Preview: Germany vs. Denmark

The second of two Euro 2024 last-16 ties taking place on Saturday, hosts Germany clash with Denmark at the Signal Iduna Park in Dortmund in the late kickoff.

Julian Nagelsmann’s men topped Group A to cruise into the knockout rounds, while their Scandinavian counterparts nabbed second place in a highly forgettable Group C.

Match preview

Banishing the demons of their last two World Cup campaigns, which both ended with premature group-stage exits, Germany had already rubber-stamped their knockout place with just two games gone thanks to putting a combined seven goals past Scotland and Hungary.

Simply avoiding defeat versus Switzerland on the final matchday and Die Mannschaft were guaranteed to progress as group winners, but Nagelsmann’s men were on the brink of being unexpectedly demoted down to the runners-up spot thanks to Dan Ndoye’s opener.

However, on an evening of dramatic late goals in Group A, Niclas Fullkrug – who takes to home turf this weekend – popped up with an injury-time leveller to just about ensure Germany’s status as group winners, thereby avoiding a last-16 battle with reigning champions Italy.

In a peculiar turn of events, though, Switzerland are arguably now on the easier side of the knockout draw, as Germany have been grouped with fellow heavyweights Spain, France, Portugal and Belgium as their reward for winning the group and reaching the last 16 for the fifth time in a row.

A quarter-final clash with either Spain or the unfancied Georgia will await if Germany can do the business against Denmark, and they arrive at Borussia Dortmund’s headquarters still unbeaten from their seven matches in the calendar year, prevailing in five and playing out two draws.

Speaking of one-point affairs, Group C was one for the stalemate specialists in England, Slovenia, Serbia and Denmark, all of whom contributed to the joint lowest-scoring men’s Euros group in history with just seven goals scored across six games.

Upcoming foes Germany were coincidentally involved in the only previous seven-goal section in 2016, and despite not winning any of their games in the group, Denmark’s three draws with their three foes was enough for Kasper Hjulmand’s side to clinch the silver medal position.

The Danes were responsible for just two of the seven strikes in Group C – although Morten Hjulmand’s rocket versus England will certainly go down as a goal-of-the-tournament contender – and they have now qualified for the knockout stages of back-to-back Euros for the first time ever.

Hjulmand will be under no illusions that improvements are required quickly if his troops are to stand a chance of shocking the tournament hosts, but they coincidentally share Germany’s seven-match unbeaten run in 2024 and have just one loss under their belts from their last 15 contests.

However, Germany emerged triumphant over Denmark during their last competitive showdown at the 2012 European Championships – prevailing 2-1 in the group phase thanks to Lukasz Podolski and Lars Bender – but both friendly encounters since have ended 1-1.

Team News

Germany boss Nagelsmann went with the same starting XI for all three of his side’s Group A games, but he will be forced into at least one alteration here, as Jonathan Tah has been booked twice and must serve a one-match ban.

Furthermore, Tah’s regular centre-back partner – Antonio Rudiger – has been hampered by a hamstring problem and did not train with the team earlier this week, although there is still optimism that he will be able to marshal the Mannschaft defence, likely alongside Nico Schlotterbeck.

Robin Koch and Waldemar Anton are both waiting in the wings if need be, and Fullkrug’s strike off the bench against Switzerland gives Nagelsmann a bit more food for thought up top, but there is no indication that Kai Havertz will lose his place.

Similarly, Denmark head coach Hjulmand must also work around a suspension to an integral figure on Saturday, as Sporting Lisbon midfielder and his namesake Morten Hjulmand is also on the naughty step due to a totting-up of yellow cards.

The Red and Whites boss is not short of options to replace him, though, as Brentford duo Christian Norgaard and Mathias Jensen are competent alternatives, as is Thomas Delaney, who recovered from illness to come off the bench against Serbia.

Further up the field, Jonas Wind has not been cutting the mustard up front since his delicate assist for Christian Eriksen against Slovenia, so any of Andreas Skov Olsen, Kasper Dolberg or Yussuf Poulsen might threaten his position.

Germany possible starting lineup:
Neuer; Kimmich, Schlotterbeck, Rudiger, Mittelstadt; Kroos, Andrich; Musiala, Gundogan, Wirtz; Havertz

Denmark possible starting lineup:
Schmeichel; Andersen, Christensen, Vestergaard; Bah, Hojbjerg, Delaney, Maehle; Eriksen; Hojlund, Wind

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