The top two teams in the world rankings go head-to-head for the first time in nearly four years as preparations for the 2018 World Cup continue.

By 90Min
March 26, 2018

Germany host Brazil in a hotly-anticipated friendly as the two nations gear up for their last game before World Cup preparations begin in earnest for this summer's showcase.

The top two ranked teams in the world in FIFA's latest rankings, holders Germany will have a stern test against Brazil, who will look to exorcise some demons from their home World Cup four years ago.

The last time these two sides met was the 2014 semi final in Belo Horizonte, where Joachim Low's men crushed the Selecao hopes of a victory on home soil by dismantling the hosts 7-1, in the five time World Cup winners' joint-heaviest ever defeat.


Classic Encounter

Prior to the 2014 annihilation, Brazil and Germany hadn't met at a summer tournament for 12 years, since the final itself in 2002. Back then, the Selecao could call on the talents of Ronaldo, Roberto Carlos and Ronaldinho in a formidable front three, whereas the Germans boasted record World Cup goalscorer Miroslav Klose and Michael Ballack in their ranks.

Ballack, having picked up a yellow card in the semifinal, was suspended for the game, to the dismay of manager Rudi Voller.

Brazil controlled the first half, with Ronaldo having several chances through on goal only to be denied by Oliver Kahn. Germany nearly took the lead minutes after the restart, when a speculative Oliver Neuville free kick was brilliantly tipped onto the post by goalkeeper Marcos.

The German resistance was broken in the 67th minute, when Ronaldo capitalized on a rebound from a Rivaldo shot to slot into the corner and give the 1998 runners up the lead. The then-Inter striker took the game away with a brilliant second goal 12 minutes later, turning Gerald Asamoah and powering past Kahn from the edge of the box.

Brazil held on for a record fifth World Cup, with the demons of 1998 banished for Ronaldo after his mysterious collapse hours before the final that year.


Recent Form

Germany qualified for this summer with a perfect ten wins out of ten in qualifying, becoming only the second team in history to do so, scoring 43 goals along the way.

Die Mannschaft won last summer's Confederations Cup and seem well placed to go far in Russia and have a solid chance of defending their title.

Brazil have recovered from the abject failure of 2014, with manager Tite masterminding a successful qualifying campaign, finishing ten points clear of second-placed Uruguay to top the CONMEBOL standings.

The Selecao beat Russia 3-0 on Friday, scoring three goals in 13 minutes to dismantle the World Cup hosts away from home.


Team News

Joachim Low is expected to rotate, with players who didn't start Friday's draw with Spain likely to be given a run out in Berlin. Sebastian Rudy has replaced Sami Khedira, who picked up a knock against Spain. Mesut Ozil and Thomas Muller have left the squad after starting against Spain.

Brazil remain without Neymar, who faces a race to be fit for the summer after his recent foot injury.

Roberto Firmino should feature in Berlin, with the Liverpool striker in fine form this season.

Predicted Germany Lineup: Leno; Kimmich, Boateng, Sule, Plattenhardt; Gundogan, Kroos; Brandt, Goretzka, Sane; Wagner.

Predicted Brazil Lineup: Ederson; Dani Alves, Thiago Silva, Marquinhos, Marcelo; Renato Augusto, Casemiro, Paulinho; Coutinho, Firmino, Willian. 


Prediction

This should be a good judge of character for Brazil's World Cup hopes, assessing whether they have the ability to overcome their 7-1 defeat in 2014 and take out the reigning champions.

However, home advantage should favor the Germans and Joachim Low's men should record a narrow victory, with the pace of Leroy Sane and Julian Brandt a struggle for the aging Dani Alves.

Prediction: Germany 2-1 Brazil

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