Germany face an uphill battle after losing on their Group F opener to Mexico, the World Champions must beat Sweden in Sochi on Saturday to be in with a chance of qualifying for the knockout rounds. Sweden won’t be easy opponents for Germany though, as this World Cup is telling the tale of the underdog.
Germany on the brink
Sweden were victorious in their first game against South Korea, an Andreas Granqvist penalty being enough to give the Swedes three points.
The reigning world champions are undergoing a minor crisis following their 1-0 loss to Mexico last week, despite the score line being slim, the narrative of the game was a worrying sight for die Nationalmannschaft.
Germany are at risk of elimination, should they lose their second game and Mexico beat South Korea. It would be a great upset for Joachim Löw’s side, especially when taking into consideration their form in Rio just four years ago, winning the title with an extra time victory over Argentina.
Each of the last three European sides to win the World Cup - France in 1998, Italy in 2006 and Spain in 2010 - were all knocked out in the group stage, and Germany will be hoping to avoid the same fate,. Only once, in 1938, have they failed to progress beyond the first round.
Löw has confirmed that Mats Hummels will be absent from the starting eleven after sustaining a neck injury in the previous game.
It has been speculated that Marco Reus is set to start for Germany.
For Sweden, Victor Lindelof is expected to take Pontus Jansson’s place in the starting eleven after he missed out on their opening game due to illness.
Head to Head
Sweden have only been victorious once over Germany (inc. West Germany), a win that was recorded in the 1958 World Cup.
The last time the two sides met was back in 2013, when Germany marked a 5-3 win over the Swedes in qualifying for the 2014 tournament, something they will be hoping to repeat, rather than the epic 4-4 draw in the reverse fixture.
Germany head coach, Löw, has admitted in the build up to the game that his squad has been "unhappy" following their disastrous performance against Mexico.
“Everybody is really unhappy but we have to put this behind us," he said.
That’s exactly what Germany will have to do, as their hopes of retaining the World Cup falls to Saturday’s must win game.