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Missing Messi means Germany good to repeat World Cup final win

Germany have only managed to beat Argentina on home soil via a penalty shoot-out since reunification. Otherwise, the South American nation have three friendly wins and a couple of draws. That should make La Albiceleste good value for victory with Coral at 3/1, but star man Lionel Messi is out injured.

It would also be ignoring the fact that Die Mannschaft defeated Argentina in the recent World Cup final in Brazil, although Joachim Low’s success prompted international retirements from key German players. Record scorer Miroslav Klose, giant centre back Per Mertesacker and versatile captain Philipp Lahm have all called time on representing their country after global glory in Brazil.

Low’s lads are odds-on favourites at 10/11 to win this friendly, while a repeat 1-0 scoreline from the World Cup final is a 7/1 shot. Odds of 12/5 say this duel in Dusseldorf will be drawn. Argentina have had a change of coach since losing in extra time to Mario Gotze’s goal, with sacked Barcelona boss Gerardo ‘Tata’ Martino making a swift return to management.

Initially, his first roster held no surprises. All but one, unlucky Agustin Orion, of the World Cup squad selected by predecessor Alejandro Sabella were retained. Injuries to Rodrigo Palacio, Messi and Gonzalo Higuain, plus doubts over Ezequiel Lavezzi and Maxi Rodriguez, prompted late call-ups as Martino drafted in Benfica’s Nico Gaitan and rejuvenated Spurs winger Erik Lamela.

So, as punters cannot look to Messi, why not back British record buy Angel Di Maria, who has a goal against Germany on his CV already, at 11/2 in the anytime market?

Don’t discount Sergio Aguero in Messi’s absence either. The Manchester City forward has been lethal off the bench for his club this season, so odds of 13/2 for him to score last are tempting. Martino begins preparations for next summer’s Copa America in Chile, and could run the rule over Sunderland loan signing Ricky Alvarez. Like Di Maria, he’s 11/2 for a goal anytime.

Germany, meanwhile, have just this match to warm up before Euro 2016 qualifying starts, but they are heavily odds-on to get out of Group D that contains first opponents Scotland, neighbours Poland and UEFA new boys Gibraltar among others. Die Mannschaft manager Low has recalled Fiorentina frontman Mario Gomez, following Klose’s retirement, and he is 5/4 to cap his return with a goal.

Bayern Munich’s Gotze, meanwhile, is 6/1 to score last again. Teammate Thomas Muller continues to be in the right place at the right time for Germany, but is short at 6/5 in the anytime market. Borussia Dortmund attacker Marco Reus is back after missing the World Cup injured, and is also 5/4 to net here.

Low has a couple of new faces in his squad, with single caps Sebastian Rudy (Hoffenheim holding midfielder) and Antonio Rudiger (Stuttgart central defender) included. Bayern’s Bastian Schweinsteiger is the new German skipper, but he misses this match and the Sctoland game injured.

Joining him in sitting this one are defenders Jerome Boateng and Mats Hummels, plus fellow midfielder Sami Khedria, while Mesut Ozil in a major doubt. Those absentees apart, it’s the usual suspects punters should back for Die Mannschaft.