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Euro 2012 Focus: Netherlands vs Germany

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Euro 2012 Focus: Netherlands vs Germany

 

Tonight's massive game between the Netherlands and Germany hardly needed extra intensity but given the fact that the latter could dump Holland out of the tournament prematurely, it should be a real thriller. There is certainly no love lost between the two great European footballing nations and while we hope there won't be any spitting in hair this time around, everyone loves a good on-field battle.

The fact that these two sides were perhaps the least combative in their opening fixtures, with the Netherlands 10 and Germany's 12 tackles ranking as the bottom two in this regard compared to England's 28, shouldn't count for much. Germany managed to commit more fouls (14) than they made successful challenges, while Holland have the likes of de Jong and van Bommel to rely on for their bite in midfield - remember the World Cup final?

So, with a full-blooded affair in the offing which players could bring the technique and creation to the table to decide this one?

For Bert van Marwijk's side one need look no further than Wesley Sneijder, who stole the show in attacking sense for the Netherlands and were it not for some woeful finishing, could have had a few assists to his name by now. Sneijder carved out an incredible 10 key passes against Denmark, setting up a third of his side's mammoth 32 shot tally, as well as delivering 5 accurate crosses and a remarkable 4 accurate through balls.

 

Euro 2012 Focus: Netherlands vs Germany

 

The duo tasked with stifling the Inter playmaker's threat is likely to be Bastian Schweinsteiger and Sami Khedira, who, in particular, will need to up his game if he hopes to do so. The Real Madrid midfielder didn't win a single tackle or make an interception in the match with Portugal, with the latter perhaps a more important statistic in stemming the flow of passes into Sneijder, who had as many as 97 touches last time out.

In van Marvijk's defence, Jetro Willems became the youngest player to play at a European Championships when he started against Denmark in the opener and despite an assured display, the left-back will be targeted tonight. Germany's choice of right-winger for the game then, may be crucial with Thomas Müller given the nod in the Portugal match.

However, Germany's attacking threat was somewhat subdued in their opener, mustering a meagre 11 shots at goal - a tally only above that of Denmark and England at the tournament so far. With this in mind there have been rumours that either Mario Götze or Marco Reus could start in the Bayern man's place after a fairly modest display at the weekend, but who would be the best option according to last season's statistics?

Playing up front for half of the campaign, Gladbach's Reus, who is on his way to join Götze at Dortmund this summer, ended the season with 18 goals and 9 assists. These tallies are up on those of Muller (7 & 7) and Götze (6 & 5), though the latter could only feature in half of the Bundesliga matches due to injury.

 

Euro 2012 Focus: Netherlands vs Germany

 

Reus also comes out on top for key passes per game and, less surprisingly, shots per game, were Götze leads the way for accurate crosses per game (1.47), successful dribbles per game (3.47) and chance conversion (24%). In fact, the only category analysed here in which Müller comes out on top is dribble success rate (51.5%), with very little between the trio in this regard.

With this in mind, a start for either Reus or Götze could be sensible from Löw, although Muller will remain favourite to get the call. Either way, this promises to be one of the games of the tournament, so sit back and enjoy the ride!

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