Scotland must be brave if they are to beat the odds and Germany
Reigning world champions Germany have lost just one of the five encounters with Scotland since reunification. Their last meeting was at Borussia Dortmund’s Wesfalenstadion where the Tartan Army will travel to again, and a repeat 2-1 scoreline in favour of Die Mannschaft is 10/1 with Coral.
That price on a precise home win, rather than the short 1/6 on victory for Joachim Low’s lads whatever the result, is appealing because of the defensive dearth facing both sides. Scotland boss Gordon Strachan was hit by the late withdrawals of left-sided pair Christophe Berra and Andrew Robertson, which means there could be a lack of balance to the visitors’ backline.
A famous win for Scotland, who are six matches unbeaten, is a remote prospect, therefore, at 16/1. Don Hutchison’s goal in Bremen back in 1999 helped the Tartan Army roar their team to a monumental upset. Lengthy odds of 70/1 on a repeat 1-0 victorious Scotland scoreline should be considered by patriots and romantics.
It’s 13/2 on a draw, and a selection headache of inexperience or versatility for their left back berth. Derby County’s Craig Forsyth could be set for just his second Scotland cap, while Norwich City’s Steven Whittaker offers more international matches under his belt and Charlie Mulgrew of Celtic, used more often in midfield nowadays, is another option.
Alan Hutton and Grant Hanley should be retained in the Scotland defence in front of first-choice keeper Allan McGregor, but facing the recent World Cup winners is the biggest test of their careers. Russell Martin is doubtful with a groin strain.
Having missed a hatful of chances in a warm-up friendly loss to Argentina (a rematch from the final in Brazil), Low may drop Mario Gomez, following Miroslav Klose’s international retirement, in favour of the ‘false nine’ tactic. Namesake Mario Gotze, who netted the goal that won Germany the World Cup, is 6/5 to strike again anytime.
With new captain Bastian Schweinsteiger (knee), Mesut Ozil (ankle), Sami Khedira and Julian Draxler (both thigh) all injured, Thomas Muller (3/1 to score first) and Toni Kroos (10/3 to net anytime), both big performers in Brazil, should start in midfield.
Marco Reus should keep his place, having been recalled after missing the World Cup, but is odds-on at 10/11 to grab a goal here. Chelsea forward Andre Schurrle could revert to being an impact sub, and is 5/1 to round off the scoring. Low gave a late call-up to winger Sidney Sam, and he is 11/4 to net against Scotland.
Left back Erik Durm had a torrid time in the Argentina friendly last time out but, because Dortmund teammate Mats Hummels will not figure, Benedikt Howedes will continue partnering Matthias Ginter at centre half. Jerome Boateng may be risked by Low on the other flank of defence.
Steven Naismith, meanwhile, looks set for the Scotland lone striker role, and is 5/1 to score anytime, having three in as many Premier League outings for Everton this term. Midfielder Graham Dorrans is out, however, and it would be bold of Strachan to blood uncapped pair Kevin McDonald and Callum McGregor in the engine room.
Darren Fletcher returns as captain, and the Manchester United man is 12/1 to come with a goal anytime. Craig Bryson and James Morrison (both 8/1) should be charged with supporting Naismith from central areas. This will be an absorbing encounter to start Group D off, so back a Germany win with both teams scoring at 7/4.