Slovakia will be running into Germany, who have won 13 out of their last 16 international matches in major tournaments. But Germany coach Joachim Low has not fogotten the loss against the Slovaks just about a month ago. Slovakia had comprehensively defeated an experimental German side 3-1.
This is the first time Slovakia have reached the knockout stages of the Euro, and they will definitely not want to let go of this opportunity. However, if they would want to progress in Euro 2016, then they will have to climb the German mountain.
They should not forget Germany have not conceded a single goal in Euro 2016. Hence, the Slovaks will have to be their sublime best when it comes to attacking, and of course, Marek Hamsik will be the man Jan Kozak will be looking to.
However, Kozak may be forced to make a couple of changes to his side because of injuries. Slovakia defender Dusan Svento and midfielder Robert Mak have been nursing injuries and are likely to sit outside during this crucial round-of-16 clash against Germany. If at all they gain match-fitness ahead of the start of the game, Kozak may consider including them in the starting XI. As of now, the chances look bleak for Mak and Svento.
Meanwhile, Low will have the luxury of bringing back Jerome Boateng in the starting XI. Boateng, who was carrying a calf-injury, did not train much during the week but the German gaffer is confident about the defender's fitness. Low will not be making many other changes to his side against Slovakia.
Low does not have many injury concerns but somewhere at the back of his mind will be disturbing him. Low will not want Boateng, Sami Khedira and Mesut Ozil to receive a yellow card in this game. If they do, they are sure to miss the quarter-finals if they qualify.
On the other hand, Slovakia have as many as seven players, including their skipper Martin Skrtel, who can miss their next match if they see a yellow card against Germany.
Expected starting XI:
Germany: Neuer; Kimmich, Boateng, Hummels, Hector; Kroos, Khedira; Müller, Özil, Götze; Gomez.
Slovakia: Kozáčik; Pekarík, Škrtel, Ďurica, Hubočan; Pečovský; Mak, Kucka, Hamšík, Weiss; Duda.