Lining up your Fantasy Football dream team
Round five - It all comes down to this…
England vs Germany at Wembley - it doesn’t come much bigger than this. After two thrilling semi-finals and goals galore, it is set to be an epic battle between two heavy weights of the women’s game.
We have been treated to top notch football throughout the tournament, with some surprises, quality goals and record-breaking crowds. Throughout it all, you have kept on top of your fantasy football squad, tweaking and manoeuvring your players for maximum impact. And now, we are down to the final.
It’s a case of history versus stats. This is Germany’s ninth appearance in a European Championship final, meaning they’ve appeared in 69% of the total finals in the competition’s history (9/13). They’ve won all eight of their previous finals, including a 6-2 win against England in 2009.
England have won just two of their 27 meetings with Germany in all competitions and have lost more often against them than any other opponent (D4, L21). However, the Lionesses did win their last such meeting 3-1 in February this year and have scored the most goals out of any team in the tournament. They are 19 games unbeaten under manager Sarina Wiegman. They are also ahead of Germany in total attempts in this campaign. This is worth bearing in mind when choosing your teams. The question is, do you trust form or do you trust pedigree? We never said it would be easy!
Helpfully Starling Bank have given you a little more flexibility for the final game round, by adding a chunky £12 million into your budget pot for your last team of the tournament. You can now also select up to eight players from either team. Just make sure you make any changes before 17:00 GMT Sunday. Captain and super-sub are key in this round too, so don’t forget.
You would think this would be an easy choice with only two goalkeepers to pick from but both England and Germany have conceded only one goal this tournament, keeping four clean sheets. Mary Earps however has made ten saves to Merle Frohms’ seven and if you want to be really picky, the only goal Germany conceded this tournament was classed as an own goal. However Earps does come in as top keeper budget wise at £9.5m to Frohms’ £8.6m, so we would recommend the latter.
These teams are so close, that we need to drill down into the stats. Defensively, you’re choosing from two of the best teams in the tournament but when getting down to the numbers, there are more English defenders in the top 10 for ball recoveries than there are German. Those players are Leah Williamson (£8.2m), who’s marked as a midfielder, and Lucy Bronze (£9.1m). They also have two players in the top 10 for tackles made versus Germany’s one - Williamson and Bright (£8.4m) vs Hegering (£7.0m).
For us, this is where the game will be won or lost and perhaps, where both teams have their most underrated and key players. England’s Walsh (£8.3m), Stanway (£8.1m), and Kirby (£9.0m), versus Germany’s Oberdorf (£7.4m), Magull (£9.2m) and Däbritz (£7.5m) will be a tasty affair. More often than not, it’s the forwards that get all the plaudits but these players have been so key to their teams’ progression, pulling the strings in midfield.
Klara Bühl (£9.0m) and Jule Brand (£6.6m) have also played in midfield for the Germans, the former out with Covid-19 and the latter putting in a stellar performance against the French. While it may seem difficult to choose your players in this position, with such high quality on both sides, you’re pretty much guaranteed to pick up points.
It seems obvious but the two players we need to talk about are England’s Beth Mead and Germany’s Alexandra Popp who are fighting it out for the golden boot. Both players have scored six goals with the latter becoming the first player to score in five consecutive games in a European Championship. Does that give her the edge?
As expected with a final, everything comes down to fine margins. Budget wise, Mead sits above Popp on (£10.4m) with the German coming in at £9.6m, but if you’re looking to spend big on goal scorers, we can drill down a little further to help you make this decision. Mead tops the charts in terms of assists throughout all players in the tournament, with five, so if she’s not scoring she’s likely assisting and getting points for the team.
With England having used the same starting eleven for the last five matches and bringing on similar subs throughout, it will help you pick some more moderate, supporting players. England’s youth have regularly made their mark, whether it’s starter Lauren Hemp tearing down the wing or up front substitutes Alessia Russo (£8.9m) and Chloe Kelly (£7.3m) coming on to change the game, you’re pretty much guaranteed to pick up some points with these players. Germany however have relied a little more on wider members of the squad to net goals, along with Popp.
This game is probably the most difficult to call out of the last three weeks, but one thing we do know is that it’s going to be a memorable, epic clash. With so much talent on display, you pretty much can’t go wrong with your choices.