After the false start against Mexico, Joachim Löw’s team find themselves under pressure. On Saturday at 20:00 CEST, the decisive game against Sweden kicks off in Sochi. The German record against the Scandinavians is encouraging. has all the pre-match facts.
THE DIRECT COMPARISON: In twelve competitive games against Sweden, Germany have only recorded one defeat (eight wins and three draws). In total, the teams have faced one another 36 times and the current record is 15 wins for Germany, twelve for Sweden with nine stalemates. The goal ratio stands at 70:60 for Germany. In four World Cup encounters, the DFB outfit has won three times, once falling short 3-1 in the 1958 semi-final (the goal ratio is 9:6 to Germany).
ANCIENT HISTORY: The most recent defeat to Sweden came forty years ago. On 19th April 1978, Die Mannschaft were defeated 3-1 in a friendly in Solna. Rainer Bonhof put Germany in the lead, but a Rolf Rüssmann own goal and a brace from Lennart Larsson sealed Sweden’s last victory in the fixture. Since that fateful day, Germany has notched six wins and five draws.
GOALS GALORE: Both the last two affairs between the sides have been riddled with goals: eight in each World Cup qualifier to be precise. In Berlin, the score was 4-4 and in 5-3 in Solna to Die Mannschaft.
GERMANS RARELY KEPT AT BAY: Since 1974, they have scored in 13 of 14 games against Sweden with 33 goals in total (2.4/game on average). Their encounter in November 2010 in Solna was the only goalless affair.
THE FIRST WC DUEL: The teams played each other for the first time in the 1934 tournament in Italy. Germany won 2-1 in the quarter final in Milan thanks to a Karl Hohmann double, whilst Gösta Dunker netted for the Swedes.
DOUBLY DANGEROUS: The most recent WC duel between the sides was at the home World Cup in 2006. Lukas Podolski scored a brace in Munich after twelve minutes to send Germany through to the quarter finals. Sweden’s Teddy Lucic received a second yellow after 35 minutes before Hendrik Larsson launched a penalty into the heavens.
MEMORABLE 4-4 IN BERLIN: On 16th October 2012, Germany and Sweden met in Berlin during qualification for the 2014 World Cup. Germany led 4-0 after 55 minutes with goals from Miroslav Klose (two), Per Mertesacker and Mesut Özil , but Sweden pulled back all four thanks to strikes from Zlatan Ibrahimovic, Mikael Lustig, Johan Elmander and Rasmus Elm. It was the first time in their history that Germany had squandered a 4-0 lead.
50th COMPETITIVE DEFEAT: In their opening game of the World Cup 2018, Germany fell 1-0 to Mexico. Hirving Lozano scored the winner in the 35th minute. It was just the second time the Germans have lost to “El Tri” in twelve contests. The only previous Mexican win came in June 1985 in a friendly in Mexico City (2-0). The 1-0 result in Moscow marked the DFB’s 50th competitive defeat.
FIRST WORLD CUP LOSS SINCE 2010: After a run of eight games unbeaten in World Cups (seven wins, one draw), Mexico toppled the team, which hadn’t been beaten in the tournament since the 1-0 semi final defeat to Spain in 2010.
RARE MISFIRE: It is only the second time Germany have lost their opening game in a World Cup. The first time was a 2-1 defeat to Algeria at Spain 1982. Otherwise, Germany have started their campaigns with 13 wins and four draws. However, in 1982 Die Mannschaft did make it all the way to the final, falling at the last hurdle with a 3-1 loss to Italy.
SPAIN GIVES A GLIMMER OF HOPE: Germany are the sixth World Champions to have lost their opening game in the following campaign. The previous outfits have been Argentina (1982, 1990), Italy (1950), France (2002) and finally Spain (2014). The Spaniards give Germany a bit of hope, however: their 2010 side was only team to have won the World Cup after losing their first match (1-0 to Switzerland). What’s more, Germany is the only team to have won the tournament twice after losing a game (1954, 1974). Spain and Argentina have both achieved the feat once.
TRIGGER-HAPPY: The Germans had 26 efforts on goal against Mexico, whilst the victors managed only half that (13). Only Portugal have managed more shots without a goal in a World Cup game (29 in the 0-0 draw with England in 2006).
ILLUSTRIOUS CIRCLE: Thomas Müller, Sami Khedira and Mesut Özil could score in their third World Cup and join an illustrious group in German football. Only Uwe Seeler (1958 to 1970) and Miroslav Klose (2002 to 2014) have netted in more World Cups for Germany (four). Rudi Völler, Karl-Heinz Rummenigge, Lothar Matthäus and Jürgen Klinsmann have got their name on the scoresheet in three for Germany.
The Swedish opposition
GRANQVIST SPARKS BLUE-AND-YELLOW CELEBRATIONS: Sweden got their campaign underway on Monday with a 1-0 win over South Korea. Andreas Granqvist scored the winner from the penalty spot in the 65th minute. It was the first goal scored by the nation at the World Cup since Henrik Larsson’s goal in 2006 against England.
OPENING GROUP WIN FOR FIRST TIME IN 60 YEARS: Sweden got off to a winning start at a World Cup for the first time since they hosted the tournament in 1958, when they recorded a 3-0 win over Mexico. Five draws and two defeats had followed since.
WINNING COACH: Sweden’s coach has been Janne Andersson since July 2016. Andersson spent most of his career with hometown lower-league club Halmstad. As a coach, he has only ever taken charge of Swedish clubs, including women’s and youth teams. He enjoyed success at Halmstads (2004 to 2009) and IFK Norrköping (2011 to 2016) in particular, even winning the Allsvenskan (Swedish Premier League) in 2015.
HOME WORLD CUP FINAL: Sweden’s biggest success at the World Cup was at their home tournament in 1958. A team containing Liedholm, Gren and Kurt Hamrin reached the final, where they were defeated by Brazil and a 17-year-old Pele. It remains their best ever result at a World Cup.
NEARLY 100: The Swedish FA (SvFF Svenska Fotbollförbundet) was founded in 1904, and the nation played its first competitive game on July 12 1908 – almost 100 years ago. The match in Gothenburg saw Sweden beat neighbours Norway 11-3.
RECORD BREAKERS: Sweden’s record appearance holder is Anders Svensson, who played 148 times between 1999 and 2013. Record goalscorer is Zlatan Ibrahimovic, who found the net 62 times in 116 caps between 2001 and 2016. Zlaten retired from international duty after being eliminated from EURO 2016.
FAMIILAR BUNDESLIGA FACES: Ludwig Augustinsson of Werder Bremen, Albin Ekdal of Hamburger SV and Emil Forsberg of RB Leipzig are all in the Sweden squad. Former HSV player Marcus Berg (now with Al Ain) is also in the ranks.
FOREIGN MIXTURE: No player in the Sweden squad currently plies their trade in Sweden. Five players last season were in England or Wales and four played in Serie A, while Ligue 1 and the Bundesliga account for three more players each.
THE "FISHT": The Sochi Olympic Stadium was opened in 2013 in preparation for the 2014 Winter Olympic Games. The arena is known as the 'Fisht', named after a nearby peak in the Causasus Mountains. Designed and built for the opening and closing ceremonies of the Olympics, the stadium can hold 47,659 as a footballing venue. It has also served as a training base for the Russian national team. The stadium becomes the second, along with the Olympic Stadium in Turin, to host a Winter Olympic Games and a World Cup match.
HAPPY MEMORIES: Germany played their opening Confed Cup game in the stadium last summer, triumphing 3-2 over Australia. They went on to beat Cameroon in the final group game 3-1 and then overcame Mexico 4-1 in the semi-finals. They have scored a total of 10 goals in three games in the arena.
RUSSIAN RIVIERA: Sochi sits on the Krasnodar region on the Black Sea and is known as the Russian Riviera. Around 340,000 people live in the ‘longest city in Russia’, which spans 150km along the Black Sea coast. The Georgian border is only 30km from the city centre, while Moscow is 1,600km away – about two hours by plane.