France vs Germany on opening night of Nations League

Germany, which had a disastrous campaign in Russia, will be looking to bounce back with a win against world champion France.

France's players arrive for a training session in Munich, southern Germany on Wednesday.   -  AFP

The UEFA Nations League kicks off tonight and the first match of the newly formed tournament sees Joachim Loew’s men host world champion France at the Allianz Arena.

Germany, which had a disastrous campaign in Russia, will be looking to bounce back with a win against France.

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Leroy Sane, who was controversially left out of the World Cup squad, is back with the team that sees only three new additions. Hoffenheim’s Nico Schulz and Nils Petersen, who is replacing Mesut Ozil after he announced his international retirement recently, are the other two entrants.

Didier Deschamps has retained most of his triumphant squad – only Captain Hugo Lloris and Steve Mandanda will miss the game with injuries. This could mean a Les Blues debut for PSG goalkeeper Alphonse Areola.

Loew is expected to continue with the 4-3-3 formation that has served him well in the past while Deschamps should continue with the 4-4-2 that won France the holy grail.

What the coaches have said:
Joachim Loew: "As far as the immediate future is concerned, it's important that we make some changes in the team. We have important fixtures ahead with the Nations League, and we will prepare the team for the challenge. With a good mix of experience and youth, we will get that feeling of absolute determination back. The team will be different."
Didier Deschamps: "I don't see being world champions as a burden but as something wonderful, but we won't dwell on that. We are already thinking ahead. [Germany] did not make it to the World Cup knockout phase, but they still have a great squad. We love playing games like this. [Germany are] a big team and we have to stay focused That's high-level football: you have to win every game and keep challenging yourself.

 

Form guide

Germany: Last five matches (most recent first): LWLWL

France: Last five matches (most recent first): WWWWD

Potential starting XI

Germany: Manuel Neuer; Joshua Kimmich, Mats Hummels, Niklas Sule, Nico Schulz; İlkay Gundogan, Toni Kroos, Leon Goretzka; Thomas Muller, Timo Werner, Leroy Sane

France: Alphonse Areola; Benjamin Pavard, Raphael Varane, Samuel Umtiti, Lucas Hernandez; Paul Pogba, N’Golo Kante; Kylian Mbappe, Antoine Griezmann, Blaise Matuidi; Olivier Giroud.

Match time and telecast

The match kicks off at 12.15 am on 7 September and is live on Sony Ten 2 (SD and HD).

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