Germany and France are undoubtedly both favourites to win the inaugural UEFA Nations League and here are the Three Keys to this fixture.
Kylian Mbappe v Leroy Sane
The two youngsters turn out for two of the best clubs in Europe at the moment and they are both very attack minded players. Mbappe is on the back of winning the World Cup where he contributed immensely and won the Young Player of the Tournament award. Sane for his part feels like he has a point to prove after being left out of the German squad for the trip to Russia. He has not featured very much this season for City having played a total of 30 minutes only.
The French youngster has distinguished himself as the main creative outlet for Le Blues, a role he played almost to perfection in Russia. The new Ligue 1 season has come with good tidings for him as he has registered four goals and two assists already. Sane apparently has not established himself in the German squad as much and therefore will use every minute he gets to try and impress his manager. This should make for a very interesting contest between two young players who are expected to dominate football headlines for the next couple of years.
German redemption v France desire
Both teams will be playing their first game since the World Cup, a tournament that ended very differently for Germany and France. Germany were surprisingly knocked out of the tournament in the group stage, never mind the fact that they were the defending champions. Their situation is worsened by the fact they will not have one of their experienced forwards in Mesut Ozil who has retired following allegations of racism on the part of German football authorities. Amidst all this chaos, the selected players will want to forge a united front under the leadership of Joachim Low and give a good account of themselves.
France atoned for their sins of failing to win the Euro 2016 on home soil by winning the World Cup. However they don’t have to look too far to know that things often go wrong after a successful World Cup outing. There is a very convincing argument that this young French squad could get even better when you consider their average age. They will be under pressure to perform but that is nothing new to them owing to the number of leaders and plenty of talent at their disposal.
Slow German defence v Pacey French attackers.
The Germans looked vulnerable to pace during the World Cup and unfortunately that is what France have in profusion. The selection by Low is very much a reaffirmation that he still has faith in the players that were eliminated in the group stage in Russia. France have young forwards in Mbappe and Ousmane Dembele who will be out to exploit the aging German defence with their blistering pace. The Key to this game from a tactical point of view will narrow down to how Germany will deal with the French forwards pace.