Euro 2020, France vs Germany: 3 key battles to watch out for in FRA vs GER: World champions France kick-off their Euro 2020 aspirations against Germany at the Allianz Arena in Munich on Wednesday (IST). Les Bleus finished runners-up to Portugal in the competition four years ago on home soil and are one of the favourites to go all the way this time around.
In addition to Germany, Didier Deschamps’ men will also have to face Portugal and Hungary in Group F. As such, the need for a steady start is of paramount importance to them. Germany are also keen to make an impression considering they were knocked out in the group stages of the 2018 World Cup.
Joachim Low is set for his final hurrah as head coach of the German national team and his players will be determined to provide the ideal farewell.
As both teams prepare for the challenge on their hands, we take a closer look at three key player battles that could define the outcome of the game.
Euro 2020, France vs Germany: 3 key battles to watch out for in FRA vs GER:
Euro 2020, France vs Germany: Key Battle 1
Ilkay Gundogan vs N’Golo Kante
The two midfielders are very familiar with each other thanks to their involvement in the Premier League. Although Gundogan was sensational in the run to Manchester City winning the league title, Kante had the last laugh in the Champions League final with Chelsea.
On Wednesday, most of the faces around them on the pitch would have changed, but the idea remains the same. Try to nullify each other and tilt the scale in favour of their teams.
Euro 2020, France vs Germany: Key Battle 2
Karim Benzema vs Mats Hummels
There is a reason why Kylian Mbappe does not feature on the list. While there is no doubting the genius of the PSG forward, Benzema might just have a bigger role to play against Germany.
Deschamps’ system relies heavily on the centre-forward to bring in the likes of Mbappe and Antoine Griezmann into the game. Benzema is excellent at link-up play and doesn’t mind working the channels to make space for the others around him.
Hummels, who will be at the heart of Germany’s defence, will have to keep Benzema in check or the game could slip away quickly.
Euro 2020, France vs Germany: Key Battle 3
Thomas Muller vs Raphael Varane
Muller is an expert in occupying pockets of space between the lines and influencing play. The German is a master at what he does best and will look to do the same against France.
The world champions will be relying on the Varane to try and deal with the threat. In addition to positional awareness, Varane will also have to marshal his back-four effectively to remain alert all throughout.
Even the slightest of margins could be a welcome invitation for Muller to provide the killer blow.