Euro 2024

Germany v Hungary: Wounded Magyars to show some fight

Hungary coach Marco Rossi
Marco Rossi has had a lot to think about since Hungary's defeat to Switzerland

While Germany won handsomely on opening night, Hungary froze in the headlights. However, Kevin Hatchard believes they can at least score against the hosts.

Germany v Hungary
Wednesday 19 June, 17:00
Live on BBC One

Hosts buzzing after perfect start

It's hard to see how Germany could have made a stronger start to Euro 2024. They demolished Scotland 5-1, they had five different scorers, and midfield orchestrator Toni Kroos completed all but one of his 102 passes. Many of Germany's hopes are pinned on rising stars Florian Wirtz and Jamal Musiala, and both sparkled in Munich.

Coach Julian Nagelsmann was so pleased by the display that he gave his players Saturday off, and there does seem to be a healthy amount of confidence in the camp. While it's true that Scotland underperformed in the tournament opener, Germany bamboozled them with their movement, and swarmed them consistently with their pressing.

It's all the more important that Germany started well when you consider how they have started recent major tournaments. In the 2018 World Cup they lost 1-0 to Mexico, at Euro 2020 they were beaten 1-0 by France, and in the World Cup in Qatar they suffered a clumsy 2-1 reverse against Japan.

Germany have now won four of their last five games, including friendly wins over France and the Netherlands, but Nagelsmann knows there are things to tighten up. Scotland failed to apply enough pressure on Kroos, and they didn't really try to make it difficult for the centre-backs to bring the ball out, so how will Die Mannschaft cope if a team does that to them?

It's also worth noting that it was yet another game where Germany failed to keep a clean sheet. They have now managed just two shut-outs in their last 15 games.

There are no fresh injury concerns, and Nagelsmann may stick with the same XI that started against Scotland, although Robert Andrich's over-zealous performance (he was booked and then hooked at HT) could see him lose his place to Brighton's Pascal Gross.

Hungary must respond after Swiss debacle

Hungary have been tipped by many to be dark horses in this competition, but they did a good job of torpedoing that reputation in their 3-1 defeat by Switzerland. The Magyars simply froze on the big day, conceding an early goal to Kwadwo Duah and then failing to respond until the second half. To their credit, Marco Rossi's men found their rhythm after the break, and skipper Dominik Szoboszlai produced an excellent cross for Barnabas Varga's goal, but more clumsy defending allowed Breel Embolo to wrap up the win late on.

The flat display came as a big surprise when you consider that Hungary have beaten England and Germany in the Nations League recently, and that they were unbeaten in qualifying. Coach Rossi was incensed by the performance, stating that his team was too passive, and that they made too many mistakes that the Swiss could exploit.

Anyone still clinging to the Hungarian cause should be slightly concerned by Rossi's assessment of this next game against the hosts. He dared anyone to back his team, described Germany as the biggest favourite to win the competition, and suggested it would be impossible to beat them. Unless Hungary pick up at least a point, they could find themselves out of Euro 2024 with a game to spare.

Right-sided wing-back Loic Nego and midfielder Callum Styles both missed the Switzerland game with injury, and it's not clear at time of writing whether they'll be able to return. Attila Fiola struggled against the Swiss, so even if Nego isn't fit, there could still be a change that sees Bendeguz Bolla drafted in.

Hosts still have defensive frailties

Even in a game where they completely dominated, Germany still didn't keep a clean sheet against Scotland, and I like the look of backing Both Teams To Score here at 2.186/5. Hungary have scored in 22 of their last 24 internationals, including their last 12. The last time they failed to score was back in June 2023.

Dangerous Dom can hit the target

There's no question that Liverpool midfielder Dominik Szoboszlai is his country's most influential player, something that is underlined by the fact he is captaining the team at a major tournament at the age of 23.

With Szoboszlai taking set plays and having the licence to shoot from range, I'm pleasantly surprised to see him trading at 11/102.11 to have a shot on target here. He scored four goals in Euro 2024 qualifying, and averaged 1.62 shots on target per 90.

If you want something a bit bigger, you could combine a Szoboszlai shot on target, a Jamal Musiala shot on target (the Bayern youngster scored a superb goal against Scotland) and a Kai Havertz foul (the Arsenal forward was of the Premier League's most persistent foulers last season). That gives you a combined price of nearly 3/14.00 on the Bet Builder.

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