Rounding off the year. Hopefully in style.

The second week in November sees Germany close off the year, with two prestige friendlies. The Mannschaft are in England to take on old foes England at Wembley, and four days later they line up in Köln against neighbours France. Unbeaten since the summer of 2016, Jogi Löw’s team will be looking to extend their run as the road turns towards next year’s World Cup finals in Russia.

Previous meetings

If feels like only yesterday when Germany played both of these opponents. It has been less than nine months since the last meeting with England, when Lukas Podolski sealed off his career in style in Dortmund. One has to go back to the Euro 2016 semi-final for the Mannschaft’s last encounter with France, their last international defeat.

With every coach looking to get things right as next year’s footballing festival approaches, there will some room for experimentation. But these fixtures do mean something, and are the perfect opportunity to boost confidence before the turn of the year.

Germany are top of the FIFA rankings, are recent winners of the Confederations Cup, and have gone unbeaten for nineteen matches. Right now, they are the team to beat.

The numbers

In terms of pure numbers, the Wembley match will be the 35th meeting with the Three Lions. Including their two penalty shootout wins at the World Cup in 1990 and Euro 1996, Germany have won fifteen, lost sixteen and drawn four.

In recent years, Wembley has become a second home for the Mannschaft. They have not lost at FA headquarters for over four decades, with their last defeat coming in a 0-2 friendly defeat in 1975. Since then, Germany have won the last six meetings, including the Euro 1996 semi-final. The last meeting in November 2013 saw Löw’s side claim a friendly 1-0 win, with centre-back Per Mertesacker’s header separating the two sides.

The match in Köln is the 29th meeting with France, with Les Bleus also holding the better record. Germany have won on ten occasions – including the famous penalty shootout in the World Cup in Spain in 1982, the French thirteen times, with five draws.

The last meeting was in the Euro 2016 semi-final, which saw an arguably better German team suffer a bitter 2-0 defeat at the hands of the tournament hosts. On their previous meeting on German soil in Bremen in February 2012, France edged out the Mannschaft to win by the odd goal in three.

The squad

As one might expect, there are a number of changes to the Kader that was brought together for the final World Cup qualifying matches. İlkay Gündoğan and Mario Götze are back in the mix after long spells out of the national reckoning, and there are also welcome returns for Sami Khedira and Leroy Sané.

The injured Thomas Müller and Leon Goretzka both miss out, as does Shkodran Mustafi.

There is one new face in the extended twenty-five man squad, with RB Leipzig left-back Marcel Halstenberg nominated for the first time. It has been quite a rise for the 26 year old, who has burst onto the scene for Die Roten Bullen after two seasons in the 2. Bundesliga with St. Pauli. Halstenberg is something of a rarity as he is not a product of the long youth level production line. Should he make his full debut, it will be his first ever appearance in the Nationaltrikot at any level.

Goalkeepers:

Bernd Leno (Bayer 04 Leverkusen, 6/0)
Marc-André ter Stegen (FC Barcelona, 17/0)
Kevin Trapp (Paris Saint-Germain, 1/0)

Defence:

Jérôme Boateng (FC Bayern München, 68/1)
Matthias Ginter (Borussia Mönchengladbach, 16/0)
Marcel Halstenberg (RB Leipzig, 0/0)
Mats Hummels (FC Bayern München, 60/5)
Joshua Kimmich (FC Bayern München, 24/3)
Marvin Plattenhardt (Hertha BSC, 4/0)
Antonio Rüdiger (Chelsea FC, 20/1)
Niklas Süle (FC Bayern München, 7/0)

Midfield/Forwards:

Julian Brandt (Bayer 04 Leverkusen, 12/1)
Emre Can (Liverpool FC, 18/1)
Julian Draxler (Paris Saint-Germain, 38/6)
Mario Götze (BV 09 Borussia Dortmund, 62/17)
İlkay Gündoğan (Manchester City, 20/4)
Sami Khedira (Juventus Turin, 71/7)
Toni Kroos (Real Madrid CF, 79/12)
Mesut Özil (Arsenal FC, 86/22)
Sebastian Rudy (FC Bayern München, 22/1)
Leroy Sané (Manchester City, 8/0)
Lars Stindl (Borussia Mönchengladbach, 9/3)
Sandro Wagner (TSG 1899 Hoffenheim, 5/5)
Timo Werner (RB Leipzig, 8/6)
Amin Younes (Ajax Amsterdam, 5/2)

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    Rounding off the year. Hopefully in style.
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