England vs Germany – A Battle Between Historic Rivals or Just Another Friendly?

Football fans will be glued to their television screens this weekend, as England takes on Germany at Berlin’s Olympic Stadium.

With less than three months to go before Euro 2016, this friendly will give Roy Hodgson’s boys a chance to show supporters what they’re capable of – and it’s also the perfect opportunity for them to settle an old score or two.

For some football fans, whether a match between England and Germany is crucial to a tournament’s results or just a friendly tie, the results are still a matter of national pride. But is this long-held rivalry important – and did it ever even exist at all?

Double Trouble – The Most Recent England vs Germany Ties

The last time the two teams met, in a friendly at Wembley in 2013, Per Mertesacker scored in the thirty-ninth minute, putting Germany into the lead. England failed to get an equaliser, notching up their second loss in five days, and walked off the field to the sounds of boos from their home crowd.

If you’re an England fan, you probably don’t want to be reminded about the result of the two teams’ previous meeting, either. It took place at Free State Stadium in Bloemfontein, South Africa, during the 2010 FIFA World Cup. By defeating England by four goals to one, the Germans not only secured a place in the tournament’s quarter-finals, but also became responsible for the Three Lions most decisive World Cup defeat.

Berlin – A Lucky Choice of Venue for England?

England fans can console themselves with the fact that the team seems to have more luck when playing on German soil. Four out of the last five ties to take place in Germany have been won by England, while the first, a qualifier for the 1972 European Championships, which took place at the same venue as this weekend’s match, ended in a draw.

Those wins included England’s most impressive victory against the German team – the memorable and much-celebrated 2002 FIFA World Cup qualifier, held in Munich’s Olympic Stadium, on September 1 2001. The Three Lions trounced their opponents by five goals to one, with Michael Owen scoring a hat-trick, and Steven Gerrard and Emile Heskey scoring a goal apiece.

The most recent of the five took place in November 2008. Like the forthcoming match, it was a friendly and was held in the Olympic Stadium, Berlin. On this occasion, England had the edge, their 2 -1 victory also marking Germany’s first defeat in the capital for 35 years.

The Three Lions – Roaring towards the European Championships

Despite the evenly matched nature of the two nations’ sides resulting in some exciting matches in the past, there are many football fans who’d argue that the idea that there’s a deep-seated rivalry between the two is flawed.

Whilst England fans often feel particularly invested in internationals against Germany, and the British tabloids are laden with anti-German headlines whenever they take place, the Germans are usually far more concerned about beating what many of them consider to be their main rivals, The Netherlands. So should we stop looking at the tie as something steeped in history and competitiveness?

Perhaps, instead, we should treat both this and our forthcoming friendlies with the Netherlands, Turkey, Australia and Portugal as nothing more than what they really are – practice sessions for the European Championships.

How do you rate England’s chances against Germany this weekend? What do you think about international team rivalries? Let us know your views in the comments section.