Football Tips

EURO 2022 Tips: Germany to edge out local rivals

Irene Fuhrmann's Austria can be awkward opponents

"Austria only gave up nine shots on target across three group games. Germany will have to work hard for their chances."

Neighbours Germany and Austria have been impressive in different ways at EURO 2022, and Kevin Hatchard believes they'll produce a tight encounter in Brentford...

Germany v Austria
Thursday 21 July, 20:00
Live on BBC

Germany have answered pre-tournament questions

The European Championship has been dominated down the years by Germany, but going into this year's tournament, expectation levels weren't perhaps as high as usual. A squad with plenty of youngsters had been shorn of two long-serving stars in Melanie Leupolz and Dzsenifer Marozsan, and the team had fallen in the last eight of the previous two major competitions.

However, Martina Voss-Tecklenburg's players have answered every question in resounding fashion. 2017 finalists Denmark were crushed 4-0 (it could have been six or seven), Spain were bashed, bullied and bamboozled in a 2-0 win, and Finland were swept aside 3-0. Germany have looked strong physically, mentally and tactically.

Having missed the Euros through injury in 2013 and 2017, skipper Alexandra Popp has been making up for lost time, scoring in all three group games. Popp has given Germany a real focal point in attack, and the Wolfsburg striker is a threat in the air and on the ground. Now that Bayern forward Lea Schüller is back in training after COVID-19, Voss-Tecklenburg has an embarrassment of riches in attack. Given that she has only recently starting testing negative, it seems unlikely that Schüller will start.

At the other end, goalkeeper Merle Frohms has been quietly superb, making the spectacular look routine, and centre-back Marina Hegering has marshalled the back-line really well. There is depth and competition in midfield, and the likes of Klara Bühl and Svenja Huth provide attacking thrust and work-rate in wide areas.

Midfield enforcer Lena Oberdorf and left-back Felicitas Rauch are both back after they were suspended for the win over Finland.

Austria in the last eight on merit

Many people put England's nervy 1-0 win over Austria down to opening-night jitters, a home team desperate to impress who found the glare of the spotlight all a little unsettling. I think that does Austria a big disservice, as they played their part in a competitive game. Since that opener, Austria have beaten Northern Ireland 2-0 and produced a thoroughly deserved 1-0 success against a Norway side that has some of the best forwards in the world.

Coach Irene Fuhrmann deserves credit for organising the side incredibly well. They only allowed England five shots on target, the number was only two against NI, and they only gave up a further two against Norway. When goalkeeper Manuela Zinsberger has been called into action, she has been able to rise to the occasion with some fine saves.

In attack, Hoffenheim striker Nicole Billa is the focal point. She excelled last season in the Frauen Bundesliga (she netted 12 goals), and she headed home the winning goal against Norway. She is 4.57/2 to score at any time, and 3.55/2 to score or assist.

Sarah Puntigam racked up two assists against Northern Ireland (she is a hefty 8.0 to get an assist here], while the experienced Laura Feiersinger and Sarah Zadrazil can burst forward from midfield if the opportunity arises.

Germany to make the semis, but it'll be hard work

Austria have won nine of their last 11 games, with England and Denmark the only sides to beat them in that stretch, and those two defeats were by just one goal. Austria will look to reduce the number of counter-attacking opportunities Germany have, and they have shown they aren't overawed at this level.

Germany's power and attacking quality should show through in the end, but it might take a while to break down this determined and dogged Austria side. You can use the Sportsbook's Bet Builder to back Germany to win and Under 3.5 Goals at evens.

If you want to purely focus on goals, I think Under 2.5 Goals is overpriced here at 2.3211/8. Austria's three games so far have featured a total of just four goals, and I can't see them playing on the front foot here.

Brilliant Bühl poses a threat

For all the talk about the danger posed by Popp and Schüller, I'm a massive fan of Bayern's Klara Bühl. The 21-year-old scored the opener against Spain, and she has looked really lively and focused in the group stage. Bühl was involved in ten goals in 18 Frauen Bundesliga games last season, and I'll back to get a goal or an assist here on the Sportsbook at 1.834/5.

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