Germany will bid to return to winning ways when they host a struggling Iceland side at the MSV-Arena in Duisberg on Thursday.
Joachim Löw’s men were rocked by a 6-0 drubbing at the hands of Spain in their last game. It saw them finish second in their UEFA Nations League group, two points behind the Spaniards, and caused alarm among the German press.
Since then, Löw has announced that he will retire after this summer’s European Championship, marking the end of an era. Germany won the 2014 World Cup during his tenure, but they were eliminated in the group stage four years later.
Only a couple of veterans remain from that 2014 team, but the current crop looks pretty formidable. They were unbeaten in 10 games before losing to Spain, and the new era could be a successful one for Germany.
The midfield looks exceptionally strong. World Cup winner Toni Kroos is still operating at the peak of his powers, while Bayern Munich duo Joshua Kimmich and Leon Goretzka were pivotal in leading their team to Champions League glory last year. Ilkay Gundogan is also a Player of the Season candidate in the Premier League after dazzling for league leaders Man City.
Bayern wingers Serge Gnabry and Leroy Sané provide a great deal of pace and dynamism in wide areas. They perhaps lack a predatory striker, but Löw will hope to see Timo Werner rediscover his best form.
The defence is not exactly rock solid, as was evidenced by that 6-0 defeat to Spain, but there is competition for places. Löw may opt to partner Bayern’s Niklas Sule with Antonio Rudiger of Chelsea, but the likes of Jonathan Tah, Matthias Ginter and Lukas Klostermann are all pretty solid.
Iceland are in very poor form right now. They have lost five games in a row, and they finished rock bottom of their Nations League group, with zero points from six matches. The population of the entire country is smaller than that of Duisberg, which is Germany’s 15th largest city.
Despite having a small pool to choose from, Iceland have punched above their weight on the world stage in recent years. Yet that golden era could be coming to an end following a poor run of results over the past couple of years.
Their best player is Everton’s Gylfi Sigurdsson, but he is unavailable for this game, robbing Iceland of their main playmaker. They could therefore struggle to unlock Germany’s defence, and it could prove to be a torrid afternoon against a team with a point to prove.
Germany are best priced at just 2/15 (1.14) with Unibet to win this game, so you will need to dig a little deeper to find value. Win to nil might not be too appealing, given Germany’s recent record, but there is value in the handicap lines.
Bet365 has 10/11 (1.91) on Germany -2.25 Asian handicap, which looks attractive. Iceland lost 4-0 away at England in their last game, and they lost 5-1 away at Belgium six months ago, so they seem to struggle against teams with high-quality forwards.
You can push it to -2.5 and get odds of 22/19 (2.16) with MansionBet if you are feeling more bullish, or take 4/6 (1.67) at Betfred for a -2 Asian handicap if you want to play it more cautiously. Betfred also has 6/5 (2.20) on Germany to win and over 3.5 goals.
Another interesting approach could be to look at the goalscorers market. Gnabry is an exceptionally dangerous forward, and he is priced at 19/20 (1.95) with Unibet to score at any time in this match, which looks great when you consider how leaky Iceland’s defence has been in recent months.