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Football | Fifa Confed Cup

Germany © Gallo Images

Germany begin quest for Confed title



World champions Germany kick off their Fifa Confederations Cup campaign against Australia at the Fisht Stadium in Sochi, Russia on Monday.

This match marks the sixth meeting between these two teams, with the world champions winning the first three encounters before losing one and drawing another.

The two sides crossed paths at the Tournament of Champions when 2005 hosts Germany beat Australia 4-3 in the group stage. Bastian Schweinsteiger, Lukas Podolski, and their teammates ultimately finished third that year, while the Socceroos exited the competition after the group stage.

In Shkodran Mustafi, Matthias Ginter and Julian Draxler, Germany have just three 2014 Fifa World Cup winners in their squad in Russia.

Nevertheless, the four-time world champions will take plenty of encouragement from their record of eight wins and two draws in their last 10 matches, scoring 31 goals while conceding just two along the way.

Younger players will be keen to prove themselves and show that they can put pressure on more established stars in the squad. For once, the Asian champions boast greater experience at this tournament than their European opponents. The Australians are making their fourth Fifa Confederations Cup appearance after previously featuring in 1997, 2001, and 2005.

Australia and Germany continue to enjoy an enduring footballing connection that is once again evident in Russia. The Socceroos squad includes Bundesliga stalwarts Mitch Langerak and Mathew Leckie together with recent Darmstadt signing Jamie MacLaren and former Bayer Leverkusen forward Robbie Kruse.

Australia head into their first Confederations Cup match for 12 years on the back of some erratic results. Much discussion has centred on the Socceroos’ three-man backline and a hefty 4-0 home defeat against Brazil.

But Australia boasts a fine history of upsets at this tournament and they have a host of in-form midfielders that have enjoyed strong domestic seasons.

The world champions go into the first match with a young, yet extremely talented team. If these players click, they are capable of making life difficult for almost any opponent.

Yet, many players and staff have sounded a note of caution by pointing out that the current squad understandably lack the kind of muscle memory and established routine that are so vital to footballing success. A robust Australian team could give this new Germany side their first real test.

POSSIBLE LINE-UPS;

Australia: Mat Ryan; Bailey Wright, Milos Degenek, Trent Sainsbury; Mark Milligan, Aaron Mooy, Aziz Behich, Jackson Irvine, Tom Rogic, Mathew Leckie; Tomi Juric.

Germany: Bernd Leno; Joshua Kimmich, Matthias Ginter, Antonio Rudiger, Jonas Hector; Emre Can, Julian Brandt, Leon Goretzka, Lars Stindl, Julian Draxler; Sandro Wagner.



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