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England have been handed a potential major boost ahead of their Euro 2020 round-of-16 clash with Germany this evening.
The two nations will meet for a place in the quarter-final, having last met at the 1996 European Championships when now Three Lions boss Gareth Southgate missed a crucial penalty in a semi-final at the old Wembley, sending Germany through to ultimately win the tournament.
Southgate’s team selection has been hotly debated, with reports emerging on Monday evening that England will revert to a 3-4-3 formation in order to match Die Mannschaft’s shape, who may have to make a number of enforced changes themselves at Wembley.
Manager Joachim Low could be without a trio of players who started all three of Germany’s ‘Group of Death’ matches as the Germans finished second with a mixed record.
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Manchester City ’s Ilkay Gundogan, Chelsea ’s Antonio Rudiger and left wing-back Robin Gosens are all doubts for the crunch encounter.
Gundogan has partnered Toni Kroos at the heart of midfield so far in the tournament, while Rudiger has been part of a hit-and-miss back three.
Gosens starred in Low’s side’s epic 4-2 win over Portugal on matchday two, netting a goal and laying on an assist from wing-back after they lost 1-0 to France in their opening group game.
On Gundogan, the World Cup-winning gaffer explained via Sky Sports News : "Well Ilkay, he suffered this cranial bruise and before he still felt a little bit dizzy, especially in training, so we said, 'OK, we have to stop his load', and for today he did a good job of 13 minutes so we have to decide about tomorrow.
“Ilkay couldn't participate in the whole team training, but this was discussed and agreed on before."
Low has some issues ahead of what could be his final match in charge of Germany
Also on Monday, Low added regarding Rudiger and Atalanta’s Gosens: "About the other two they had caught a cold, symptoms of a cold, they haven't felt so well, not powerful and so we took some blood samples and there are low infections, small infections.
"Maybe it gets better in one day, maybe they get up tomorrow and feel well already but maybe, on the other hand, it can get worse overnight so we have to wait until tomorrow,” he admitted.
"I don't know if these players will be at [our] disposal, I can't say it yet, but we will have other solutions."
Those solutions could come in the form of Bayern Munich pair Niklas Sule, a centre-back, and Leon Goretzka, a powerful midfielder, as well as RB Leipzig wing-back Marcel Halstenburg.
How will tonight's match go? Comment your score prediction below.
It may well prove to be Low’s final match after 15 years in charge of his national team tonight, with former assistant Hansi Flick poised to take over next following a trophy-laden stint as Bayern boss.
Having been crowned world champions in 2014, Germany’s shock group stage exit four years later in Russia was undoubtedly the 61-year-old's lowest ebb, so he'll be keen to go out on a high.
Low has already managed a Die Mannschaft team to victory over England at a major tournament, beating the Three Lions 4-1 in South Africa in the 2010 World Cup's round-of-16.
Thomas Muller scored twice that day in Bloemfontein – when Frank Lampard was denied that goal – and is available this evening after missing their final Group F game, a shock 2-2 draw with Hungary in Munich.
Ahead of the grudge match, in which no travelling supporters from abroad will be permitted to attend, Low said: 'Well I think that all the matches that have taken place between England and Germany, you talk about them for years afterwards.
"This is a match that electrifies everybody, for both teams it is in and out, now or never a winner and a loser, one team goes home,” he stated.
“There is a lot at stake, what I feel is that we are highly motivated, all the players are.”
On the prospect of the tie possibly being his final affair, Low revealed: I thought about it for two seconds, but to be honest I don't think about it, I have so many other thoughts in my head at the moment.
"There is great anticipation, joy. This is why you become a coach, you have passion to compete in matches tomorrow night,” Low rallied.
“My whole focus is on the match tomorrow night and hope we will succeed."
As if the flames didn't need fanning enough, the news of Germany being unable to train at Wembley ahead of the encounter reportedly left members of the Die Mannschaft camp seething over the weekend.
The winner will face either Sweden or Ukraine, who play at Hampden Park later tonight, at the Stadio Olimpico in Rome on Saturday.