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German speedster can punish weakened hosts

International friendly
ITV, 8pm Friday


Gareth Southgate insists there is no club versus country row to worry about but his England squad has been decimated by withdrawals that will make life tough for the Three Lions against Germany at Wembley.

It looked a difficult fixture anyway against the world champions, and taking them on without Harry Kane, Dele Alli, Raheem Sterling and Jordan Henderson has made that task even harder, with Southgate set to hand Ruben Loftus-Cheek a debut cap.

Danny Drinkwater refused a call-up which adds fuel to the fire that players would rather concentrate on club affairs, and England don't appear to have the depth to cope without the likes of Kane, Alli and Sterling.

Alli and Sterling have struggled to reproduce their best club form at international level anyway whereas Kane is absolutely fundamental.

Kane scored in the 1-0 wins over Slovenia and Lithuania last month and the Tottenham man hit doubles against France and Malta as well as a last-gasp equaliser in Scotland.

There is an abundance of pace in attack, which could feature a combination of Jamie Vardy, Marcus Rashford and Tammy Abraham, although that cannot compensate for a lack of guile.

Harry Winks, another withdrawal, has gone from the fringes of the Tottenham team to odds-on for a World Cup spot in a matter of months, highlighting a weakness in midfield, and late call-ups for Jake Livermore and Jack Cork would seem to underline that issue.

If Germany could be trusted to take the match seriously then odds-against quotes would be worth snapping up.

There is so much depth to the German squad, and since their World Cup success they have added the Confederations Cup trophy with a B team while their young reserves also won the European Under-21 Championship against some stellar opponents.

However, since June 2013, Germany have played 21 international friendlies and won only eight, although two of those victories for Joachim Low's side came against England by a 1-0 scoreline.

The Germans have lost to USA twice, conceded four to Argentina and three to Slovakia, while England came from 2-0 down to beat them in March 2016.

Low has refused to say whether he will use a three or four-man defence and gave few clues as to his starting 11 but Timo Werner may be the men to follow if he starts.

The speedy Werner, who has scored six times in eight international appearances, is a regular goalscorer for Leipzig and seems favourite to get the nod come next summer's World Cup.

Werner has scored 27 times in 40 league outings for Leipzig and could enhance his growing reputation at Wembley.

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Match in Focus

17:00 TODAY BT S

FK Qarabag v Chelsea

Home Win Draw Away Win
Key stats
  • Chelsea have won their last three league matches to nil
Expert verdict
A victory for Chelsea would secure their place in the Champions League knockout stages but Qarabag have showed how dogged they can be on home soil and punters should expect a tight, low-scoring affar. Chelsea ran riot in a 6-0 thumping when Qarabag travelled to Stamford Bridge but an early goal saw the floodgates open and the Azerbaijani hosts should deliver a more disciplined performance on their own patch.