Germany v Portugal preview: Stage set for former United star

Cristiano Ronaldo Portugal

Per Mertesacker, Lukas Podolski and Mesut Ozil will all be looking to play some part in Germany's mouth-watering clash against a Cristiano Ronaldo-leg Portugal.

To be played on Monday 16th June 2014 at 17:00. Venue: Arena Fonte Nova, Salvador.

Odds: Germany 10/11, Draw 5/2, Portugal 16/5

Preview & injury news

Portugal are waiting on news whether talisman Cristiano Ronaldo will be fit and available to play. The FIFA Ballon d'Or winnger has been struggling with a knee problem over the last weeks and has recently missed training sessions for his country. Despite that, it is expected that he will start for his nation, who will be looking at him to provide their true attacking threat.

On the other hand, Germany have also received positive injury news after Bayern Munich duo Manuel Neuer and Bastian Schweinsteiger have both been declared fit to play.

Neuer missed Germany's last two warm-up games through a shoulder injury, but he was able to return to full training on Wednesday and is expected to start in goal. Schweinsteiger suffered a foot injury in training, but is expected to play in Joachim Low's midfield.

This clash of two European giants is likely to be one that defines Group G, although Ghana and the USA will feel otherwise. Both teams will have serious aspirations of going far in this tournament and will be looking at this game to start their campaign with a win.

Portugal will be hoping for former Manchester United star Ronaldo to perform to his best; if he does, then he could cause any defence in the world problems. However, if Germany manage to keep him quiet, then they will look to use their superiority in midfield and get off to a winning start.

Key stats

1) Since 1990, Germany have won every one of their opening matches in the World Cup.

2) Cristiano Ronaldo has took 48 shots in the World Cup so far in his career, scoring just two goals.  

3) This will be Germany's 100th match in a World Cup, more than any other nation. 

Five players to watch

Bastian Schweinsteiger - The Bayern midfielder will look to control the ball and tempo of the match for Germany. He has great experience of playing in big matches and winning them, and will look to use that to his country's advantage in this match.

Crsitano Ronaldo - Portugal's best player by a distance. Everyone knows his class, but not many know how to stop him. If he is fit enough to play to his best ability, then he could carry Portugal's hopes of winning the trophy on his own, starting on Monday.

Philipp Lahm - The Germany captain has proved his versatility in recent months by playing as a defensive midfielder for Pep Guardiola's Bayern. However, he is expected to return to his full-back role against Portugal and it will be up to him to keep Ronaldo quiet. 

Joao Moutinho - The Monaco creative midfielder is Portugal's playmaker, It is his responsibility to feed Ronaldo and ensure Portugal dominate possession and territory. If he doesn't control midfield, then Portugal can easily go missing.

Mesut Ozil - Arsenal's most expensive player had a superb World Cup in 2010, when he burst onto the scene with his pace on the counter-attack. He will be hoping to carry that form in Brazil and is integral to Germany's forward play in providing Miroslav Klose with chances. If he can do that, then Germany can be unstoppable.

Last time they met

Germany 1 Portugal 0, Euro Championships - June 2012

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