World Cup 2014 Group G preview: Germany v Ghana
Ghana face the fearsome prospect of a Germany team in full flight, as half-brothers Jerome and Kevin-Prince Boateng once again line up on opposing sides of the pitch. It will be the second time the two have crossed swords at international level, having made history in South Africa 2010, when they locked horns in Group D, becoming the first siblings ever to do so.
On that occasion it was Jerome, formerly of Manchester City and now plying his trade at Bayern Munich, who won bragging rights, as Germany scraped a 1-0 victory in South Africa.
Both teams advanced to the knockout stages, with the Black Stars crashing out in quarter-final penalty pain to Uruguay, while Joachim Low’s team came unstuck against eventual champions Spain in the semis.
No brotherly love is to be expected this time around either, with AC Milan’s Kevin-Prince, 12/1 to open scoring for the Black Stars, declaring Ghana will: “fight to the death against Germany”. He is also 9/2 to net anytime, whilst his sibling is 25/1 to fire home the first for Low’s lads.
Aside from their clash in 2010, the Black Stars have encountered Germany only once before, in 1993. However, it is another result they would like to forget, as the African nation were demolished 6-1. Odds on a repeat of that score are 300/1.
Ghana, 4/11 to finish bottom of Group G, succumbed to a gut-wrenching defeat in their opening game, courtesy of German legend Jurgen Klinsmann’s United States side, and know this is match could be their last chance.
James Kwesi Appiah’s team clawed back a 1-0 deficit, but with the match firmly in their hands, had the wind knocked out of their sails by John Anthony Brookes’ dramatic 86th minute winner.
Outsiders at 15/2 still to qualify from the pool, the Black Stars will need to avoid conceding another early goal, after Clint Dempsey initially stunned the African’s with a strike inside thirty seconds. Such lapses in concentration against this incredibly clinical German team could result in the most brutal of punishments, with the Philipp Lahm-led side recording a terrifying eight goals in their last three outings.
With Ghana at 8/1 to win the game, Appiah may decide to reverse his surprising decision to bench experienced midfield duo of Michael Essien and Kevin-Prince Boateng. He called on the former Premier League stars to add some urgency going forward in the second half against the United States.
Germany, meanwhile, face question marks over their defence. Borussia Dortmund centre half Mats Hummels, a goal hero in his country’s first fixture against a poor Portugal side, was helped off injured, and is now doubtful.
With Lahm set to stay in midfield again, either Benedikt Howedes or Jerome Boateng could be switched from their make-shift full back positions to cover centre half, with one of Erik Durm or Kevin Grosskreutz promoted to the starting XI.
Talisman Thomas Muller is expected to continue in his successful role as a false 9 after hitting a scrappy hat-trick against the Navigators. The Bayern Munich sharpshooter, with his uncanny ability to be in the right place at the right time, is 12/1 to do so again against Ghana and 11/4 to finish as tournament top scorer again.
Coral are also offering an enhanced bet of 9/2 for Muller to score two or more goals, but punters can stake a maximum of £20.