Germany v Brazil
Tuesday March 26, 19:45

Loew on a learning curve before World Cup begins

Germany boss Joachim Loew says Friday's entertaining 1-1 draw with Spain in Dusseldorf taught him a lot about how his team must improve ahead of their World Cup defence in Russia. Die Mannschaft conceded an early goal as Rodrigo Moreno ghosted in behind a dozing Mats Hummels to fire in the opener, but the hosts responded with a stunning long-range drive from Thomas Mueller.
Loew's attitude to friendlies is interesting. He is always very conscious of not revealing too much ahead of a major tournament, and he doesn't mind if mistakes are made in these games, as he always emphasises the educational element of these match-ups.
That partially explains why Germany's recent record in friendly matches is somewhat modest. They have drawn five of their last six friendlies as part of a 22-match unbeaten runthey have constructed. It's worth considering Germany's run-up to EURO 2016 a couple of years ago - they lost friendlies at home to Slovakia and England, but Loew was always confident they would get it right on the night. As it turned out, they reached the semi-finals, only to lose to the hosts France.
Mesut Ozil and Thomas Mueller (don't write in on spelling, I still haven't worked out how to do umlauts on this keyboard) are both injured, while Loew is likely to change the attack, with Sandro Wagner and the rejuvenated Mario Gomez pushing for starting spots.

Brazil keen to banish the ghost of Belo Horizonte

It's a game and a scoreline which will forever be a part of the sporting history of both Brazil and Germany. Brazil's soul-crushing 7-1 defeat to Germany in the semi-finals of a World Cup played in their own territory represents the nadir of their footballing existence, surely trumping their group-stage defeat to Uruguay at the Maracana in 1950.
This is Brazil's first chance to address that 7-1 defeat, their first opportunity for some sort of catharsis. This is a different Brazil, a better-balanced outfit under impressive coach Tite. The Brazil of 2014 allowed the emotion of the occasion to completely subsume them, as Germany went about their business with brutal efficiency.
Tite took Brazil into the World Cup with a measure of comfort in qualifying, and the Selecao have only lost two of their last 27 games. They serenely saw off a limited Russian side 3-0 in their most recent outing.
The absence of star player Neymar is not the handicap it might have previously been. Juventus defender Alex Sandro is injured but Marcelo is an outstanding left-back anyway. Tite has numerous dilemmas, but all of them are encouraging. Alisson and Ederson are battling for the number one spot in goal, while it says a lot that the outstanding Roberto Firmino (playing the football of his life at Liverpool) is by no means guaranteed a starting spot.

Back Brazil to achieve a measure of retribution

The Germany we see in pre-tournament friendlies is not the Germany we will see when the World Cup kicks off. Loew likes to tinker and try things, sometimes at the cost of overall performance. Brazil will be fired up for this (the game is a matter of national pride), and Tite has a talented squad to work with.
I'll back Brazil Draw No Bet at 2.20.

Unders has appeal when the big guns clash

Germany's 1-1 draw with Spain means that seven of their last eight friendlies have featured fewer than three goals, and during those eight outings, they have leaked just four goals and kept five clean sheets.
Brazil have only conceded just three goals in their last ten games in all competitions, and they haven't conceded more than once in a match since a 2-2 draw with Paraguay in March 2016.
I'll advocate backing Under 2.5 Goals here at 1.99.
Back Brazil Draw No Bet at 2.20
Back Under 2.5 Goals at 1.99

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