Germany v Slovakia preview: Mario Gomez set to lead Joachim Low's attack
Last Updated: 26/06/16 5:05pm
Mario Gomez is set to lead the line for Germany against Slovakia in their Euro 2016 last 16 knock-out match.
The 30-year-old striker scored the only goal as the 2014 World Cup winners beat a stoic Northern Ireland 1-0 in their final Group C match to set up a knockout clash with the side that shocked them 3-1 in a pre-tournament warm-up game.
Manager Joachim Low praised Gomez for his contribution last time out and is set to continue with him up top with Mario Gotze in behind on the left.
Asked if what the goal meant to him, Gomez, who missed out on Brazil 2014, said: "A lot. I am finally in my best form and know I am capable of finishing those chances we get.
"It's great when your work results in a goal, but once again I never thought for a second about winning the Golden Boot - I just want to win the Euro. That's all that matters to me."
Germany progressed into the last 16 after topping their group on goal difference. Slovakia meanwhile secured their place in the knockout stages as a best third-placed side following a 0-0 draw against England in their final Group B game.
Germany are sweating on Jerome Boateng being fit after the Bayern Munich defender suffered a calf injury during the win Northern Ireland.
"We hope that he makes it, but I'm not a prophet. We still have two training sessions, so a lot can happen," Germany's assistant coach Marcus Sorg said on Thursday.
For Slovakia, defenders Tomas Hubocan and Dusan Svento join midfielder Robert Mak in a race to be fit for the contest.
Germany have won seven of their 10 encounters with Slovakia (L3). However, their most recent fixture ended in a 3-1 victory for Slovakia last month.
Germany have won 13 of their last 16 games at major tournaments, drawing two and losing one.
Joachim Low's side has averaged 71.9% possession over their first three games, the highest ratio so far at Euro 2016.
Slovakia have only kept one clean sheet in seven games at major tournaments, in their last outing against England.
Paul Merson's prediction
Slovakia were absolutely atrocious against England, they brought nothing to the party. They beat Germany in a friendly before Euro 2016 so that will give them confidence, but the way Germany played against Northern Ireland it could have been any score.
Slovakia will try and play like they did against England and defend all match, but Germany are a better team than England and they will break them down. I think Germany will get better as the tournament goes on. They created a lot of chances against Northern Ireland and were a bit lucky against Poland, but they will improve.
PAUL PREDICTS: 2-0