Saturday, August 29, 2009

Nervous Time in Germany

South Africa plays a friendly against Germany next Saturday.

South Africa is host to the 2010 World Cup, and doesn't really have to worry about results. We suspect Germany will handle the Bafana Bafana fairly easily ... but a writer for the Johannesburg Sunday Times suggests that a win over South Africa won't eliminate the angst surrounding the Mannschaft.

Germany's biggest problem is Russia. Well, and not winning more impressively during the European qualifying phase.

Germany has won six matches and tied one, but it hasn't quite shaken Russia, which has won five and lost one and plays Liechtenstein in what amounts to a sure victory on Sept. 5.

Why are the Germans nervous?

The author of the Times piece is a bit purple in his description, and a bit relentless in his fondness for wordplay, but the story seems to be a fairly accurate assessment of the mood in the Germany soccer community.

The sense is that their team is still pretty good, but more out of habit than talent, and that there is a festering fear that Russia will win Europe's Group 4 by winning the head-to-head in Moscow next month ... and Germany's 3-3 tie at Finland will come home to haunt it.

Germany gets Azerbaijan at home on Sept. 9, which ought to be an easy victory, but it won't do the Germans any good unless Wales helps them out by defeating (or at least tying) the Russians at Cardiff, on the same day.

A nice roundup on the Germany situation.

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