löw to employ against Roy Hodgson's side.

Just four friendly matches remain for Germany before the current world champions embark on a European Championship campaign in which they are widely expected to reach at least the final. The first of those final four matches takes place on Saturday, against England, in Berlin. Here is how I expect Joachim Löw to line-up his team.

Goalkeeper: Manuel Neuer

There is no question who will be the starting goalkeeper when the Euros start, and Löw still needs to sort out his reserve goalkeepers. Manuel Neuer still should be the starter against England, even though Bernd Leno, Marc-André ter Stegen and Kevin Trapp need to be tested in these friendly matches.

The Bayern Munich number one has been the best in the Bundesliga once again this season. However, Germany's defence ahead of him is a very uncertain one, so it is important that Neuer secures gametime with each of the players that could be his protectors come the summer.

Right-back: Matthias Ginter

A number of players have taken up this role since the retirement of Philipp Lahm after the 2014 World Cup. Antonio Rüdiger and Sebastian Rudy are two of those who are also named in the squad, but it was Borussia Dortmund's Matthias Ginter who impressed most at club level in this position.

While he has lost his place in the starting line-up at Dortmund, his performances during the first half of the season and at the end of last season can't be dismissed. This is one of the most competitive positions heading into the European Championships because the lack of talent is not something Germany is used to.

Center-back: Shkodran Mustafi

With the budding young talent of Jonathan Tah included in the squad, options are surprisingly plentiful for Löw without Jerome Boateng available. That being said, Shkodran Mustafi's recent inclusion as a starter for Germany in central defense may be a tactic Löw repeats in these friendlies.

However, don't be surprised if Tah is given the biggest test of his young career. After a consistently improving season at Bayern Leverkusen, Tah is worthy of his chance and will be well aware that he could earn a place in the squad while Boateng is absent, but with the defence changing constantly in recent fixtures, Mustafi's selection from the start would indicate Löw is after some consistency before tournament-time.

Fußball 1. Bundesliga FC Augsburg - Borussia Dortmund

Mats Hummels is all but a certainty for Löw's squad

Center-back: Mats Hummels

This one is all but a certainty. With Boateng's absence, the experience and leadership in defence falls upon Dortmund's Mats Hummels for this game. If Boateng is fit in time to start the European Championships, his partnership alongside Hummels will be vital to any success Germany have.

Left-back: Jonas Hector

Despite being a new face in the Germany squad, this could be one of the biggest tests of Hector's developing international career. With pace expected to be a main component of the English attack, Hector, as well as Ginter, could be in for a long night of running.

The Cologne captain has been playing his club football from a holding midfield role in recent weeks, but with Borussia Dortmund's Marcel Schmelzer again left out of the squad, Hector is the only real option Löw has left himself in this position.

Defensive midfield: Toni Kroos

With the late injury of Germany captain Bastian Schweinsteiger ruling the Manchester United midfielder out of this friendly, Real Madrid's Toni Kroos is expected to fill his role, despite it being in an uncomfortable position for him.

Kroos much prefers a ‘number 10' role behind the striker, but in Löw's set-up, that position is secured by Mesut Özil. Kroos, therefore, will be used as more of a deep-lying playmaker alongside the more defensively sound Sami Khedira.

Sami Khedira

Sami Khedira will be looking to prove his fitness levels are up to scratch

Defensive midfield: Sami Khedira

Sami Khedira has been a consistent performer for Juventus since he joined the Italian club over the summer. Staying off the injury list is the most important thing for him ahead of the European Championship, and with Schweinsteiger's injury potentially ruling him out of the tournament; Khedira could be in line for an important role in Löw's plans.

Right-wing: Thomas Müller

He can play anywhere, but more often than not, we see Bayern Munich's versatile German star from the right side of the three players behind a striker for Löw. Expect movement all across this attacking trio, though, with their freedom to roam being a factor in opening spaces between the English midfield and defence.

Central attacking midfield: Mesut Özil

This position may be the most certain one of them all for the European Championship, even three months before the start of the tournament. Although Mesut Özil is played from the left or right wing for his club side Arsenal, his role as the ‘number 10' is never in question for Germany. The assist-master will be looking to continue his club form on the international stage ahead of the European Championships. Özil has 19 assists in all club competitions this season, but just five in his last nine appearances for Germany.

Fußball Deutschland Nationalmannschaft Mesut Özil Marco Reus Mario Götze

Marco Reus and Mario Götze provide a special partnership on the pitch

Left-wing: Marco Reus

Much like Özil, Marco Reus will be hoping to carry his impressive club form over to the national team before the summer starts, as well as staying out of the physio room. His 19 goals and six assists in all competitions for Borussia Dortmund this season are impressive figures, but his production will be in vain if he is subject to another injury.

Löw may even be tempted to wrap the Dortmund winger in bubble-wrap in the closer build-up to the summer, instead of playing him in the final two friendly matches.

Striker: Mario Götze

Max Kruse appears to have let his chance slip away while Mario Gomez may be too old and Andre Schürrle too inconsistent. So, World Cup winner, the pressure is on.

Mario Götze has experienced a difficult season with Bayern Munich, but Löw has never lost faith in the 23-year old. With a lack of front-line attacking options, Götze's role as more of a roaming ‘false-nine' could be an experiment worth making before the European Championship, especially against a fellow tournament contender in England.

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