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World Cup 2018: Germany vs Sweden, 3 key battles that could decide the match

ANALYST
Top 5 / Top 10
839   //    23 Jun 2018, 16:34 IST

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FBL-WC-2018-GERMANY-TRAINING

The second round of fixtures of the 2018 FIFA World Cup group stage are already underway and we have some interesting clashes lined up for today. One of them is Germany’s Group F match against Sweden to be played at Fisht Olympic stadium in Sochi.

Who would have thought the defending champions, with the kind of firepower they have in their squad, would be staring at an early exit from the World Cup coming into just their second match of the tournament!

Die Mannschaft endured a shock 1-0 defeat against Mexico in their opening match. They can’t afford a slip-up against the Scandinavians if they are to progress into the next round and remain World Cup contenders.

Sweden, on the other hand, after an unconvincing yet deserved 1-0 victory over South Korea, would go into this match brimming with confidence.

Out of the four times these two have met at World Cups, Germany have won three with Sweden coming out on top just once.

So, Who will have the last laugh this time around? Well, if there's one thing we've learnt from the previous fixtures, it's to not predict a winner.

You have to wait for the final whistle to find the answer and while you do that, just take a look at three key battles within the war which could be decisive in terms of the final result:


#3 Timo Werner vs Andreas Granqvist

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Granqvist's defensive skills will be put to test against the German front-line

While much has been made of Germany’s defensive failings against Mexico, their attack wasn’t too promising either. The Die Mannschaft hit-man, Timo Werner failed to impress in a lone striker role, perhaps because he received minimal service from behind.

Nevertheless, the RB Leipzig man who scored 20 goals in all competitions last season, remains Germany’s most potent attacking weapon up front.

The 22-year-old is still sharpening his tools at the international level and can be dangerous with his pace and deadly shooting ability. However, he will have to overcome a compact Swedish back-line led by their talismanic captain Andreas Granqvist.

Apart from his goal against South Korea, the centre-back was inspiring with his defensive display as he had a team-best of 88 touches and three clearances, helping Sweden to their fifth clean sheet in six matches.

At 6’3’’, Granqvist is a colossus and can be physically intimidating at times.

Werner needs to be a little more involved in the play and link up with the likes of Julian Draxler and Thomas Muller more if he is to get the better of the Swedish defence.

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