The rivalry between Germany and Holland is one of the fiercest in international football, often mirroring the intensity with which some club games are played.

However, on Wednesday evening, all that will be on the players' minds is qualification for the knock-out stages of the 2012 European Championships and the equation is very simple - if Holland loses, then there is every chance they will exit the tournament, their favourites tag notwithstanding, at the first hurdle.

The Build Up:


Holland could just not score in their opening game against Denmark. They did everything right apart from providing that final shot on goal and although many blamed the loss on luck, the truth is the players were at fault. Arsenal striker Robin van Persie, the man in supposedly excellent form, fluffed his lines on more than one occasion and the Dutch despite dominating possession did little in the way of threatening the Danes. The Dutch will now have to reshape their gameplan and tactics if they are to compete with the Germans, who will be high on the confidence after beating Portugal.

Holland will need to provide better finishes to their fancy build-up play and key players like Wesley Sneijder (Inter Milan), Arjen Robben (Bayern Munich) and Ibrahim Afellay (Barcelona) will need to get their act together if they are to make it to the final eight.

"We have to win (the remaining two games). We have no other choice," said Dutch captain Mark van Bommel, according to a Sky Sports report.

"It is make or break, but we are still confident. We can and should win. If that happens, everything is good," ESPN quoted Robben as saying.


Germany, on the other hand, will be calm and composed despite only managing a narrow 1-0 win over a Cristiano Ronaldo-led Portugal. German coach Joachim Löw's decision to choose Mario Gomez over Miroslav Klose paid off as the Bayern Munich striker headed in the only goal of the game. Tactically the Germans were spot on, although they played a much more patient game, compared to their usual attacking approach.

Going into this game, the Germans will probably stick with their usual 4-2-3-1 formation with Mesut Oil (Real Madrid) moving from one side to the other. The two midfielders - Bastian Schweinsteiger (Bayern Munich) and Sami Khedira (Real Madrid) - will alternate their runs forward. The full backs will be on high alert for this game, given the Dutch side's pace and skill down the flanks.

In addition, Löw may have been angered by Rafael van der Vaart's comments which suggested the Germans had only a handful of world class players, all of whom failed to shine against the Portuguese.

"It's very important not to chase your own shadow. Both teams knew the team that lost would have a lot to do in the next. We could have attacked a bit better, but we will do that. The main thing is that we won," said Löw, according to an ESPN report.

"Clearly, the challenge is huge for the Netherlands. When you've lost the first game, you can no longer afford another defeat. They allowed themselves to be rushed against Denmark and they will not let that happen again," Low was quoted by Sky Sports as saying.

Team News:

Holland will be happy to welcome veteran defender Joris Mathijsen (Malga), who missed the first game due to a hamstring injury. He will probably replace Ron Vlaar (Feyenoord). Sneijder also seems to be set to start despite picking up a minor injury in the first game. However, the main dilemma for coach Bert van Marwijk will be whether to start with Schalke 04 striker Klaas-Jan Huntelaar or van Persie.

Germany, on the other hand, will be going into this match at full strength. However, some changes could be made following their less than energetic performance against the Portuguese.


Holland have only managed to win three of their last eight games

Dutch captain Mark van Bommel, who was booked in the first game against Denmark, is a yellow card away from being suspended

Germany are the youngest side at the Euros, with an average age of 24 years

Lukas Podolski will make his 99th appearance for Germany in this game. This will put him seventh (just above Michael Ballack) in the Die Mannschaft all time appearances list

Of the 38 matches played between these two sides, Germany have won 14, Holland 10 and 14 have ended in draws

The last time these two sides met was in Hamburg in November, where the Germans won 3-0

Probable Teams:

Holland: Stekelenburg; Van der Wiel, Heitinga, Mathijsen, Willems; N De Jong, Van Bommel; Robben, Sneijder, Afellay; Huntelaar

Germany: Neuer; Boateng, Hummels, Badstuber, Lahm; Khedira, Schweinsteiger; Muller, Ozil, Podolski; Gomez

Where to Watch Live:

You can follow the game live from 7.45 pm BST on BBC One and BBC Radio 5 live and the official UEFA Web site. You can also catch the live text commentary on the BBC Sport website.