Reigning World Champions, Germany face a tricky test in their bid to stay in the hunt for glory in France as they battle Slovakia for a slot in the quarter finals of the Euro 2016 Championships on Sunday night.
Slovakia have surprised people before, and can do so again; hence the need for Germany to be extra-careful if they are to avoid an early exit by their standards.
Going into Sunday’s Round of 16 tie, Germany are yet to concede a goal in this tournament and the return of the centre-back will make things even more difficult for Slovakia.
However, it should be noted that the last goals Germany conceded were actually against Slovakia. The Slovaks beat an experimental Germany side 3-1 less than a month ago but many expect a different ball game at the Stade Pierre-Mauroy tonight. Germany and Slovakia made it to the Round of 16 in different fashions; Joachim Low’s side topped their group but looked a lot more solid at the back than they did going forward.
They are still yet to concede at Euro 2016. Slovakia on their part won over Russia and drew against England and that was enough to ensure they went through despite finishing third in Group B.
Despite far from being convincing yet in their approach, Germany goalkeeper Manuel Neuer believes the world champions can put a slow start to Euro 2016 behind them and thrive under the pressure of knockout football when they face Slovakia on Sunday.
Neuer admits much more is expected of him and his teammates as they face a Slovak side appearing at this stage of a Euro for the first time since independence.
Jaz Kozak’s side have some injury concerns though Robert Mak should be fine despite a hamstring problem and Peter Pekarik will not wear a protective mask on his broken nose, but fellow defender Dusan Svento has been ruled out.