The Tactical Battles That Will Shape England's Clash with Germany

Sam PilgerContributing Football WriterNovember 18, 2013

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England manager Roy Hodgson should resist the temptation to get too excited when he sees Germany's diminished team sheet before kick-off tomorrow. 

Yes, there will be no Mesut Ozil, no Bastian Schweinsteiger, no Sami Khedira, no Philipp Lahm and no Manuel Neuer. 

But Germany has a rich and deep seam of talent that will continue to pose England with a host of problems at Wembley on Tuesday night.

England and Germany are coming at this friendly from very different angles.

After losing to Chile on Friday night, England are desperate for a morale-boosting win over their historical rivals, while Germany, currently ranked second in the world, are more relaxed about this fixture and see it as opportunity to experiment with some new players.

Tactically it will be interesting to see how Germany line up in attack, because while they boast an abundance of midfielders, their options up front are more limited. 

Will they select an orthodox striker in Miroslav Klose, who has an incredible 68 goals from 130 caps, or the emerging Max Kruse, who has won only five caps so far but is in prolific form with Borussia Monchengladbach with seven goals in 12 games this season?

Or will they go without any striker at all? German manager Joachim Low has shown he is intrigued by using another midfielder in the "false nine" role. 

On Friday night against Italy, he did that by playing Mario Gotze as his most advanced player on the pitch, and Germany were the stronger team in a 1-1 draw at the San Siro.

Germany might want to apply more physical pressure on Joe Hart, who will start for England, despite no longer being the first choice at Manchester City.

Low might wish to exploit Hart's woes with lots of quick balls in to the penalty area and crosses from the flanks for Klose or Kruse.

But then they could also play with this "false nine" to confuse England's central defensive partnership of Chris Smalling and Phil Jagielka, who possibly lack the pace and mobility to deal with it.

How England must hanker for the days when they could boast John Terry and Rio Ferdinand as their central defensive partnership.

Despite all their absences, Germany's greatest strength remains in midfield where they have the power to overwhelm England.

England captain Steven Gerrard is a fine player who will win his 108th cap tomorrow night, but alongside him in the centre of midfield, Tom Cleverley is a clear weakness.

The Manchester United man does everything ably but excels at precisely nothingnot passing, goal scoring or possession.

England could be further exposed with international rookies Andros Townsend and Adam Lallana completing Roy Hodgson's midfield.

At his disposal, Low will select from an altogether stronger collection of midfielders, including the immense talents of Marco Reus, Thomas Muller, Toni Kroos, Sven Bender and Andre Schurrle.

Germany should have too much fluidity and ball retention for England's midfield at Wembley and prove why they will travel to Brazil next year with a chance of winning the World Cup.