Germany v England preview: Jamie Vardy to start, Jermain Defoe set for return
By James Walker-Roberts
Last Updated: 22/03/17 7:55pm
Jermain Defoe could make his first international appearance in over three years when England face Germany in a friendly in Dortmund on Wednesday.
The 34-year-old has not played for the Three Lions since a 2-0 defeat to Chile in November 2013, but his form for Sunderland has earned him a recall to the squad.
The striker has scored 14 Premier League goals this season and is hopeful he could make the 2018 World Cup.
"I've always known how important it is to play for England from day one. When you've had that experience of going to major tournaments, it's something that you just crave," Defoe said.
"Being lucky enough to have experienced it, you just want it more and more. So for me, if I do get an opportunity to go to another major tournament, it'd be a dream."
Defoe is one of only three strikers in the England squad along Marcus Rashford and Jamie Vardy, with the Leicester forward starting in Dortmund, according to Sky sources.
Vardy was on the scoresheet when England last faced Germany in Berlin in March 2016, as the visitors came from 2-0 down to win 3-2.
England, who face Lithuania in a World Cup Qualifier on Sunday, are unbeaten since their shock Euro 2016 defeat to Iceland, and this will be Gareth Southgate's first match as permanent manager.
Lukas Podolski will captain Germany in his 130th and final appearance, as he bids farewell to international football.
"It's not easy to replace Podolski in the team. He is unique. He is one of the greatest players that Germany has produced," said Germany manager Joachim Low.
Former Arsenal forward Podolski has scored 48 international goals but is calling time on his Germany career as he prepares to move to Japanese side Vissel Kobe at the end of the season.
Arsenal playmaker Ozil and Paris Saint-Germain attacker Draxler have both reported hamstring problems, while Wolfsburg striker Gomez has a groin injury and Bayern Munich goalkeeper Neuer is out with a calf problem.
Germany-England combined XI
Ahead of England's friendly with Germany, Alan Smith picks his combined XI.
Uncapped PSG keeper Kevin Trapp has been called up as a replacement for Neuer.
For England, Vardy will be the central striker in a front three, with Adam Lallana and Dele Alli either side as Southgate is tipped to go with a 3-4-3 formation.
Burnley's highly-rated centre-back Michael Keane could also be handed his debut alongside Gary Cahill and Chris Smalling.
Manchester United defender Phil Jones was released from the England squad after suffering an injury in training on Tuesday.
Raheem Sterling missed the session as he is on his own personal recovery plan following Manchester City's 1-1 draw with Liverpool on Sunday, however there were no concerns surrounding him.
Michail Antonio withdrew at the weekend due to a hamstring injury.
Germany haven't lost back-to-back internationals against England since losing seven in a row between 1935 and 1966.
Germany have lost just one of 18 games in which they've played in Dortmund, losing to Italy in the 2006 World Cup (W15 D2).
England have lost only one of their last 16 away internationals, against Spain in November 2015 (W9 D6).
Germany have lost their last three home matches against England on home soil - 5-1 in 2001, 2-1 in 2008 and 3-2 in 2016. Each of those wins were masterminded by a different English manager (Eriksson, Capello, Hodgson).
England have failed to keep a clean sheet in each of their last seven games against Germany.
Joachim Low's side have gone 558 minutes without conceding an international goal. Antoine Griezmann was the last player to score past them in Euro 2016.
Charlie Nicholas' prediction
I'm a little bit confused by Gareth Southgate's squad selection, but I guess it's because of the lack of choices he's got.
You could make a case for Andy Carroll or Jack Wilshere to be in there, but James Ward-Prowse, really? I guess he wants to have a look at some players, but surely you have to make real a merit out of call ups rather than just handing them out.
I know Theo Walcott didn't play well at the weekend but he's got a decent goalscoring record compared to others in the squad and you don't just drop players because you know what they offer.
I'm interested to see what Southgate is going to do up front. I think he's got to play two up there because a lone striker is going to struggle to have any joy, even with Dele Alli in support.
I fear he'll play Jermain Defoe up front on his own because he's proved at Sunderland that he doesn't need to see a lot of the ball, but that's not fair on the lad, having to feed off scraps again for his country in his big chance.
It will be quite a difficult situation for the England strikers and it will be very hard work. It could be a night which will leave England fans wondering what direction they're going in under Southgate.
I think this will be pretty feisty and I'd expect plenty of bookings and Thomas Muller, who looks like he's back in the goals after a pretty poor season, to do the damage again.
Germany are Sky Bet's 3/4 favourites for the victory with England 18/5 shots, while the draw is priced at 11/4.
Both nations are odds-on to win their World Cup qualification groups but it is Germany who are considered 5/1 favourites to lift the trophy, with Gareth Southgate's men up against odds of 18/1.
Mario Gomez heads the first goalscorer betting at 7/2 in a market which offers few clues to England's best alternative to Harry Kane, with Jamie Vardy, Jermain Defoe and Marcus Rashford all 8/1 to net first.