Spain Vs. Germany World Cup Group E Odds, Picks, Predictions (11/27/22)

In their opening match against Japan, Germany shocked the world, but not in a good way- they led for almost the whole game, and then gave up an equalizer and then Japan’s match-winner in short order. It was a terrible defeat and has them looking at an upwards climb to qualification, but it’s not over. Spain looked incredible while tearing apart an overmatched Costa Rica squad and ultimately winning by a touchdown- yes, 7-0 was the actual score- but this should still be an extremely competitive game with massive potential ramifications in the group and beyond. Let’s take a look at the odds and make some picks for this mega-clash on matchday 2.

Spain Vs. Germany Odds

Interestingly, the odds aren’t too skewed for this one despite the two teams’ opening matches. Spain are narrow favorites at +140, while Germany are minor underdogs at +185 and the draw is set at +255. The goalscoring total is set at 2.5, although the over is a significant favorite (-145)

Spain Vs. Germany Prediction & Pick

No major contender in this tournament has yet needed a win, or at least a point, more than Germany does against Spain in this one. Even a draw leaves them with an uncertain path- they’d have to essentially hope that Spain loses outright to Japan as well, and they’d need a similarly high-flying result against Costa Rica compared to what Spain did. So, calling this a must-win for Die Mannschaft is far from a stretch.

Spain got off to the dream start with their destruction of Costa Rica; the only thing that’s really on the line for them is seeding, as they will control their destiny within the group even if they lose to Germany. The biggest question for the Spanish side coming into this tournament was who would score the goals, and against Costa Rica the answer was…everybody. Of their 7 goals, 6 were from open play and each was scored by a different player. Dani Olmo was particularly impressive at left wing; he contributed the opener, and then an assist later on. We can’t really say the question has been definitively answered- we’ll see over the next two matchdays that a lot of players will be scoring against Costa Rica- but it was the best possible start for this group.

As many of you may know if you’ve read any of my preview work, Germany was one of my favorites to lift the trophy coming into this tournament. That being said, they looked the part for the first 70 or so minutes of the Japan match, with the concerning exception of a lack of clinical finishing in front of the net. Even so, I don’t think they’ll let their tournament effectively end on the second matchday, and I also believe that there are real issues with this Spain squad; it was just impossible to perceive them when put up against such a profoundly weak opponent. I’m going to back Germany to win this match and stay in contention, and in a much easier choice, I’m taking the goalscoring over as well.

Key Matchups

Germany Forwards vs. Spain Midfielders

I know it’s a weird battle, as these two groups are generally seen as occupying different corners of the game, but hear me out; Spain’s midfield is the heart and soul of the squad, and essentially the first (and best) line of defense. Pedri is pretty unquestionably the best player in the squad, Busquets is a defensive midfield legend, and Gavi showed plenty of quality today as well. Also, Rodri may have started at centre-back today, but the Man City star is a midfielder most of the time- this is yet another example of the hazy divide between Spain’s midfield and their defense. Spain’s best route to not giving up goals is simply to possess the ball, and these often deep-lying midfielders are the key in that pursuit.

On the other side of the pitch, Germany’s biggest mission in this match will be to finish chances. Their talented attacking group looked to be in good position numerous times throughout the match- especially after a dazzling run by young superstar Jamal Musiala- but failed to finish from open play each time, again most notably in that Musiala opportunity. The team actually accumulated over 3 expected goals, but only scored the one penalty; there’s clearly a lot of positive play from this attacking group, led by Musiala as the CAM and the always-creative Thomas Müller on the wing, but the finishing has to be better. Perhaps Müller can take Kai Havertz’s place up top, and/or Leroy Sané, who did not appear at all against Japan, will be able to get involved and provide a spark.

Spain Attackers vs. Germany Defenders

For over an hour of the match against Japan, the question was being asked how anyone would break the German back line of Raum, Schlotterbeck, Rüdiger and Süle. Just minutes later, the question became how anyone could fix them. Personally, I’d consider starting by playing an actual fullback at right back, rather than Süle who has always played in the middle for Germany and Bayern Munich. It’s also worth restating my pre-tournament question of just why in the world Hansi Flick didn’t so much as select Robin Gosens for this squad- he could have been an extremely valuable presence in both attack and defense. It’s tough to evaluate this group because of how their performance seemed to change on a dime; we saw for most of the game that they are certainly capable of doing what needs to be done, but it fell apart late. Maybe it’s a mentality issue, and if it was, the Japan match was surely the reality check they needed to get locked in going forward. If this was the case, we may see a very different approach from the very same players against Spain.

The Spanish attacking group was a big question coming into the tournament as well. Much like Germany, they have a lot of players in midfield and on the wing who can create good chances, but not much of a true striker or focal point to slot them in. Against Costa Rica, this obviously was not a problem. Ferran Torres grabbed a brace (including a penalty) in less than 60 minutes, Marco Asensio found a goal as the starting striker, Dani Olmo was excellent on the left wing, picking up two goal contributions as I mentioned earlier, and even the oft-maligned Alvaro Morata matched Olmo in just over a half-hour off of the bench. The question is, can they keep it going against top opposition, and if so, who exactly will be the one, or ones, to keep putting the goals away? My bet would be Olmo and/or Torres, if anybody. I have more faith in them than anyone else on the roster in terms of finishing. But without a true striker other than Morata- who is pretty streaky himself- it’s far from a guarantee that they’ll keep putting away the requisite amount of their chances created to keep winning matches.

From starting my own blog in Middle School, to working on a friend’s in college, and finally joining the Lineups team this year, I’ve been writing about sports for over a decade and betting on them as long as I’ve been legally able. I graduated from the University of Michigan last year, where I took sports journalism classes alongside my business major. Having played and watched sports for almost my whole life, I aim to provide insight and entertainment, as well as profitable picks, in my writing about professional and collegiate leagues.

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