Germany x Ukraine
World Champions Germany get their Euro 2016 campaign underway in a fixture against Ukraine in Group C. These European Championships are another chance for the Germans to assert themselves as the world’s footballing powerhouse as they look ahead to adding another gold star onto their shirt at the 2018 World Cup.
Joachim Low surprised many with his squad selection when he left out players such as Julian Brandt, who had been performing well in the Bundesliga, instead of Lukas Podolski who many onlookers felt should not be involved. However, these experienced heads that the manager has called upon have never let their country down and they could be vital in securing another European title.
Ukraine are always a good dark horse going into tournaments and have some exciting attacking players in the likes of Andriy Yarmolenko and Yevhen Konoplyanka and they will feel they have a good chance of qualifying from the group if they can get at least a point against Germany. Mykhaylo Fomenko has chosen an experienced group in defence with over 500 caps between them if you include the goalkeepers and defensive midfielders. Even the fluid Germans could find this tough to break down.
Although Ukraine are a solid European side, you cannot look past the world champions with their record at major tournaments. However, do not expect a convincing display from Low’s side. This is how the Germans work, they get better as the tournament goes on rather than going all-out at the start – perhaps making them the perfect tournament team. There is no value in just a straight German win so I would advise going with a German win and Thomas Müller to score anytime at 7/4.
Müller is once again coming off the back of a great season, having scored 20 goals in the Bundesliga for Bayern Munich. Furthermore he is proven on the international stage as he was the second-top goalscorer at the 2014 World Cup and won the Golden Boot in South Africa in 2010. Despite not seemingly having much pace, his excellent positional play and movement means he is always in the right place at the right time.