- Germany face France for a place in the final of EURO 2016.
- Germany undefeated in tournament matches against the hosts in 50 years.
- Joachim Löw's side beat France in a World Cup quarter-final only two years ago.
They are the reigning world champions and have not lost to the hosts at a major tournament in half a century, but those are not the only things in Germany’s favour heading into Thursday’s UEFA EURO 2016 semi-final with France in Marseille (kick-off 21:00CEST/19:00GMT).
We present five reasons why Joachim Löw’s band of Bundesliga brothers will prevail…
1) A better tournament record
The two sides have never met at a European Championship, and while France won their first FIFA World Cup meeting in the 1958 third-place play-off, Germany have dominated since. Die Nationalmannschaft won through on penalties in the 1982 semi-final and by a 2-0 scoreline at the same stage four years later, before edging past Les Bleus in the quarter-finals in 2014 courtesy of a Mats Hummels header.
2) Big-game pedigree, imperious form
As well as that victory in the Maracana two years ago, Germany have momentum on their side. They are unbeaten in their last seven quarter-finals at World Cups or European Championships, last losing to Croatia in Lyon at World Cup '98. Furthermore, they have scored in each of their last seven semi-finals, losing just two (to Italy in 2012 and the Netherlands in 1988). They have also lost just one of their last 17 tournament games, winning 14.
3) No fear of home nations
As aforementioned, Germany are unbeaten in their last nine tournament matches against host nations, winning seven. Their last defeat to such an opponent was way back in the 1966 World Cup final against England, and even that was in extra time.
4) The best defence
FC Bayern München’s Manuel Neuer set a new tournament record by going 557 minutes without conceding before Leonardo Bonucci’s penalty for Italy in the quarter-final found the back of the net. The spot-kick was the only goal Germany have conceded so far, while their opponents France have shipped four goals, including two against Iceland in the last eight.
5) Omens on Germany’s side
As kick-off approaches, the stars might well be aligning for the world champions. Nicola Rizzoli, referee on Thursday, is the same official that oversaw Germany’s 1-0 win over Argentina in the 2014 World Cup final, while the date of 7 July is a special one in Germany’s history. It was on that day, 42 years ago, that Paul Breitner and Gerd ‘Der Bomber’ Müller fired West Germany to World Cup glory against the Netherlands in Munich’s Olympiastadion.
'We’ve got Coman!'
Of course, with Bayern’s Kingsley Coman in their ranks, France are perfectly capable of winning the tie as well. With no fewer than six of his Bayern team-mates in the Germany squad, the 20-year-old will have no trouble psyching himself up.