Manuel Veth –
Belarus vs Germany – Saturday, June 8, 19:45BST/20:45CEST – Borisov Arena, Borisov, Belarus
Belarus have never before qualified for a major tournament. The post-Soviet Republic, however, have a big chance of doing exactly that thanks to winning the UEFA Nations League D over Luxembourg, Moldova and San Marino.
The Belyya kryly will enter the UEFA Nations League playoffs in March. Meanwhile, there is very little chance that Belarus can qualify over the conventional path. Two defeats, over 0-4 against the Netherlands and 1-2 against Northern Ireland, will make it next to impossible to finish second in Group C.
Furthermore, Belarus will be without superstar Aleksandr Hleb. The former Stuttgart attacking midfielder saw his contract at BATE dissolved and is currently without a club. Speaking of BATE, the game will take place at the Borisov Arena, which has a capacity of just 13,000 but is considered the most modern in the country. Although smaller than the Dinamo Stadium in Minsk the Borisov Arena has no running track and is, therefore, a better football venue.
A Champions League stadium and a good crowd can be expected. Furthermore, Belyya kryly will be motivated against Germany on Saturday. After all, head coach Igor Kriushenko promised that he would shave off his glorious moustache should his side earn a point against the four times world champions and three times European champions.
Germany, in the meantime, will be without their head coach. Bundestrainer Joachim Löw is suffering from the after-effects of a weight training accident and will miss both this game and the game against Estonia on Tuesday. He will be replaced by assistant coach Marcus Sorg, who will be in constant contact with the Bundestrainer throughout the game.
Meanwhile, die Nationalmannschaft headed to the Netherlands to prepare for this game. In Venlo, Germany prepared for the always unpopular June games. “I think the current match calendar is awkward,” Marco Reus said in an interview with kicker this week. “In my opinion, there should be no more games after the Champions League final,” he added.
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Indeed, players find it difficult to restart their bodies after having two weeks off. Perhaps there is a chance for Belarus to surprise Germany, after all, Belarusian clubs operate on the spring to fall schedule. At the same time, Germany have never dropped points in June. In fact, Germany have only lost twice in June, the last time 24 years ago against Bulgaria (2-3).
An easy task for Germany then? On paper, yes, but the game is also about much more, Die Mannschaft is expected to continue the path they have started against the Netherlands in the fall, and even without the Bundestrainer present fans and officials want to see further progress on the path towards returning Germany to the world elite.
Hence, the game against Belarus will not just be about three points but about a clear signal that Die Mannschaft have taken the poor results in 2018 serious.
Belarus vs Germany – Players to look out for:
Denis Polyakov #5 – Belarus (Ural Yekaterinburg)
Denis Polyakov left BATE Borisov in January to join Russian side Ural. There on the border to Asia, the defender helped Ural avoid relegation and also helped guide the club to the Russian Cup final where Ural narrowly lost to Lokomotiv Moscow in Samara. Overall, Polyakov made 13 appearances for Ural this season, a solid defender he will be asked to guide Belarus’ backline on Saturday against Germany’s fast attacking players.
Marco Reus #11 – Germany (Borussia Dortmund)
One of those attacking players will be Marco Reus. Germany are expected to play with three variable attacking midfielders in a 4-3-3 formation rather than with a true number 9 in a 4-2-3-1 configuration. It is a role that Marco Reus does not always feel comfortable in, against Bayern, for example, Lucien Favre nominated Reus as a striker, but Dortmund lost the game 5-0. Afterwards, Reus criticised his role in the game. But Germany will play a bit different against Belarus on Saturday with all three attacking players switching positions frequently. “It isn’t about holding the position,” Reus said this week. “But to permanently rotate and to give the opponent ever new tasks. It is something that suits me.”
Belarus vs Germany – Match Stats
- This is the first time Die Nationalmannschaft will play in Belarus.
- The two teams have only met once previously, in 2008 Belarus managed a 2-2 draw in front of 47,000 spectators at the Fritz-Walter-Stadion in Kaiserslautern.
- Germany started Euro 2020 qualifying with a 3-2 victory over the Netherlands in Amsterdam. Belarus have lost their first two games of Euro 2020 qualifying. They lost 4-0 to the Netherlands and 2-1 to Northern Ireland.
Futbolgrad Network Prediction: Belarus vs Germany – 0-2
Belarus vs Germany – Lineups
Gutor – Volodko, Polyakov, Martynovich, Shitov – Kislyak, Maevski – Stasevich, Dragun, Nekhaychik – Gordeychuk
Head Coach: Igor Kriushenko
Neuer – Schulz, Süle, Ginter, Klostermann – Gündogan, Goretzka, Kimmich – Sané, Reus, Gnabry
Head Coach: Marcus Sorg (Interim)
Manuel Veth is the owner and Editor in Chief of the Futbolgrad Network. He also works as a freelance journalist and among others contributes to Forbes.com and Pro Soccer USA. He holds a Doctorate of Philosophy in History from King’s College London, and his thesis is titled: “Selling the People’s Game: Football’s transition from Communism to Capitalism in the Soviet Union and its Successor States,” which is available HERE. Originally from Munich, Manuel has lived in Amsterdam, Kyiv, Moscow, Tbilisi, London, and currently is located in Victoria BC, Canada. Follow Manuel on Twitter @ManuelVeth.