Germany vs Slovakia Preview: Can the Slovakians upset the odds once more?

Slovakia defeated Germany in a friendly, just days before Euro 2016 began - and they'll be hoping they can do the same once more to progress into the quarter-finals.

Germany vs Slovakia Preview: Can the Slovakians upset the odds once more?
Picture source: VAVEL UK

Slovakia may be somewhat mythed by the challenging route laid out before them in the knock-out stages, after taking advantage of the new competition format to qualify as "the best of the rest", topping the charts from the four third-placed teams who made it out of their groups. 

Can Slovakia draw on past success stories to stifle Germany?

Yet of those teams who made it through by such a narrow margin, Slovakia have been dealt arguably the toughest draw with a last sixteen meeting with world champions Germany. With the prize for the winner a quarter-final against either Spain or Italy, this match poses the beginning of a difficult road for both nations.

Germany go into the match as clear favourites, though Jan Kozak's Slovakia side will certainly be no walkover. The country taking part in their first European Championship held England to a goalless draw during the group stage with a solid defensive display, whilst also taking the scalps of Spain during qualification and Germany themselves at the end of May, albeit against a much changed side fielded by Joachim Löw.

Is this where Germany come to life?

Despite being touted as one of the favourites to lift the trophy, Germany have not set the competition alight just yet. They defeated Ukraine as expected in their opening game, but only just scraped past Northern Ireland after an excellent goalkeeping display by Michael McGovern, before floundering to a less than inspiring goalless draw against the tournament's first quarter-finalists, Poland.

Meanwhile, Slovakia have enjoyed and endured a mixed tournament. They did not turn up for the opening 45 minutes against Wales, before mounting a comeback, only to be defeated by a Hal Robson-Kanu goal. Yet they came to life against Russia with a terrific 2-1 victory, before holding England to that goalless draw.

Will Slovakia be celebrating as they did against Russia? (Photo : Getty Images )
Will Slovakia be celebrating as they did against Russia? (Photo: Getty Images)

Attack - defence

The contest will take place at Stade Pierre Mauroy, a stadium encompassing happy memories for both nations with each earning a victory during the tournament. The game itself is likely to follow the same tone as the England against Slovakia match. Expect the Slovaks to sit deep and look to hit Germany on the counter-attack with the pace and flair they possess on the wings and in attacking midfield. However, it will be a tough task as Germany are yet to concede a goal in three matches. 

For Slovakia the meeting will test them with arguably a step up in class following their meeting with England. Germany boast the likes of Mesut Özil, Mario Götze and Toni Kroos who are capable of unlocking even the sternest of defences. The question for Germany is whether their strikers can finish at an improved rate - than they have done in the three previous matches.

Germany "will not mess about"

Unbeaten German goalkeeper Manuel Neuer described how Slovakia "park the bus" and his team-mates "will not mess about" in their pursuit of European Championship success. The world champions have spent the last few days building up to the match practicing breaking down a six-man defence.

Slovakian winger Vladimir Weiss believes that his side are "getting stronger and stronger" and because "the core of the team has been together for a long time", it's a "big advantage" for the underdogs in this intriguing encounter. Yet experience and understanding will have to be combined with grit, determination, organisations and perhaps luck if Slovakia are to see off the German giants.