The last time Germany and Algeria were connected in the World Cup, there was a conspiracy theory. In 1982, the then West Germany was said to conspire with Austria for a 1-0 match that eliminated Algeria in the group stage. This time around, the Desert Foxes are playing a charging style while die Mannschaft have not quite hit their stride yet. Despite this, Algeria will be a heavy underdog in the 2014 World Cup Round of 16.
The Algerians are playing with plenty of energy. Their style is to sit back and attack on the counter. They will remain compact in the defense and try to use the wings to attack a German back line made up of four center-backs. Algeria will basically have six players along the back with two defensive midfielders protecting the back line.
Coach Vahid Halilhodzic has said that Algeria are playing for the entire Middle East. That is a heavy weight to bear, especially considering some of the players are fasting for Ramadan.
Don’t ask Halilhodzic too many questions about the fasting though. He threatened to leave a press conference on Sunday if questions on the topic persisted. He said those bringing up the topic were using the issue to “try and raise hatred of me and my family. This is really disgusting.” The players have been given the freedom to observe the holiday as they wish. Travelling or hard labor are often reasons why Muslims do not fast.
For Germany, they are the powerhouse that have yet to find their groove. Aside from the opening match against Portugal, the team has struggle to break down opponents despite taking their group. They have used the same back four in all matches so far, leaving Philipp Lahm in the midfield. He has been covering a ton of ground and quieting all the critics. The question is if Bastian Schweinsteiger or Sami Khedira will start next to him.
Mesut Ozil and Toni Kroos have not excelled in their playmaking ability, although their passing percentage is high. Lukas Podolski is injured so Mario Gotze is expected to start again. Andre Schurrle should be the first-choice substitute.
Algeria will try to weather the storm against Germany. If they can cause turnovers in dangerous positions, they will find scoring chances. The problem is that Germany has another gear and could hit it against the Desert Foxes.