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World Cup Qualifiers: Iceland vs. Germany live blog

  • September 08, 2021

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No Reus or Baku

Germany will be without Marco Reus and Ridle Baku for the game in Iceland. Reus, who scored against Armenia on Sunday, picked up a slight knee injury so hasn’t made the trip and Baku, as the 24th member of Hansi Flick’s squad, would only have been allowed to sit in the stands anyway, according to FIFA regulations. That should mean that Thilo Kehrer starts at right-back with Flick almost certain to start with Leroy Sane, Kai Havertz and Serge Gnabry in attack, just behind Timo Werner.

Germany will be without Marco Reus, who has stayed in Germany after picking up a slight knee injury.

Goretzka: ‘We must stand up for our values’

Ahead of Germany’s trip to Iceland, Leon Goretzka has spoken to Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung about the importance of voting in the upcoming German elections to prevent giving right-wing parties an opportunity.

“We want to stand up for the values that we believe in,” he said. “For us, human rights are universal, and we will continue to draw attention to this. But we should also start with it in our own country.”

The full interview is here.

Story so far

Ready for number three? After straightforwards wins and clean sheets against Armenia and Liechenstein, Germany travel to Iceland for a game that a few years ago, when their hosts were the team of Euro 2016, might have looked a tricky task.

Not so much anymore, with Icelandic football in something of a state and the team picking up just four points from their opening five group games leaving them hanging by a thread in qualification terms.

The reverse fixture in March was something of a mismatch, with early goals from Leon Goretzka and Kai Havertz sending Joachim Löw’s Germany on their way to a straightforward 3-0 win in which they enjoyed 82% possession.

Goretzka sets sights high

Bayern Munich midfielder Leon Goretzka has become a leader for club and country in recent years, both with his performances on the pitch and his values off it. He said in a press conference on Tuesday that he expected plenty of himself.

“I try to take on responsibility and that tends to work best when you perform on the pitch. I want to maintain a high standard and give the team some security with that.”

Goretzka also explained that this Germany team needs to find a similar level of consistency if they are to achieve their potential and improve on recent tournament displays. 

“We want to follow up on our performance in the last game. We played well and we want to prove that this was not just a flash in the pan,” he said.

Future looks bright

Part of Flick’s job is to try and bring through the next generation of German players. He’s already got started, handing debuts to Karim Adeyemi, David Raum and Florian Wirtz in this international break.

Those three, as well as Ridle Baku who is also in the senior squad, were part of Germany’s victorious under-21 side in the Euros back in June. Their promotion offers a chance to even younger players to make their mark in Wednesday’s qualifiers for the next Euros in Latvia.

Forward thinking

After they were profligate in Flick’s first match in charge, Germany stepped it up in front of goal against Armenia, with wingers Serge Gnabry and Leroy Sane among the scorers.

Flick picked out his former Bayern charges for special praise after the game. “He’s started the season well with Bayern and continued that form for the national side,” the coach said of Gnabry. “We’re happy that his opening goal set us on our way to this great result and overall evening. It was the kickstart we perhaps needed.”

Sane has not quite caught light at Bayern and was even booed by his own fans earlier this season, but Flick has faith in the former Schalke flyer. “I’ve seen some positives from his games with Bayern, and against Liechtenstein too. He showed again tonight the quality he possesses. I’m pleased that he’s so active and agile. The way he glides around the pitch is really impressive.”

Possible line-ups

Iceland: Runarsson – Sävarsson, Hermannsson, Bjarnason, Skulason – Palsson – Thorsteinsson, Baldursson, Johannesson, Bjarnason – Gudjohnsen

Germany: Neuer – Kehrer, Süle, Rüdiger, Raum – Kimmich, Goretzka – Sane, Havertz, Gnabry – Werner

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