After a fortnight away, Kevin Hatchard’s back in search of profit, and he’s taking us to North Macedonia to see if Germany can extend their winning streak.
“Germany have a clear structure, and Flick has brought his thrilling style with and without the ball, but it might take a while to break down a North Macedonia side that will look to stay compact and hit on the counter.”
Die Mannschaft closing in on Qatar
North Macedonia v Germany
Monday 11 October, 19:45
Live on Sky Sports Football
It’s always nice when a bet comes off nice and early, and Tobias’s BTTS wager landed inside 16 minutes in Spain yesterday, as Fuenlabrada edged out Leganes 2-1. TG has earned himself a lovely siesta, while we get the map out and plot our next few days of football travel.
The first pin in the map is on Skopje, the capital of North Macedonia. The hosts are taking on mighty Germany in the World Cup qualifiers, having beaten the 2014 champions 2-1 in the reverse fixture. Germany have since changed coaches, with Hansi Flick replacing the long-serving Jogi Löw, and they have won every game since.
Flick’s side came from behind to beat Romania 2-1 on Friday, as supersub Thomas Müller grabbed a late winner. It was a pleasing display of determination from Flick’s point of view, digging out maximum points after a superb individual goal from Ianis Hagi had put them behind. There is a clear shape and structure in Flick’s team, and there is competition for places in all areas. Bayern duo Leroy Sane and Serge Gnabry look fit and sharp, while Müller’s knowhow and competitive edge makes him a welcome weapon in the arsenal.
Since their excellent win in Duisburg and their respectable yet ultimately fruitless efforts at EURO 2020, North Macedonia have lost talismanic striker Goran Pandev, and they are unlikely to go hell for leather here. A point would keep them very much in the race for the playoff spot, so expect a 4-4-2 and a low block to be deployed by coach Blagoja Milevski.
North Macedonia drew 0-0 at home with both Romania and Armenia in September, and they will dig in and look for another clean sheet here. Germany have the quality and the form to grab another win, but it might take them a while to break the hosts down. I like the look of backing Germany to win and Under 3.5 Goals at 11/10 on the Sportsbook. That bet has landed in two of Flick’s four games in charge, and even though there is a chance his side will blow North Macedonia away, I think there might be a certain amount of easing off if Germany are in a comfortable position in the second half.