Serge Gnabry is in intensely hot form with Germany hoping to win past Estonia and make great strides towards the UEFA Euro 2020 finals with a triumph in Tallinn on Sunday.
The Bayern Munich forward bagged four goals in the Bundesliga champions’ 7-2 demolition of Tottenham Hotspur in the UEFA Champions League the Tuesday before last, and has carried that blistering form into the international break, his goal and assist in Wednesday’s 2-2 draw with Lucas Alario’s Argentina taking his Mannschaft goal-haul to 10 in just 11 international outings. The 24-year-old will have Borussia Dortmund captain Marco Reus and RB Leipzig striker Timo Werner for a company in a mouth-watering front three. Reus watched on from the bench at the Signal Iduna Park with his knee causing problems, while Werner had a cold. Captain Manuel Neuer will resume goalkeeping duties with Marc-Andre ter Stegen making way. Bayern clubmate Joshua Kimmich will forfeit the captain’s armband, at that point, in spite of coach Joachim Low saying that the right-back-cum-central midfielder “is a role model on the pitch, with all that he does.”
Estonia shouldn’t demonstrate unreasonably tricky for a Germany side returning to full quality. Germany won the reverse fixture 8-0 in June – Gnabry, Reus, and Werner all on the scoresheet that day – and the Baltic nation are without their captain, former Augsburg center-back Ragnar Klavan. The 33-year-old, who turned out 125 times for Die Fuggerstädter before securing a Champions League runners-up medal with Liverpool in 2018, has stayed in Italy with current club Cagliari. Fellow defender Joonas Tamm is suspended, with Nikita Baranov set to deputize. Regardless of personnel, Karel Voolaid’s side are likely to line up with five at the back, damage minimization the order of the day for a team who are bottom of Group C without a win, against the visitors who are top with 12 points from five games.
Germany have won all four of their meetings with Estonia, scoring 19 goals and conceding just once.
The two sides hadn't met in 80 years when they went head to head in their first Group C qualifier in June. Low's side ran out 8-0 winners in Mainz, with six players jumping on the scoresheet: Reus (x2), Gnabry (x2), Leon Goretzka, Ilkay Gündogan, Werner and Leroy Sane.
While impressive, that win was nowhere near Germany's all-time record in a competitive outing. In September 2006 they romped to a 13-0 win over San Marino in Euro qualifying, while way back at the 1912 Olympics they beat Russia 16-0, with Gottfried Fuchs netting a whopping 10 times!
Gnabry has netted six goals in six games for Germany in 2019, improving his international scoring record to a remarkable 10 goals in 11 appearances. The 24-year-old has also hit five in three matches for Bayern, including four in that 7-2 UEFA Champions League win over Spurs.
Low's men have won all three of their qualifiers away from home during the current campaign, picking up three points in the Netherlands (3-2), Belarus (2-0) and Northern Ireland (2-0).
Germany have qualified for the last 12 editions of the European Championship, a run stretching back to 1972. They have won the competition on three occasions – a record they share with Spain – in 1972 (Belgium), 1980 (Italy) and 1996 (England).
: Neuer (c) – Stark, Süle, Koch – Klostermann, Kimmich, Gündogan, Halstenberg – Gnabry, Reus, Werner
: Draxler (foot), Ginter (shoulder), Goretzka (thigh), Hector (muscular), Kehrer (foot), Kroos (thigh), Rüdiger (groin), Sane (cruciate ligament), Schulz (ankle), Tah (cold)
Rest of squad
: Amiri, Brandt, Can, Havertz, Leno, Rudy, Serdar, Ter Stegen, Waldschmidt
: Joachim Low
: Lepmets – Teniste, Baranov, Vihmann, Mets, Pikk – Zenjov, Käit, Vassiljev (c), Ojamaa – Sorga
: Anier (not selected), Aksalu (arm), Dmitrijev (match fitness), Klavan (not available), Tamm (suspended)
Rest of squad
: Ainsalu, Antonov, Igonen, Kallaste, Kams, Kreida, Kuusk, Liivak, Meerits, Miller, Sappinen, Sinyavskiy, Zenjov
: Karel Voolaid
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