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Germany vs Japan Odds, Prediction, Picks | Group E World Cup Match Preview

Germany vs Japan Odds, Prediction, Picks | Group E World Cup Match Preview article feature image
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Marvin Ibo Guengoer/Getty. Pictured: Germany players.

Germany vs. Japan Odds

Wednesday, Nov. 23
8 a.m. ET
FS1
Germany Odds -225
Japan Odds +600
Draw +375
Over/Under 2.5 (-150/ +120)
Both Teams to Score (Yes/No) (-125 / -110)
Odds via bet365. Get up-to-the-minute World Cup odds here.

When the World Cup groups were released, Group E was quickly identified as one of the most difficult because of the two European giants at the top of the board. 2010 champion Spain and 2014 champion Germany both went through down periods as a national team following their triumphs, but both appear to be rebounding for this tournament.

Spain and Germany are the two likeliest sides to advance, but don’t count out Japan. The Asian side is different than Japan sides of past generations and they won’t be overmatched physically by the European giants. Japan take on Germany and will need a result in either this match or the match against Spain if they want to advance.

The market has moved towards the Japanese since the World Cup markets opened, both in this match and the ‘to advance from the group’ markets. Japan may not have the top end talent of Germany on paper, but the matchup presents some interesting opportunities for them to exploit the Germans in transition.

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Germany Facing Some Questions

Because they are in the second tier of elite European teams and in a group with Spain, Germany is almost flying under the radar entering this World Cup.

The Germans failed to get out of their group in 2018 despite being paired with Sweden, Mexico and South Korea. The performances at the Euros under Joachim Löw were up and down as the German transition defense was badly exposed at times and the German possession system was dominant at others.

Hansi Flick is in charge for Die Mannschaft now and he’s dialing up the pressing and possessing system even more. Germany will have one of the highest defensive lines at this entire tournament, placing trust in Manuel Neuer to be an elite sweeper keeper. The questions for Germany don’t end in defense, though.

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They don’t have a true striker to center the attack around either. The injury to Timo Werner and poor form of Kai Havertz means that the Germans could turn to Serge Gnabry and Jamal Musiala as part of a three-man attacking unit with ageless veteran Thomas Muller. Throw in injuries to Leroy Sane for this match and Marco Reus for the entire tournament and the German attack doesn’t have the depth that Flick thought he’d have this summer.

Joshua Kimmich and Ilkay Gündoğan are the expected midfield pairing, but does that offer enough protection for the center backs? Antonio Rudiger and Niklas Sule have been good but not great in the last calendar year for Germany. They have just two wins in their last eight matches and they conceded at least one goal in seven of those eight contests.

Germany’s biggest weakness was transition defense and Flick hasn’t really solved that problem to this point.

Japan an Underrated Side

Japan’s tactical versatility is one of their most valued assets as a team, and their ability to play in transitional moments and disrupt heavy possession teams is supremely valued in this matchup with Germany. The Japanese could choose to sit deeper and use their physical style to impose themselves on the more technically sound Germans.

When the Germans do enact their high pressure on Japan, it’s beneficial for the Japanese that both of their expected starting center backs are excellent passers and ball progressors from the back. Both Takehiro Tomiyasu and Maya Yoshida are excellent with the ball at their feet. That could be the difference between a passing mistake springing a German transition opportunity, or the German press getting broken to enable a Japanese big scoring chance at the other end.

The midfield group that includes Daichi Kamada and Waturo Endo have plenty of experience against a lot of the Bayern from their club matches in the Bundesliga. They’re used to the frenetic environment, pressing and pace that this match is likely to be played at.

Takumi Minamino and Takefusa Kubo both come into this World Cup in great form for their club teams in France and Spain too. Those are players who are more than capable around the penalty area if Kamada and the midfield can get them the ball.

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Germany vs. Japan Pick

It’s a bit opposite from the history of these two clubs, but this Germany team isn’t the typical grind it out physical side of World Cups past. This Japan team excels in transition and can press and disrupt play, but it’s not as though they have supremely technical forward players.

This match will be won and lost in those transition moments, right after Germany loses possession in the attacking half of Japan. The Germans will immediately look to counter-press, while Japan will look to move quickly forward through Kubo and Minamino.

The gap between these two teams given the stylistic matchup is still not as big as the market is indicating here. I’d play Japan +1 at any plus-money price.

The Pick: Japan +1 (+115)

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