Germany v Ghana: World Cup 2014 match preview

Black Stars

 

  • Venue: Estadio Castelao, Fortaleza
  • Date: Saturday 21 June
  • Kick-off: 20:00 BST

TEAM NEWS

Germany defender Mats Hummels will be given every opportunity to prove his fitness after badly bruising his thigh against Portugal.

Regardless of whether Hummels is fit or not, captain Philipp Lahm will stay in his new defensive midfield role.

Ghana’s Michael Essien has returned to full training after a toe injury.

Kevin-Prince Boateng could come into the starting line-up, meaning he will be on opposing sides to his half-brother, Jerome, of Germany.

MATCH PREVIEW

After a testing build-up to the World Cup that undermined their prospects of ending an 18-year wait for a major trophy, Germany gave the best possible riposte with a clinical thrashing of Portugal in the opening match of Group G. Why did anyone doubt them?

Thomas Muller made it seven World Cup goals in his last four games, Toni Kroos gave a playmaking masterclass that saw him nicknamed ‘Garcon’ (the waiter) by the Brazilian media for his ability to deliver passes to team-mates, right-back Philipp Lahm excelled in midfield, and the threat of Portugal’s Cristiano Ronaldo was completely neutralised.

Diego Maradona may have damned Muller with faint praise after the match – “He has no muscles, but he tore them apart” – but the Bayern Munich man gave the strongest example you could wish to see of how to play the ‘false nine’ role.

“He is a very unorthodox player and you can’t really predict his lines of running, but he has one aim and that is ‘how can I score a goal?'”, said Germany head coach Joachim Low.

Thanks to Muller’s hat-trick in the 4-0 thrashing of the Portuguese, victory for Germany in this match could all but secure their qualification for the last 16, given their goal difference.

Things don’t look so rosy for the Ghanaians.Their defeat to the USA was followed by rumours of squad unrest, which have been denied.

One sub-plot to this match is provided by the Boateng half-brothers, Jerome of Germany and Kevin-Prince of Ghana, who will line-up on opposite sides for the second successive World Cup.

Never short of an opinion, Kevin-Prince claims Low’s side lack leadership: “In really tight matches for Germany there was never anyone who stepped up to take charge. It’s a fundamental truth.

“I see an outstanding team but whenever something is at stake they do not make the final step. They just lack this one guy.”

There seemed to be leaders all over the pitch against Portugal. Tougher tests may yet prove Boateng’s theory, but for now the German machine is up and running.

MATCH FACTS

Head-to-head

  • Germany have won their two previous games against Ghana: 6-1 in a friendly in April 1993 and 1-0 in the World Cup group stage at the last World Cup. Mesut Ozil scored the only goal in that match, with Thomas Muller providing the assist.
  • All seven of Germany’s goals against Ghana have been scored after the 60th minute.

Germany

  • The only defeat Germany have suffered in six previous matches against African sides at a World Cup came against Algeria in 1982.
  • Germany have only lost one of their last 19 games in the group stage of the World Cup – a 1-0 defeat against Serbia in 2010.
  • Germany have opened their last seven World Cups with a victory. However, they have won their second World Cup group game on just one occasion since 1994 – against Poland in 2006.
  • Miroslav Klose currently has 14 World Cup goals – only Brazil’s Ronaldo has more (15).
  • Thomas Muller has scored eight goals in seven World Cup games, including seven in his last four.
  • Per Mertesacker will become the 13th German to win 100 caps.

Ghana

  • Four of the last six World Cup goals Ghana have conceded have come from set-pieces, including the late winner for the USA in their opening group match.
  • Ghana had 21 shots on goal against the USA but only three were on target.
  • The Black Stars have won just four of their 11 World Cup matches.

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