Talking Tactics: Underdogs Austria out to upset unbeaten Germany
The Women's Euro 2022 quarter-final stage has thrown up a tantalising match-up as neighbours Germany and Austria face off in West London.
Die Nationalelf did not go into the tournament as favourites but nonetheless topped Group B in dominant fashion.
Austria, meanwhile, were unfancied to progress from a group that contained hosts England and star-studded Norway — but pipped the latter to second place.
We take a look at five key areas that could shape the encounter ahead of tonight's clash.
A dominant record
No other side has a relationship with the European Championship quite like the Germans.
There have been 12 previous editions of the tournament — and Germany have won eight of those, never losing a final.
Norway (two), Sweden and the Netherlands split the remaining four between them, demonstrating the scale of Die Nationalelf's dominance.
Germany's six-title streak was ended in 2017, where they were stopped at the quarter-final stage — a feat Austria will hope to repeat.
Group stage perfection
Germany displayed their credentials by winning all three of their group matches.
Martina Voss-Tecklenburg's outfit secured top spot with a game to spare, scoring nine times without conceding — host nation England are the only other side to have matched either of those feats.
A 4-0 drubbing of Denmark was followed by a 2-0 triumph over Spain, with a 3-0 victory against Finland rounding off their Group B campaign.
If the first three games are anything to go by, Germany should certainly be considered one of the favourites.
Top of the Popps
A great deal of Germany's success this summer can be attributed to their captain Alexandra Popp.
She has been in remarkable form, netting three times to rank as Euro 2022's joint second-highest scorer alongside Grace Geyoro and Alessia Russo — and just two behind Beth Mead.
But the 31-year-old is refusing to underestimate her side's quarter-final opponents, despite Die Nationalelf's impressive performances so far.
She said: "[Austria] have a strong team spirit and they run until their legs give out.
"You can feel the euphoria within the team. We definitely cannot underestimate them.
"We know several of their players from the Frauen-Bundesliga, but that means that they know us as well. That can be both a pro and a con."
Austria are building a reputation as a side that relishes their role of underdogs.
They surprised everyone to reach the semi-finals in 2017 and will hope to repeat that feat this year — regardless of Germany's undoubted quality.
Austria have already demonstrated an ability to mix it with the best by beating two-time winners Norway in their final group game to secure qualification in dramatic style.
But head coach Irene Fuhrmann is not getting carried away — and played down expectations ahead of this evening's encounter.
She said: "It's fantastic and hard to believe that we made it through such a strong group to reach the quarter-finals.
"We're very realistic about our next opponents. Germany have been playing very well. It will be tough."
A solid defence
Austria may not be able to boast three consecutive clean sheets like Germany or England — but conceding just once in three games is not a record to be sniffed at.
Fuhrmann's side shipped just one goal against a Lionesses outfit that went on to score a combined 13 times against Norway and Northern Ireland before keeping clean sheets in their next two outings.
Just three Group A goals points to a lack of potency in attack but Austria may have a chance of pulling off another upset if they can keep it tight at the back tonight.
LiveScore Bet Squads
Some of the biggest stars in women’s football are hunting for glory at Euro 2022 — and you can earn cash when they perform with Squads, our fantastic free-to-play game.
After opting in at LiveScore Bet, simply follow the prompts to reveal your randomly generated players for the upcoming round of games before spinning the wheel to see your personalised ‘reward amount’.
Once that is done, it is just a case of sitting back and cheering on your players — because every time a member of your Squad scores, you net a cash reward!
T&Cs apply. Click HERE for more information.