Germany vs Belgium
13th December, Thursday, 16:45 IST
Kalinga Stadium, Bhubaneswar
The 3rd quarterfinal of the 2018 Hockey World Cup will be played between Germany and Belgium. Both the teams have had a splendid run so far and displayed some exhilarating hockey.
Germany won all three of their league matches in the pool of death (Pool D) — the first was a 1-0 win over Pakistan, the second an emphatic 4-1 victory against Netherlands, and the third a 5-3 triumph over Malaysia. These wins helped them secure 9 points and they finished the toppers in Pool D, thereby getting a direct ticket to the quarterfinals.
Marco Miltkau, Timm Herzbruch, Lukas Windfeder, Christopher Rühr, Mathias Müller, and skipper Martin Häner are some of the key players in the German squad whom the Red Lions will need to be wary of.
Stefan Kermas will be happy about how his boys have performed, especially in the comeback win against the Dutch. He will hope his side can make it 4 wins in 4.
Belgium, on the other hand, have had a delightful run themselves. The league stage yielded two wins and a draw, and they finished 2nd in Pool C, behind hosts India, on goal difference. After brushing aside the Canadian challenge in game 1, it was a hard fought 2-2 draw in game 2, and then an emphatic 5-1 win over South Africa in game 3.
The Red Lions faced Pakistan (3rd placed team of Pool D) in the crossover match. As expected from the World number 3 side, they went on to win the match 5-0 and were dominant against the Green Machines, thereby securing a place in the Top 8.
Shane McLeod could not have asked for more from his boys in the crossover match. They really came out all guns blazing and the match against the mighty Germans is sure to be an intense encounter.
Félix Denayer, captain Thomas Briels, Alexander Hendrickx, Sébastien Dockier, Tom Boon, Simon Gougnard, Loïck Luypaert, and Cédric Charlier have been the players which are firing well for Belgium and Germany should be wary of them.
Form Guide (most recent to oldest, pre-season):
Belgium: W W D W W (excellent form)
Germany: W W W W W (excellent form)
Head to Head (since 2013):
Won by Germany: 6
Won by Belgium: 5
Probable Starting XI:
Vincent Vanasch (Goalkeeper), Arthur van Doren, Loick Luypaert, Alexander Hendrickx, Simon Gougnard, Felix Denayer, Gauthier Boccard, Cedric Charlier, Thomas Briels, Florent van Aubel, Sebastien Dockier
Tobias Walter (Goalkeeper), Martin Haner, Lukas Windfeder, Mathias Muller, Tobias Hauke, Timm Herzbruch, Niklas Wellen, Mats Grambusch, Florian Fuchs, Christopher Ruhr, Marco Miltkau
My Dream XI
Goalkeeper: Vincent Vanasch
30-year-old Vincent Vanasch has a lot of experience playing for the senior team with over 200 caps to his name. The Belgian custodian will be a busy man under the helmet as The Red Lions get ready to square off against Germany, who have a lethal attacking unit.
Defence: Arthur Van Doren, Alexander Hendrickx, Martin Haner, Mathias Muller
Even though Arthur Van Doren is yet to find the back of the net himself, his contribution has been vital as he has been the architect of many of the goals Belgium have scored. His link up plays and one-twos with his teammates makes him a dangerous player. The 24-year-old also has impeccable passing skills and Germany will need to keep a close eye for him.
Alexander Hendrickx has become a vital cog in Belgium’s backline. The 25-year-old has proved himself to be a potent drag flicker. He has found the back of the net at least once in all the matches they have played so far, apart from the opening match against Canada. He scored an important goal in the 2-2 draw against the hosts. Hendrickx then scored an important brace against South Africa and also scored the opening goal in the crossover game against Pakistan. 3 out of the 4 goals he has scored have been from drag flicks off Penalty Corners. Loick Luypaert is also lethal with drag flicks and Germany cannot afford to give many PCs in the quarterfinal match as it is almost certain they will be made to pay in case they do.
The German captain Martin Haner, is all about discipline. The 30-year-old is the 2nd most senior and experienced player in the squad (after Tobias Hauke) and has over 200 caps to his name. He provides strength to the unit and controls his men by being vocal from the backline. His contribution has been tremendous in all of Germany’s 3 wins so far and he will be rearing to lead his team to the 4th.
Mathias Muller is another extremely important player for Germany. The 26-year-old scored an extremely important equalizing goal against Netherlands off an intricately worked variation from a Penalty Corner. He will have to bring out his best as The Red Lions also possess a lethal attacking unit.
Alternatives: Loick Luypaert/Lukas Windfeder in place of Mathias Muller.
Midfield: Timm Herzbruch, Simon Gougnard, Felix Denayer
Timm Herzbruch has been a delightful youngster bursting with energy and enthusiasm. The 21-year-old scored an important brace in the match against Malaysia and will be rearing to get on the scoresheet in the quarterfinal match against Belgium.
Simon Gougnard scored one goal each in the game against South Africa and India. The 27-year-old moves the ball around to great effect in the midfield. He can knit through balls and is a smooth operator for the Red Lions.
Felix Denayer is another experienced midfielder in the Belgian side. The 28-year-old has over 250 senior team caps and will hope to make his experience count against Germany. He scored an important goal in the opening match against Canada.
Alternatives: Niklas Wellen in place of Felix Denayer
Forward: Christopher Rühr, Thomas Briels, Marco Miltkau
Christopher Rühr has not only scored goals for Germany but also been the creator of a couple. The talented 24-year-old forward found the back of the net against Netherlands and also scored a stunning goal against Malaysia. The Belgian defenders will need to watch the talented German forward carefully as they cannot afford to allow him any space inside the circle.
Thomas Briels is a vital cog for the Red Lions. The captain has led from the front and ensured that Belgium play as a team. Many of the goals they have scored resulted from his vision and a move started by him. Briels has scored two important goals, the first one was in the league match against Canada and the second in the 5-0 win over Pakistan in the crossover match.
When in doubt pass the ball to Marco Miltkau. This has been the strategy of the German midfielders and it has paid off as the 28-year-old is in great nick. He has exceptional finishing ability and found the back of the net once in each of Germany’s three league matches.
Alternative: Sebastian Dockier/Tom Boon/Cedric Charlier/Florian Fuchs in place of Thomas Briels.
Must not pick: John-John Dohmen and Benedikt Furk as both are injured and have withdrawn from the tournament.
Captain: Alexander Hendrickx
Vice-captain: Christopher Ruhr/Arthur van Doren
Player to watch out for: Simon Gougnard
The 27-year-old Belgian midfielder will be in the thick of things against Germany. Keep a close eye on him as he brings out his best in big matches.