Germany will be looking to build upon a positive result in their opening 2022 FIFA World Cup Qualifier when they face Romania. Joachim Low’s men recorded an easy 3-0 win in their first match, launching their campaign to retain the World Cup next year in Qatar. Romania, meanwhile, won their first match 3-2 against North Macedonia.
Low’s side will be looking to go ‘two in two’ when they face Romania in their second FIFA World Cup qualifier. Die Mannschaft registered an easy three-nil win in their opening match against Iceland with Leon Goretzka, Kai Havertz, and Ilkay Gundogan bagging the goals.
Goreztka opened the scoring for Germany within the first three minutes, smashing the ball into the net after being set-up by Serge Gnabry. Four minutes later, the 2014 World Cup winners were two goals up – Chelsea’s Kai Havertz diverting a Leroy Sane cross past Hannes Halldorsson.
Ilkay Gundogan got in on the act soon after the interval, as he collected the ball outside the box, skipped past an onrushing defender, and lashed his shot into the bottom corner. Germany created plenty of chances to add further gloss to the scoreline but were unable to do so.
Elsewhere, Romania survived a late scare from North Macedonia to get their first points on the board. Mirel Radoi’s men took the lead just before the half-hour mark, courtesy of a goal from Florin Tanase. Parma’s Valentin Mihaila doubled their advantage five minutes after half-time, putting Romania in control of the match.
North Macedonia staged a stunning comeback in the late stages, as they clawed back the deficit thanks to quick-fire goals from Arijan Ademi and Aleksandar Trajkovki. It proved to be in vain when Rangers star Ianis Hagi restored Romania’s lead five minutes from full-time, giving them the win.
As a result of their respective wins, both Germany and Romania have three points on the board. They are joined on top by Armenia, who beat Liechtenstein in their opening match of the European qualifiers.
The two European sides now face each other in a clash that has historical links. This will be the fourteenth meeting between the teams, with the first coming way back in 1935 – a match which
Germany won 4-2. As expected, Die Mannschaft hold a positive record over their opponents, winning eight games, drawing three, and losing two.
Joshua Kimmich: The Bayern Munich star has become as important to the national team as he is to the club side. Playing at the base of the midfield, Kimmich is the key for Germany to move the ball from defence to attack and break down the opposition locks. Against Iceland, Kimmich made more passes than the entire opposing team in the first half. He finished the game with 176 passes – nearly 17% share of the total passes made by Germany. Closing him down, and cutting off his passing channels, will be important for Romania if they are looking to get anything from this one.
Serge Gnabry: Another Bayern stalwart, Gnabry’s form and performances make him a potential threat to any team in the world. The attacker was used as part of a striker-less system by Low against Iceland, along with Kai Havertz and Leroy Sane. While he failed to get on the scoresheet himself, he did manage to record a couple of assists. If picked again, he can hurt Romania with his scorching pace and accurate finishing.
Ianis Hagi: Son of Romanian legend Gheorghe Hagi, Ianis is becoming a superstar in his own right. The youngster is currently at Rangers under the tutelage of Steven Gerrard and recently helped his club side win their first championship title in almost a decade. Hagi has been superb domestically, scoring seven times this season while providing 12 assists. He was the match-winner for Romania in their last match, who will once again rely on him to be the force to unlock the German defence.
Valentin Mihaila: A part of the recent crop of Romanian talent, Mihaila will look to his glossary of good performances with one against Germany. The versatile attacker, who can play in any spot behind the main forward, scored his side’s second goal against North Macedonia in their recent encounter – a stunner from long range. Mihaila has put in good performances at the club level this season and has three goals and three assists for Parma across all competitions.
Germany are hurting. Their recent win over Iceland might have helped ease some pressure, however, the 6-0 thrashing at the hands of Spain remains fresh in the minds of fans. The young squad has a burden on their shoulders after a disappointing exit from the World Cup three years ago. Die Mannschaft need to put in some good performances in the current window and the upcoming UEFA Euros.
It might be the ideal time for Romania to play against this particular opposition. Radoi has a young and exciting side at his disposal, with the likes of Hagi, Mihaila, Florinel Coman, and Denis Man all in the squad. Logic dictates that their much stronger opponents will walk with all three points from this one – given their squad strength and international pedigree. However, it won’t be a surprise if Romania manage to get something out of this encounter.