The defending champions could be on the brink of elimination should they fail to gain all three points against the Swedes, following their shock Group F-opening defeat against Mexico.
Joachim Low’s side have faced heavy criticism after going down 1-0 last Sunday, in what was a scoreline that actually flattered the Germans.
For Sweden, after a 1-0 victory over South Korea first-up, the Scandinavian outfit go into this one full of confidence.
Here, we look at the key talking points ahead of the clash.
Can Germany put reports of dressing room disharmony to bed?
Senior figures in the Germany camp, Thomas Muller and team manger Oliver Bierhoff, have played down speculation that all is not well within the group.
You perhaps have to take their word for it given the country’s most recent exploits in international football but there is no doubt a lacklustre build-up to the World Cup and that opening loss has really turned up the heat and indeed pressure.
The high temperatures Germany will face in Sochi on Saturday should only serve to up that ante.
Low and his coaching team face a difficult task to galvanise a collection of big personalities. Given how quickly things can go off the rail in tournament play, the Germany boss will need to use all his experience and know-how to boost morale in the ranks.
But, to reassert Germany’s famed team unity isn’t just as easy as saying it and get this campaign back on track will boil down to several factors. Worryingly, the 2014 winners’ looked lethargic and devoid of structure, efficiency and control against a rampant Mexico side that had more pace, power and desire.
It is not necessarily as easy as flicking the switch and hoping everything comes together for this one. Ultimately, the likes of Toni Kroos and Sami Khedira have to move up a gear, sparking Mesut Ozil into life, Joshua Kimmich needs to improve defensively and Ilkay Gundogan deserves a chance in the middle of the park.
Low has decisions to make and will have had some harsh words to say to a dressing room lacking in confidence, feeling the pressure of their World Cup defence being on the line.
More of the same from Sweden is required
There are no thrills or indeed spills about the Blue-Yellows.
Janne Andersson, a coach pragmatic enough in playing to his team’s limitations and maximising the strengths of Sweden which include work-rate, intensity and their ability to stick to a rigid structure and frustrate teams, worked superbly against Korea.
Sweden wore down their opening opponents with self discipline and protected Andreas Granqvist’s second-half penalty winner with aplomb, restricting the Koreans to precisely zero shots on target.
A win here would seal Sweden’s path through to round two and once again you would feel they would back themselves to shut-up shop and frustrate Germany, like Mexico did.
It is certainly time to seize the moment and pounce on the Germans’ venerability.
Their favoured approach of a high-press, boosted by the fact they are a team with legs and generally powerful in the air, will be important to shut off Germany’s strong spine and make life uncomfortable early on for Marco Reus, should the Borussia Dortmund man get the nod in an attacking midfield role.
Sweden’s rather standard but effective 4-4-2 system matches up pretty well against Germany’s 4-2-3-1, and although Low’s men obviously have more talent and still deserve, just about, to be classed as favourites here, Sweden should not be concerned about allowing their illustrious opponents more possession and the chance to play.
Finding the feet of wide men Emil Forsberg and Viktor Claesson will also prove crucial to ensure the Swedes have an out ball and break from anticipated territorial pressure.
A real balancing act for the Germans
Germany face a difficult equation to tip the scales in their favour with so much on the line.
It is crucial how well Low’s men respond to the experienced manager’s work on the training ground this week, with rumours the nation’s base in Vatutinki has resembled a boarding school and restricted the players’ freedom.
The 58-year-old is a man who sticks to his principles, is stubborn in his mannerisms and dislikes wholesale change. With Gundogan and Reus set to come in, that should be his lot when it comes to alterations and are obvious, if not moves of tactical ingenuity.
Germany’s high-press and adaptation of high full-backs cost them dearly against Mexico, as their midfield was ruthlessly overrun. That, in turn, proceeded to put pressure on a usually well-oiled backline, with Mats Hummels, in particular, struggling in possession and when runners were driving at him.
However, don’t expect Germany to change too much tactically and stick to the same principles that have served them so well over the years.
The Socceroos went close to pulling off a shock victory over Denmark in Group C of the World Cup in Samara on Thursday before settling for a 1-1 draw, with a Mile Jedinak first-half penalty cancelling out a stunning Christian Eriksen opener.
Australia more than matched the higher-ranked Danes, but could not find the killer punch to clinch that much-needed victory.
Here are our player ratings for the Aussies:
Mat Ryan – 8: Powerless to stop Eriksen’s thunderbolt but comfortably dealt with any other threats during the game, coolly handled an awkward moment with a potential own goal from Sainsbury
Mark Milligan – 7: Solid effort at the back, rarely troubled, could have been at fault for Eriksen’s goal but in truth few defences would have prevented that wonder-strike
Trent Sainsbury – 7: Saved by Ryan from an embarrassing own goal, but composed apart from that showing good pace to get back and clean up Jorgensen’s breaks on more than one occasion
Josh Risdon – 8: An assured performance and found Nabbout with some searching balls, one superb tackle to dispossess Eriksen with ease
Aziz Behich – 9 : Got forward with some searing runs down the left and a tidy afternoon at the back forming a solid back four with Risdon, Milligan and Sainsbury, created some of the Socceroos most dangerous moments bursting forward
Mile Jedinak – 7: Didn’t do much before the penalty but put it away comfortably, cool and calm cleaning up at the back, kept the Australian defence well organised all day
Aaron Mooy – 8: Made one superb dis-possession on Schone, kept the Australian midfield ticking over, one rocket from outside the box went just past the right post
Mathew Leckie – 9: Superb ninety-minute effort, free header early on but couldn’t find the target. Brilliant work around the box to set-up a chance for Kruse, got the header to win the penalty
Robbie Kruse – 8: Got more involved in the first five minutes than the entire game against France, roamed on both flanks trying to create something. Substituted on 67 minutes for Arzani.
Tom Rogic – 8: Pulled a chance wide early on, but kept fighting hard through the middle, a long-range shot tested Schmeichel in the second half.
Andrew Nabbout – 7: Held the ball up well for Rogic and kept the Danish defence honest all day with his tireless running. Dislocated shoulder in 73rd minute saw his afternoon finish painfully.
Daniel Arzani – 8: Came on for Kruse after 67 minutes with the hope of sparking something in the final third, bright and dangerous with every touch, constantly probed the Danish defence who soon doubled up on him, real talent for the future.
Tomi Juric – 7: Onfor the injured Nabbout after 73 minutes, made some good runs but didn’t get the service to find the winner, got in Leckie’s way to spoil a late chance
Jackson Irvine – 5: Strange substitution, surprisingly brought on instead of Tim Cahill with ten minutes left, won a free kick on half way.
Denmark and Australia battled to a hard fought 1-1 draw in Group C of the World Cup in Samara on Thursday.
A Christian Eriksen thunderbolt put Denmark 1-0 up after just seven minutes before Mile Jedinak evened it up with VAR assisted penalty after 38 minutes. Both teams fought hard to create chances in the second half without finding the crucial winner.
The result means Denmark are on four points after their two matches with Australia on just one.
Here are our talking points from the match.
What a goal by Christian Eriksen on the half volley. And that assist by Jorgensen 👌 pic.twitter.com/7EoNRpccWA— InterYaSkriniar 🇧🇷🏴🇳🇬 (@InterYaSkriniar) June 21, 2018
Eriksen goal arguably the best of World Cup so far
Denmark’s first goal was indeed Danish Dynamite and probably the best goal of the tournament to date.
It came from nothing with Aaron Mooy heading the ball out of the danger area only to see it knocked back in speculatively by Ajax midfielder Lasse Schone.
Feyenoord striker Nicolai Jorgenson got two superb touches on the edge of the box to lay it in the path of Tottenham star Christian Eriksen who hit the half-volley with a snarling left foot strike that cannoned into the back of the net.
The goal was a knife through the heart of Australia who had started brightly but already staring down the barrel of exiting the tournament after their loss to France, it gave Bert van Marwijk’s side a mountain to climb.
The Socceroos fought back through a penalty to Mile Jedinak but the draw may not be enough to earn them a path to the round of 16.
Australia competitive but in the end caution cruelled their chances
There was very little between the sides with the 36th ranked Australia more than matching the 12th ranked Danes.
But what the Socceroos missed was a little more killer instinct in front of goal. Time and time again Australia got into good positions and sent some tempting balls skimming across the six yard box, but time and time again there was no one to meet them.
You can understand the caution of manager Bert van Marwijk not wanting to leave his side open to the dangerous Danes but to put themselves back in with a chance of making the knockout stages this was a match Australia had to win.
With Daniel Arzani coming off the bench on 67 minutes to ask some real questions of the Danish defence, the introduction of experienced goal poacher Tim Cahill might have been just what Australia needed to get the winner.
But instead the cautious Van Marwijk went for Hull midfielder Jackson Irvine who was hardly noticeable and not surprisingly failed to produce the winner.
Beat Peru and you can go through. You would have taken that option at the start of the World Cup. Sensational performance @Socceroos ... fitness ✅ effort ✅ underdog ✅ arzani ✅ ✅ ✅— Jonathon Lance (@jonno_lance) June 21, 2018
It’s not over till its over
Despite just one point from two matches Australia’s World Cup is not over – yet. No matter what the result of the France-Peru match later on Thursday Australia can still reach the knockout stages, depending on results on the final day of matches in Group C.
What makes the group so close is the lack of goals with Denmark boasting a 2-1 (+1) goal difference and Australia a 1-2 (-1) .
Australia play Peru in their last match and a win for the Socceroos by two goals, taking them to +1, and a loss for Denmark by even one goal against France (seeing them slip to an even goal difference) would see Australia through to the last 16.
Permutations get even more interesting if France lose or draw against Peru today further increasing Australia’s chances of reaching the last 16 for the second time in their history.
In Group C there is still lots to play for.