Soccer News of Fri, 20 Jun 201433
Preview: Germany - Ghana
Following their stunning success over Portugal in their opening World Cup encounter, Germany will attempt to maintain their strong start in the competition against a Ghana team that went down late against the USA in their first match.
After Thomas Muller’s hat-trick earlier in the day had helped Joachim Low’s men to a formidable 4-0 success in their 100th World Cup finals match – a sign of intent if ever there was one – the Africans leaked goals early and late against the Americans. Inbetween times, they had been the dominant side, but Andre Ayew’s fine 82nd minute strike was not even enough to salvage a point.
Having lost out at the quarter-final stage in South Africa 2010, the Black Stars need two outstanding displays if they are to avoid an earlier exit this summer. During that campaign four years ago, they met the Germans in the group stage, with Mesut Ozil’s goal on the hour mark sufficient to consign them to a 1-0 loss.
Historically, both teams have performed well in the group stage of the competition. In both of their previous World Cup finals experiences, Ghana have managed to negotiate the opening round of the competition, while Germany, who have gone all the way on three previous occasions, have lost only one of their previous 19 group matches.
Key midfielder Michael Essien has been toiling with a toe injury for Akwasi Appiah’s side but is fit to start, while it is hoped that Majeed Waris, who enjoyed a successful conclusion on a personal level to the season with Valenciennes, will shake off an injury to feature.
Germany, meanwhile, have an injury concern in Mats Hummels, who went off during the Portugal clash, although it is hoped he will be fit to play. While Sami Khedira is fit and Jerome Boateng, whose brother Kevin-Prince will play for Ghana, is set to wear a splint following a thumb injury, Bastian Schweinsteiger will have to wait for his chance on the bench in all likelihood.
Low’s side have a strong stranglehold in their previous encounters with African opposition, having lost only one of their six matches, and with World Cup specialist Thomas Muller – boasting seven goals in his last four outings in the competition – and Miroslav Klose, who remains on the brink of equalling the tournament’s all-time record, in tow, they are favourites to push their opponents a little closer to the exit door.