A German victory would send them into the quarter final round, but a loss would mean winning a crucial game against Austria.
The second game is set for the favorite Germans, against 1-0 winners over co-host Austria, Croatia. It’s almost a sure thing that the Germans can put together a win and advance.
Goalie: Jens Lehmann versus Stipe Pletikosa Jens Lehmann is a set keeper— albeit old, and experienced. He has started in a World Cup and has played for Arsenal.
Pletikosa is younger, more athletic, but hasn't played on the same club level as Lehmann.
Defense: Germany has almost their entire defensive team back from the third-place finish in the World Cup. Croatia's defense is anchored by Robert Kovac. He plays in the Bundesliga, German league.
That said, Germany simply has too much firepower, although they have been looking rusty as of late.
Midfield: This is Germany's mortar. Captain Michael Ballack anchors one of the finest midfield lines in the world. Joining Ballack is Torsten Frings, Bastian Schweinsteiger, and Lukas Podolski.
Croatia's midfield is pretty decent with the likes of Luka Modric, from Tottenham and Niko Kranjcar from Portsmouth. Despite Modric's talent, the Germans get the nod here.
Forwards: Germany has two of the most talented strikers in Euro 2008 in Miroslav Klose and Mario Gomez. They have a whole arsenal of substitutes in this position as well, so Germany has the advantage here.
Croatia counters with a line of decent strikers, including Mladen Petric and Ivica Olic, two Bundesliga players.
Overall: Although Croatia will give Germany their best shot, the Germans will move on to the quarter final round with a 3-1 victory over the Croats.
Klose and Gomez will each find the back of the net, with Ballack adding to the fun.
Prediction: Germany 3, Croatia 1
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