It should turn out to be a fairly routine evening for the world champions.
Germany v Czech Republic - Saturday 19:45, Sky Sports Mix
Germany have been handed a fairly straight forward qualifying group, with Norway, the Czech Republic and Northern Ireland the teams expected to compete for the play-offs. Joachim Low’s side have already comfortably beaten the Norwegians in their opening fixture and the return to fitness of key players as well as home advantage should play into their hands here. There have been at least three goals in eight of Germany’s last 10 home matches and at least four goals in six of these games, whilst the absence of the retired Petr Cech will inevitably further weaken the Czech Republic backline.
The German defence looks formidable too, with Jerome Boateng back from injury and seven clean sheets in their last nine. They’ve scored first in 20 of their last 23 games where there was at least one goal, whilst the Czech Republic have lost the first half in five of their last seven matches. All the signs point to a routine victory for the Germans, and we think a first half score of 1-0 at a price of 3.3 represents excellent value because in six of the last nine home matches where they have won the first half, that’s been the score at half-time.
Since their disappointing Euro 2016 campaign, the Czech Republic have changed coach and Karel Jarolim’s biggest tactical change in their games against Armenia and Northern Ireland has been the introduction of a second striker, with Tomas Necid dropping to the bench. However, given the superior quality of the Germans, it would seem unlikely that he will continue with this more adventurous approach in Hamburg. Either way, Joachim Low will be focusing on his own team dominating the game rather than spending too much time concerned with the opposition in what should be a fairly routine evening for the world champions.