World Cup 2010, Germany Vs. Ghana Preview: Nationalmannschaft At Surprise Risk

Germany's up-and-down group stage crested with Miroslav Klose's goal against Australia and reached its trough with the same man's sending-off against Serbia. As a result, Germany is in a desperate situation few saw coming, where they must get a result against Ghana or they'll be eliminated from World Cup 2010.

Ghana is the surprise leader of Group D, having their chances written-off by most when all-world midfielder Michael Essien was ruled-out of the tournament. But Milovan Rajevac has turned to Ghana's youth - expected to make an impact in 2014, but thought to raw for 2010. While it is tempting to say that evaluation was wrong and the young Ghanians were ready for 2010, a loss to Germany today could put Africa's best hope out of the competition, youth contribution be damned.

Germany, Going Forward: The Nationalmannschaft will be without Miroslav Klose, who received two early yellow cards against Serbia. Some followers of German soccer will consider that a blessing, given Klose's struggles over the last 12 months. But the absence of a man with 11 World Cup goals, who led the 2006 tournament in goals, will be felt.

The void puts more emphasis on the next line of attack to continue performing. Left wing Lukas Podolski, attacking central midfielder Mesut Özil, and right wing Thomas Müller have been the dangermen in Germany's attack. Even while the team was being shut out against Serbia, this line was still able to generate chances. Perhaps it was Klose's presence in the first match that allowed them to post a 4-0 over Australia, but today against Ghana, Joachim Löw will need to get the team on-tracked and scoring goals again.

Ghana Going Forward: Ghana has been building many of their attacks through the wings with Prince Tagoe and Andre Ayew. The final ball, however, has been lacking, and the Black Stars have been unable to utilize forward Asamoah Gyan. The Rennes striker still has two goals in the tournament; however, they have both been from the spot. Ghana has yet to score a goal from open play.

Ghana's new tendency to go wide might be ill-placed against this German team.  Germany's best defenders are their fullbacks. Right back Philipp Lahm and left back Holger Badstuber are capable of limiting Ghana's chances from the wing. A better course of attack would be to work through the middle. Kwadwo Asamoah is Ghana's most talented player, and if they can get good interplay between him and Gyan, Ghana should be able to get at Per Mertesacker and Arne Freidrich in central defense.

Germany does have an advantage against this approach, as they have been playing two holding midfielders - Bastian Schweinsteiger and Sami Khedira. If Ghana does want to try and do more work through the middle, they need to get Stephen Appiah more playing time.

How The Match Turns: Ghana does not have enough going forward to knock Germany onto their heals, which means the Black Stars could find themselves having to absorb the full weight of the Germany attack. Ghana will need something against the run of play - a set piece, or a direct kick - to slow down the Germans. If they don't get it, this match won't turn.

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