Women's Euro 2022 predictions: Austria can make Germany work
Germany take on Austria at the Brentford Community Stadium tonight in the second Women's Euro 2022 quarter-final.
Eight-time European champions Germany advanced to the knockout stage as somewhat surprising winners of Group B, given pre-tournament favourites Spain were in their pool, while Austria also exceeded expectations to finish above Norway to clinch second in Group A.
In their final group game against Finland, who they beat 3-0, Germany had to play without suspended duo Felicitas Rauch and Lena Oberdorf but both should be available for this contest.
Key midfielder Lina Magull is also fighting to be fit, while star forward Lea Schuller is reportedly back in training after a bout of coronavirus, although a start may be beyond her.
For Austria, their main concern will be the availability of captain and crucial defender Viktoria Schnaderbeck, who is hoping to shake off a minor knee injury to again be involved.
Germany should come into this quarter-final contest in high spirits, having won each of their last four matches to nil while netting 16 goals in the process.
However, Austria have also shown they can keep things tight, having conceded only one goal in their three matches in Group A.
One player the Austrians will need to keep tabs on is veteran forward Alexandra Popp, who scored in each of Germany's three group assignments.
Coming into Euro 2022, not many viewed Germany as serious contenders to lift the trophy with the likes of England, Spain, France, Sweden and the Netherlands all expected to do better.
However, Martina Voss-Tecklenburg's side laid down a marker in their opening match of the tournament, thrashing Euro 2017 runners-up Denmark 4-0 and they have barely put a foot wrong since.
With a watertight defence and an attack which still managed to flourish in the absence of Schuller, Germany sank a talented Spain side 2-0 before rolling over Finland to finish top of the group with no goals conceded.
They are expected to see off Austria too but it could be a closer match than anticipated with both teams likely to know one another well with so many of the players facing each other in domestic competition.
On top of that, Austria have been pretty sturdy, limiting England to a 1-0 win in the tournament opener at Old Trafford earlier this month and Beth Mead's strike in that match was the only goal Irene Fuhrmann's team conceded in the group phase.
Austria should take confidence from the fact they shipped only once against the red-hot Lionesses, who subsequently battered Norway 8-0 and Northern Ireland 5-0.
They themselves went on to get the better of both of those sides to finish second in their section and reaching the semi-finals for the second consecutive European Championship is not beyond their reach.
Germany's class should ultimately prevail, however, with the likes of Klara Buhl and Popp having the quality to pry open Austria's stubborn defence — but expect a low-scoring game, potentially featuring three goals or fewer.
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!