World Cup 2014 last 16 preview: Germany v Algeria
A Thomas Muller-inspired Germany face Algeria in the second round of the World Cup, having topped Group G in style.
The African nation, meanwhile, were perhaps shock qualifiers from Group H, and are 10/1 to cause what would be the upset of all World Cup upsets, and defeat a very strong German side in 90 minutes.
Die Mannschaft are perhaps unsurprisingly, odds-on at 3/10 to navigate their way through to quarter-finals, and Muller himself is 3/1 to net the opener. He has four goals to his name already in Brazil, and is one behind top scorer James Rodriguez of Colombia.
Algeria’s best hope could be striker Islam Slimani who is on two goals, and odds of 8/1 to open the scoring. They have been impressive so far, and have become many people’s favourite novelty side.
Miroslav Klose needs only one goal to claim the accolade of highest ever scorer in the World Cup. It is unlikely the centre forward will start, however he is 7/2 to net last. Fellow centurion and Polish-born Lukas Podolski will miss out after coming off injured against the USA last time out.
Germany’s biggest mistake will be under-estimating Algeria, who have sprung surprises on South Korea and Russia so far, and nearly put Belgium to the sword.
Out of the two times that they have faced each other, one was at a World Cup. In 1982, Algeria very nearly eliminated Die Mannschaaft at exactly the same stage. Then West Germany recovered from a 2-1 loss, however, and played out the infamous Gijon Pact with Austria, where a 1-0 victory sent both neighbours through and the Desert Foxes home.
Even though they beat Portugal 4-0, Germany have yet to really cohesively click at the tournament. A plethora of attacking midfielders that includes Mario Gotze, Julian Draxler, Toni Kroos, and Mesut Ozil can, once they establish a telepathy, light up the pitch.
Captain Philip Lahm’s transition to holding midfielder has been seamless, though he has often rotated with Real Madrid’s Sami Khedira. Bastian Schweinsteiger is also a key component, whether starting or coming off the bench, he still adds much needed energy to his side’s style.
The Bayern Munich box-to-box midfielder has been around the national setup for a decade now, but Schweinsteiger’s powers have seldom showed signs of diminishing and he is 7/2 to net anytime against Algeria.
Speaking in the run-up to the game, and reflecting on their strong finish four years ago in South Africa, Germany skipper Lahm said: “We took a big step forward. We can be absolutely satisfied.
“That’s what makes our team strong; that everyone defends. That is what is important in a tournament like this. I have the feeling that the team really works together.”
Nothing would satisfy Low more than Die Mannschaft mauling the Desert Foxes, who may be hunted down by Muller. A wincast on him scoring anytime and a German victory is decent value at 5/6.