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How good are Germany?published at 11:11

Liam McLeod
BBC Sport Scotland commentator

Leverkusen's Florian Wirtz is one to watch in the Germany squadImage source, EPA
Image caption,

Leverkusen’s Florian Wirtz (right) is one to watch in the Germany squad

I’ve seen plenty about how this is a good time to face
Germany for Scotland and that they won’t have a better opportunity to get the
better of the international footballing behemoths.

Where does that confidence stem from given Julian Nagelsmann
has a squad so strong that the likes of Mats Hummels, Emre Can and Serge Gnabry
will be watching from the sofa? Could it be the pressure and expectation they
will feel when they open their own tournament with a nation not simply hoping,
but expecting its team to win this championship?

Could it be because they may be undercooked given they
haven’t played a competitive fixture since they exited the World Cup in the
groups in Qatar 18 months ago? It could be because this is a team that doesn’t
keep many clean sheets these days and hasn’t had one in the last three major
tournaments.

The Germans also lost six times in 2023, a record for them
in a calendar year, and while the left side of defence is a Scottish strength,
it’s an area the three-time European champions have had trouble with recently
to the point that Arsenal attacker Kai Havertz has even had a go in the
position.

However, they no longer rely on Bayern Munich to produce the
core of their squad. Both the invincible Bayer Leverkusen and Stuttgart
finished above the Bavarians in the season just concluded and Nagelsmann has
drawn from both sides.

In Florian Wirtz he has someone who has had an
incredible 38 goal involvements in 49 appearances for the newly-crowned German
champions.

The swansong return of midfielder Toni Kroos has also
coincided with three wins in their last four games, which included an away
victory in France and against neighbours the Netherlands.

We will only truly know if it’s a good time to face Germany
come Friday.

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