With the UEFA 2020 European championships finally underway, Germany hosts world champions France in Munich tonight. With the help of Berlin-based football writer @LGAmbrose, the Cloudbet Blog takes a look at the big game and what value the betting markets might offer.
Germany vs France
For the first time since the 2010 World Cup, Germany aren’t among the heavy favourites as they begin a tournament campaign. A poor showing at the 2018 World Cup has been followed by three inconsistent years and expectations aren’t high, especially since they’ve been handed the task of progressing from Group F - this year’s Group of Death.
As if an opening match against the world champs wasn’t enough, they then face European champions Portugal, and finally Hungary in their last group match.
In Cloudbet’s outright winner market they sit only sixth (at odds of 9.04) - while their opening opposition, Les Blues, are favourites for the tournament (at 5.23).
All three games will be played on home soil in Munich’s Allianz Arena - which should help - but the odds are fairly even on each side, with the French as slight favourites (France: 2.69; Germany 2.93; Draw 3.24).
There may be value in those odds on Germany to win given the potential for a surprise on home soil.
Heading into Jogi Löw’s last tournament as boss, Germany are something of an unknown; nine of the 26 players have represented the country fewer than 10 times. Precisely half of the squad were not at the 2018 World Cup. Two who were - Mats Hummels and Thomas Müller - are back in the fold after enforced absences which lasted over two years.
With less expectation than they’re used to, this Germany side does have all it needs to cause a few surprises. Having scored just twice en route to a group-stage exit in Russia three years ago, the attack has been transformed. Mesut Özil, Julan Draxler and Marco Reus each started twice in Russia - none of them are involved this time around. Timo Werner is in the 26-man squad, but has had a difficult debut season with Chelsea and is not expected to start as he did in all three games in Russia.
Germany are likely to set up in a 3-4-3 formation, but where are the goals most likely going to come from?
For the Germans, Serge Gnabry is the most obvious goalscorer (as reflected by odds of 3.59 to score at any time, or 8.00 to score first). The Bayern Munich winger is likely to lead a fluid front three and has generally been used centrally for the national team over the past few years. It’s a role that suits him perfectly, netting 16 times in 22 international appearances. With club team-mate and creative maestro Müller back in the fold, Gnabry will be Germany’s biggest threat with his speed off the mark, intelligent movement and composure in front of goal. The 2020/21 season saw him reach double-figures for Bundesliga goals for the fifth season in a row, and he will be more of a focal point than ever in this side.
The last of the front three is expected to be Kai Havertz (5.09), fresh from scoring the only goal in last month’s Champions League final. The 22-year-old has had a difficult first season in England, finding himself out of favour under Frank Lampard, but improved in the Endspurt. Like Gnabry, he’s cool in front of goal and has exceptional movement off the ball, but he is also a threat in the air. In Joshua Kimmich (12.2) and Robin Gosens (8.80), as well as Müller (4.75), who will drift out wide, Germany are blessed with players with fantastic ability to deliver into the area. If they do find joy out wide against France’s narrow setup, Havertz will be the big threat in the middle of the area.
Space on the flanks should also play into the hands of Gosens, an exciting wing-back who is relatively unknown in his own country. The 26-year-old, who plays his club football for Serie A side Atalanta, has never appeared in the Bundesliga and has played just seven times for Germany. He could become a household name over the summer.
Gosens is encouraged to attack as much as possible for Atalanta and has scored a remarkable 20 goals in 66 Serie A appearances over the last two seasons. Playing on the left of a back five, he has the freedom to roam upfield and join attacks, and his role this summer will be the same. He scored the opener and his first Germany goal in last week’s 7-1 defeat of Latvia.
With both Gosens looking to play high and France's star striker Kylian Mbappé (3.30) playing on the same wing, that could open space for France in attack - meaning there’s a good chance that both teams will score.
Joshua Kimmich is expected to play on the opposite flank for Löw’s side, helping Germany retain possession and build play on the right before switching play and finding Gosens on the opposite flank. Benjamin Pavard will have his hands full at right-back for France, keeping a close eye on the rotating front three, whose movement could give Gosens plenty of space to work with. The German may be a defender, but he knows how to find the back of the net and won’t hesitate to shoot when an opportunity presents itself.
France may be the favourites for the tournament, but you can never write Germany off - and this squad has more than enough talent to surprise over the next month, starting with the world champions.
Cloudbet’s Outright markets
Cloudbet currently has 175 special outright markets available for players to bet on for Euro 2020 - allowing any fan to back their team as far as they want to. The outrights are also a great place to try to find value.
You can find outright markets that pose the question “Will they qualify?” from the group stages for all teams. For Group F, the odds are telling, in favour of France (Yes: 1.07, No: 7.03), Germany (Yes: 1.08, No: 6.71) and Portugal (Yes: 1.28, No: 3.42), with only Hungary most likely not to qualify (Yes: 5.13, No: 1.14).
There is also a simple Group F winner market, which places the teams in the same order: France, Germany, Portugal, Hungary.
So at these odds, the Germans are better placed than the Portuguese… though you can bet Christiano Ronaldo and co will have something to say about that. What may be more interesting is that in the overall winner market, Portugal is placed at better odds (fifth-favourite, at 8.73) than Germany (sixth at 9.04).
All odds are correct at the time of writing, but please check the live site for the latest levels.