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Preview: Germany vs. Romania - prediction, team news, lineups
07/10/2021 10:56:11

Germany welcome Romania to Hamburg's Volksparkstadion on Friday evening in the latest round of World Cup 2022 European qualifiers.

The hosts sit comfortably top of Group J, whilst their opponents have fought back from a tough start and are now battling with Armenia and North Macedonia for second place.

We say: Germany 3-1 Romania

Romania's run of clean sheets looks very likely to come to end, but they also pose more of an attacking threat than Germany's most recent opponents so Die Mannschaft may also find themselves conceding.

Nonetheless, we expect Flick's side to continue their upward trajectory and secure a comfortable win on home soil.

Match preview

New manager Hansi Flick has enjoyed a perfect start to his time in charge of the German national team, with three victories in his first three games and no goals conceded.

Die Mannschaft are not unbeaten in the group as a single loss came, under the tutelage of Flick's predecessor Joachim Low, against North Macedonia in the final game before their eventful run to the round of 16 at Euro 2020.

The conclusion of that tournament saw Low finally depart after 15 years at the helm with the 61-year-old, despite at one point having been a national hero as he guided to the team to World Cup glory in 2014, perhaps having overstayed his welcome.

Under former Bayern Munich boss Flick, Germany appear to have rediscovered their mojo - they scored 12 and conceded none in the space of a week, as they beat Liechtenstein 2-0, Armenia 6-0 and then Iceland 4-0.

They may have struggled to convert chances in that first game, as they registered 29 shots against minnows Liechtenstein, but the performances in the following two games were mightily impressive and they will be confident of extending their lead at the top of the group in Friday's game.

Romania will be doing their best to stop them, however, and arguably have more on the line as they battle with two other countries for the second qualification spot.

After a poor run of four consecutive defeats earlier in the year, Mirel Radoi's side turned a corner and can match Germany in not having conceded in their three previous games.

Goals from Dennis Man and Nicolae Stanciu secured a 2-0 win away at Iceland, two more from Alin Tosca and Cristian Manea then matched that scoreline against Liechtenstein, and a goalless draw with North Macedonia concluded their last batch of qualifiers.

The Tricolorii are looking to reach the World Cup finals for the first time since 1998 and appear to have found form under their new manager at a crucial time.

They will head into this game aware that the odds are stacked against them, but every point will be crucial with just four games remaining and two points separating themselves, Armenia and North Macedonia in the likely battle for second in Group J.

Team News

Injury has ruled Robin Gosens out of Flick's squad so Paris Saint-Germain's Thilo Kehrer looks set to start at left-back, with Jonas Hofmann likely retaining his spot on the opposite side of a back four.

With Toni Kroos retired from international duty and Ilkay Gundogan injured, the Bayern Munich duo of Leon Goretzka and Joshua Kimmich look likely to start in midfield, with up-and-coming 18-year-old Florian Wirtz in contention for the role just in front of them.

If he makes it into the starting XI, there will only be three attacking places remaining for Leroy Sane, Serge Gnabry, Kai Havertz and Timo Werner to fight over.

Romania will be without midfielder Dragos Nedelcu, who is suspended on Friday due to an accumulation of bookings in the qualifiers up to this point.

This, combined with the clear threat posed by Germany, may lead to the team changing shape away from the more attacking 4-3-3 they played against North Macedonia last month.

Vlad Chiriches will be partnered by either Tosca or Ionut Nedelcearu in central defence, with goalscorer Manea and Andrei Ratiu battling it out for the spot at right-back.

Germany possible starting lineup:

Neuer; Hofmann, Sule, Rudiger, Kehrer; Kimmich, Goretzka; Havertz, Wirtz, Sane; Werner

Romania possible starting lineup:

Nita; Ratiu, Chiriches, Nedelcearu, Bancu; Stanciu, Marin; Hagi, Cicaldau, Maxim; Keseru

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