The international break brings with it some intriguing fixtures and we have a tasty tie on Friday in the 2020 Euro qualifiers as Germany host Netherlands in a Group C clash.
Given the former’s 100 per cent record in three games so far and the latter’s sharp rise to excellence as seen in the UEFA Nations League, it would be hard to pick a winner.
Instead, we look at three new faces with less than five caps for their country who will be keen to make an impact.
Kai Havertz (Germany) – Midfielder
It’s surprising that Havertz has just three caps and a total of just over 100 minutes for Germany when they were running out of quality options. Despite being just 20, the midfielder has displayed immense talent at Bayer Leverkusen and now has a chance to replicate it for the national team.
The former Germany U-19 captain was called up to the senior squad last year when he became the first player born in 1999 to represent the nation. Although he made the bench in the reverse fixture of this qualifier tie, Havertz played no part in Germany’s 3-2 win over the Netherlands.
But now, he is likely to be handed a bigger role by Joachim Low as he builds the squad for the Euros next year. The 20-year-old will have to compete with other talented players around his age group and some experienced senior players but is likely to gain minutes as an impact-substitute at the very least.
The midfielder’s major strengths include dribbling, a good sense of positioning and decision-making. Havertz will be the face of Germany’s midfield in the next decade and will look to get into serious business against the Netherlands on Friday.
Justin Kluivert (Netherlands) – Winger
An injury to Steven Bergwijn handed young Justin Kluivert an opportunity to test himself with the senior team. The 20-year-old has two caps, but no starts with the Oranje after his senior debut in March last year.
The son of former footballer Patrick Kluivert, Justin played a crucial role in Netherlands’ U-17 Euros campaign in 2016, leading them to a semi-final finish.
Kluivert made his maiden senior appearance as a substitute in Netherlands’ 3-0 win over European champions Portugal in a friendly, replacing Memphis Depay for the final 12 minutes.
The left-winger likes to take defenders on, cut in and shoot. He is a player a defender would not want to face on a one-on-one situation with acres of space to exploit. His pace and skill with the ball at his feet resemble the movements of his idol Cristiano Ronaldo.
The Roma forward could get a few minutes off the bench and he will look to make the most of it.
Gian-Luca Waldschmidt (Germany) – Forward
Freiburg forward Gian-Luca Waldschmidt earned his first German senior team call-up for the upcoming qualifiers. Low will hope that the 23-year-old solves his team’s complications in front of goal and he has very good reason to believe so.
Waldschmidt has represented Germany at several youth levels – U-16, U-17, U-18, U-19 and most recently U-21. He finished top-scorer of the 2019 U-21 Euros, scoring seven goals in just five games.
Often compared to Lukas Podolski, the youngster possesses a lethal left foot. He can carry the ball into the attacking third and can also pick a pass from the no10 position.
Germany’s attack was woeful in the 2018 World Cup and the games that followed. Is Waldschmidt the answer to their troubles?
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