EURO 2016 Germany vs. Ukraine: Key Players To Watch

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World champions Germany will open their first group match against Ukraine at Stade Pierre-Mauroy in Lille.

Germany aims to win their fourth European title. However, they are facing some challenges and can’t underestimate their opponents if they want to advance to the next round.

Despite being dubbed as the favourites, Joachim Löw’s men’s qualifying campaign didn’t turn out as outstanding as expected. They topped the group, which included Poland, Scotland, and Ireland, with 7 wins, 1 draw, and 2 defeats. The World Champions were quite inconsistent in their recent international friendly fixtures. They lost against France and England but were back in form with a victory over Italy. They were then defeated 3-1 by Slovakia in May and bounced back by winning against Hungary.

Despite the fact that Ukraine have reached to Euro through the playoffs, they can’t be taken lightly. They have no reason of being unconfident after winning their last four friendly matches, and stretching their unbeaten run to six games. This will be their first time to enter a major competition through qualifying campaign since 2006 when they advanced to the quarterfinals of the World Cup in Germany.

Let’s have a look at some of they key players for this important fixture. 

Germany: 

Manuel Neuer. The Bayern Munich keeper is undoubtedly one of the best goalkeepers in the world. His reflexes and saves made him the best goalie in the last decade, and he will have a crucial role to play in Sunday’s opening fixture.

Thomas Müller: Löw still trusts Müller as his goal machine as he scored nine times in Euro qualifying campaign and has 10 goals and six assists in his 13 World Cup appearances.

Mesut Ozil: Ozil has shown a significant progress during his term in Arsenal and opponents should be careful when he takes free-kicks. His dribbling skills and excellent vision have made him a dangerous playmaker.

Jérôme Boateng: As Mats Hummels will miss Germany’s opening match due to a calf injury, Löw has to rely on Boateng. The Bayern defender is tall, assertive and adds more strength to the team’s defensive line.

Mario Gómez: It is nice to have the Besiktas striker in the final 23 players of the national team. With Gómez in the squad, Löw can change his team’s system. With Besiktas, Gómez has scored 26 goals in the previous season.

Ukraine:

Viktor Kovalenko: Ukraine’s former striker, and now a coaching staff, Andriy Shevchenko praised the young player for his consistent performances with Shakhtar Donetsk. Kovalenko is only 20 years old and likely to be the only playmaker in the team.

Andriy Yarmolenko and Yevhen Konoplyanka: Yarmolenko and Konoplyanka create the most lethal duo, and they will be ready to challenge Germany’s defence.

Anatoliy Tymoshchuk: The Ukrainian captain knows German football very well, as he played for Bayern Munich for four years. It is expected that Tymoshchuk will help his teammates surprise Germany in their encounter.

Roman Zozulya: Zozulya was banned for attacking a referee in Ukraine’s domestic league. However, he was finally included in the squad as the country relies on him as the primary goal scorer.

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