Scotland begin their Euro 2016 qualifying campaign with the toughest possible fixture as they travel to Dortmund to face world champions Germany.
Some things have changed since the hosts lifted football’s ultimate prize on July 13, with star names such as captain Phillipp Lahm and the World Cup’s all-time top scorer Miroslav Klose having announced their international retirement. However, manager Joachim Low remains fully motivated as he leads his country’s attempts to win the European Championships for the first time since 1996.
Low still has an amazing array of talent to pick from, with German football seeming to have a non-stop production line of quality youngsters. This campaign may provide the likes of Marco Reus, Christoph Kramer and Julian Draxler with the chance to become more prominent members of the side, particularly as they should qualify comfortably from Group D.
As for the Scots, they have not entered a qualifying campaign with so much optimism for a number of years. Continually frustrated in their attempts to reach a first major tournament since the 1998 World Cup, they now have the perfect opportunity, due to the expansion of the Euros to 24 teams.
With Germany expected to win the group, Gordon Strachan’s side will hope to beat Poland and the Republic of Ireland to second place, and if they can maintain the performance levels and results they have achieved since the former Southampton and Celtic boss took over, they would have a very good chance of doing so.
Bastian Schweinsteiger misses out for Germany, so Kramer or Mario Gotze could play alongside Toni Kroos in the midfield. Reus, along with Mario Gomez, return to the side after missing the World Cup.
The visitors will be captained by Darren Fletcher for the first time in nearly two years, but Russell Martin is a major doubt with a groin injury. Celtic youngster Callum McGregor and Wolverhampton Wanderers midfielder Kevin McDonald could be given their international debuts.
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