Germany face Ukraine in their EURO 2016 Group C opener inside Lille’s Stade Pierre Mauroy on Sunday, with Joachim Low hoping his side can carry on from their previous tournament heroics after success at the 2014 World Cup.
They go into the Euros as one of the favourites to take home the trophy, but with a tough group standing in their way of the knockout rounds, it is crucial that they get off to a bright start.
Ukraine have never beaten Germany in any of their five previous meetings, losing twice and drawing three times; having said that, the two sides haven’t come across each other since 2011, where Ukraine took a 2-0 lead, but eventually came away with a 3-3 draw for all their efforts.
The Germans have an impressive record at the European Championships, making their twelfth successive appearance in the competition, whilst it’s only Ukraine’s second time at the tournament.
However, Mykhaylo Fomenko’s side are unbeaten in six and have won their last four matches, with current holders Spain being the only side to have beaten them in their previous 17 matches. Despite this, Ukraine only just made it to France after beating Slovenia in a play-off.
On the other hand, Germany topped their group with a total of seven wins from 10, losing just twice on their way to securing qualification in a group which included Poland, who also form a quarter of Group C, Republic of Ireland and Scotland.
Since confirming their place in the tournament, however, their recent friendly results have been somewhat less inspiring, losing to both France and England, the latter of which was on their own turf.
Low’s side will enter the tournament having won it on three previous occasions (1972, 1980, 1996) as well as having come runners up a further three times. They will be hungry for more silverware to their ever growing trophy cabinet.
Germany look to have defender Mats Hummels on the sidelines for their group games after a calf tear that has kept him out since May 21.
However manager Low’s injury concerns do not stop there, however, particularly after having to leave Marco Reus at home due to injury.
Twenty-year-old Jonathan Tah has also recently been called up to the squad after Antonio Rudiger sustained an injury that looks to have put him out for six months following a tassel with fellow team-mate Thomas Muller.
The Leverkusen defender made his international debut against England back in March.
While Lukas Podolski was dismissed from the squad earlier in the week due to the birth of his daughter, he is now back in training and available for selection on Sunday.
As for Ukraine, there are no major injury concerns facing boss Fomenko.
FIFA World Ranking: Germany – 4th; Ukraine – 19th
Best European Championship Finish: Germany – Winners (1972, 1980, 1996); Ukraine – Group Stage (2012)
Previous Meeting: Ukraine 3-3 Germany – November 11, 2011 (International Friendly)
Form: Germany – WLWLLW; Ukraine – WWWWDW
Key Men: Germany – Thomas Muller; Ukraine – Taras Stephanenko
Shoot Says: Germany 3-0 Ukraine