Neither Germany nor Argentina have prospered since they met in the 2014 World Cup final, but our Bundesliga columnist Kevin Hatchard believes they'll put on a show in Dortmund.
"Germany have scored at least twice in seven of their last eight matches, but the recent defeat to the Netherlands showed they are still defensively suspect."
Germany v Argentina
Wednesday 09 October, 19:45
Live on Sky Sports
Loew must prove Germany can still hit the heights
There's a certain irony in Germany coach Jogi Loew facing the team against which he had his greatest moment as a coach, while he ponders how to bounce back from his lowest ebb. Mario Gotze's wonderful World Cup-winning strike against Argentina in the Maracana put Die Mannschaft on top of the world, but last year's trophy defence was an embarrassing debacle. Germany crashed out in the group stage in Russia, and they have travelled a bumpy road since.
Germany were relegated from the top tier of the Nations League (they have since been given a reprieve,) and just when it seemed as though they were turning their form around in the EURO 2020 qualifiers, they suffered a sobering 4-2 home defeat against their bitter old rivals the Netherlands. The performance in Hamburg was alarmingly reminiscent of the 1-0 defeat to Mexico which sparked their World Cup 2018 capitulation.
Long-serving Loew will now take every opportunity to show he's on the right track, and he has selected a strong squad. Bayern Munich's Serge Gnabry is fresh from having put four goals past Tottenham in the Champions League, goalkeeper Marc-Andre ter Stegen is getting a long-awaited and deserved chance to shine, while Niklas Sule is the defensive lynchpin now that Mats Hummels and Jerome Boateng have been forcibly retired by Loew. Real Madrid midfielder Toni Kroos won't be strutting his stuff in Dortmund, as he has withdrawn from the squad.
Germany have won four of their last five matches, including a 3-2 victory in the Netherlands. Traditionally they have struggled in friendlies under Loew, as he looks to experiment, but the recent record is strong. Germany have won three of their last four friendly matches.
Weakened Argentina are in transition
Having the backing of the great Lionel Messi means a lot, but his namesake Lionel Scaloni knows he needs more than the little genius's support to lift the Albiceleste to the top of the international tree. Argentina went out of the Copa America to their arch-rivals Brazil earlier this year, and Messi's frustration at not winning an international title with his country perhaps contributed to the outburst that landed him a three-month international ban. Scaloni has been given the job of rebuilding the side with the 2022 World Cup in mind, and it's fair to say it's a hire that isn't universally popular.
Messi is out of the squad, as are in-form PSG duo Angel Di Maria and Mauro Icardi. The involvement of River Plate and Boca Juniors in the semi-finals of the Copa Libertadores has ruled out a host of players. That's not to say there isn't quality available to Scaloni - Paulo Dybala arrives fresh from scoring a crucial goal for Juventus in their 2-1 win at title rivals Inter, while Lautaro Martinez scored for Inter in that game and netted in the Camp Nou against Barcelona.
Argentina have won eight of their last 12 friendlies, but they rarely face top opposition. Three of those games were against Mexico, and they faced Nicaragua, Venezuela (a game they lost) and Guatemala. Last year they were smashed 6-1 by Spain and lost 1-0 to Brazil, and their World Cup campaign was dreadful under Jorge Sampaoli. They squeezed through the group stage, and lost 4-3 to eventual winners France.
Even at odds-on, Germany are worth considering
Argentina are missing a host of key players, while Loew has essentially picked his strongest squad. Gnabry, Marko Reus and Timo Werner should make for a pacy and direct combination in attack, and the in-form youngster Luca Waldschmidt is an excellent alternative. Germany usually get excellent support in Dortmund, and after the shambles in Hamburg, Loew has to take this game seriously, while Scaloni is forced to experiment.
I'll back Germany to win here at [1.85].
Cavalier Germans to spark a show
Loew has seen his Germany side score at least twice in seven of their last eight matches, and eight of their last 11 games have featured at least three goals. The use of a back three and wing-backs is probably what suits his available players best going forward, but the system is by no means foolproof at the moment, and the Dutch shredded them in Hamburg.
I'll happily back Over 2.5 Goals here at [1.84].
Glorious Gnabry a great price to find the net
Given that he scored at Paderborn recently, and followed that up with four goals in the second half of Bayern's 7-2 demolition of Spurs, Serge Gnabry looks a good price to score here at [2.56]. I expect him to start the game, and his pace and directness should give the likes of Marcos Rojo and Nicolas Otamendi all manner of problems.
Back Over 2.5 Goals at [1.84]
Back Serge Gnabry to score at [2.56]