Germany and Ghana will head into a their World Cup match with two different focuses on Saturday.
For Germany, the match represents yet another chance to round into top form as they continue their march to the championship. Coming off a 4-0 thrashing of Portugal, the German side appears to be a lock to make it out of the group stage and have its sights set on hoisting the cup when it's all said and done.
For Ghana, this match represents the desperation to stay alive. After dropping its first match to the United States, the African side will need to avoid a loss to remain alive in Group G.
Here's a look at what to watch for when these two squads take the pitch.
What Role Will Kevin-Prince Boateng Play for Ghana?
Among the most interesting players to watch in this match is Kevin-Prince Boateng. The German-born midfielder came off the bench for the side against the United States and turned in a solid performance, registering three shots in limited action.
This match, however, will see the spotlight shined on him a little bit brighter. The 27-year-old hasn't been shy about criticizing his former nation, per Andy Hunter of The Guardian.
Germany has world-class players in every position and that is their main problem. They have so many good players and need to win the World Cup or at least make it to the final. You need characters when you go into a tournament with so much pressure. I don’t see anyone who could handle this and might be able to carry the team along.
Of course, statements like that are bound to upset players from the German side. German star Mario Goetze didn't hesitate to fire back at Boateng according to Hunter. "What does Mr Boateng want? He should mind his own business and rather concern himself with his own team and look for leaders over there."
Boateng's brother, Jerome, is a defender for the German side—a twist that only serves to make this rivalry all the more interesting. With everything in the balance for Ghana, can Kevin-Prince Boateng back up his trash talk?
Can Ghana Capitalize on Opportunities This Time?
Despite the end result, Ghana were not in particularly poor form against the United States. They simply failed to capitalize on the opportunities they created for themselves.
According to WhoScored.com, Ghana actually outshot the U.S. 21-8. They were also the more dominant side in the middle of the pitch, as pointed out by Squawka Football:
The problem is that Germany are much stingier on defense than the American side Ghana saw in the opening match. The dominant Europeans won the battle of possession in their 4-0 decimation of Portugal 57-43 and allowed just 13 shots in the shutout effort.
If Ghana are to have any shot at pulling off the upset or even battling to a draw, they will have to capitalize on whatever opportunities they may be able to create.
Will Germany Continue to Look Like a World Cup Favorite?
Simply put, Germany are one of a handful of squads that figure to wind up in the final. According to FiveThirtyEight's predictive model, the Germans are tied with Argentina as the second-most likely team to win the tournament.
However, performances such as the showcase that France put on in their 5-1 rout of Switzerland will continually raise the bar for which side will enter the next round with the most momentum.
After defeating a side like Portugal 4-0, the expectations for Germany are even higher. The Germans are aware that they are favored to win the World Cup. As Toni Kroos brings up in this video, Germany's goal is to bring home the cup.
Teams with that kind of determination aren't likely to be upset against an inferior squad. That sets a difficult road ahead for Ghana to stave off a poor result in this one.
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