Soccer

Germany lowdown: All you need to know about Scotland’s first Euro 2024 opponents

Scotland kick off the tournament on Friday evening.

Julian Nagelsmann leads Germany into Euro 2024
Julian Nagelsmann leads Germany into Euro 2024 (PA Wire via DPA/PA)

Scotland take on host country Germany in their Euro 2024 opener on Friday night.

Here, the PA news agency takes a look at what Steve Clarke’s side will come up against in Munich.

Germany form

Scotland and Germany both have experienced squads in terms of age
Scotland and Germany both have experienced squads in terms of age (Press Association Images)

Much was made of Germany’s indifferent form last year.

Being a host nation means no qualification games and in 2023 they played 11 friendlies and won only three – against Peru, France and the United States – while losing six.

Amid that run, new boss Julian Nagelsmann took over in September and, since the turn of the year, Germany are unbeaten in four matches.

Wins against France and Netherlands preceded a goalless draw against Ukraine, which came before a victory over Greece last Friday.

And if performances have still been patchy, then they look to have found the way to get results just in time.

Star players

Real Madrid duo Toni Kroos and Antonio Rudiger are set for key roles for Germany
Real Madrid duo Toni Kroos and Antonio Rudiger are set for key roles for Germany (Joe Giddens/PA)

Germany are packed full of world-class players starting in goal with 38-year-old Manuel Neuer, albeit he recently made a high-profile blunder in Bayern Munich’s Champions League semi-final defeat to Real Madrid.

The defence can boast experience in Antonio Rudiger of Real Madrid and Bayern Munich’s Joshua Kimmich.

Germany have also been boosted by the return of midfielder Toni Kroos after a long absence. The midfielder has 109 caps and will finish his football career after this tournament.

Captain Ilkay Gundogan of Barcelona and fellow midfielder Leroy Sane of Bayern Munich both had spells at Manchester City while Pascal Gross is a team-mate of Billy Gilmour’s at Brighton.

Arsenal’s Kai Havertz scored in last week’s friendly win over Greece and evergreen 34-year-old forward Thomas Muller has a remarkable 45 goals in 129 caps.

Manager

Julian Nagelsmann is tasked with leading Germany at a home European Championship (Christian Charisius/AP)
Julian Nagelsmann is tasked with leading Germany at a home European Championship (Christian Charisius/AP) (Christian Charisius/AP)

Julian Nagelsmann was appointed Germany head coach in September 2023, taking over from the sacked Hansi Flick.

At 36, he became the country’s second youngest coach, only behind Otto Nerz, who was 34 when hired in 1926.

Nagelsmann previously managed TSG Hoffenheim, RB Leipzig and Bayern Munich in the Bundesliga.

He took RB Leipzig to the semi-finals of the Champions League in 2020 and won the Bundesliga title in his debut season at Bayern Munich before being sacked in March 2023.

Big game experience

Germany are four-time world champions
Germany are four-time world champions (Mike Egerton/PA)

Germany are truly one of the superpowers in world football.

They have been World Cup winners on four occasions, runners-up four times and had four third-place finishes.

They have won the European Championship three times and have also been runners-up on three occasions.

Germany have taken part at every World Cup since 1954 and every European Championship since 1972.

They last won the European Championship in 1996 when they beat Czech Republic 2-1 in the final at Wembley.

Scotland’s record against Germany

Germany won the last competitive meeting
Germany won the last competitive meeting (Danny Lawson/PA)

On the face of it, Scotland’s record against the Germans is not too bad – winning four and drawing five of their 17 meetings.

However, Scotland have never beaten them in a competitive game.

In tournament finals, Germany won the 1986 World Cup encounter 2-1 and recorded a 1-0 win at Euro 92.

Scotland’s last victory in the fixture was in 1999 when Don Hutchison, earning his second cap, scored the winner in a 1-0 friendly win in Bremen.

The most recent meeting between the sides was in September 2015 when Germany won 3-2 in a European Championship qualifier at Hampden.

Grant Hanley and James Forrest remain from the Scotland squad while Germany had Neuer, Kroos, Muller and Gundogan in their line-up. Muller scored twice and Gundogan got the winner.