4 things Scotland learned from Germany scouting mission as Ukraine offer the roadmap to ultimate upset

Germany toiled to a bore draw with Ukraine that quelled some of the rampant optimism ahead of their seismic Euro meeting with Scotland on June 14.

The Euro 2024 hosts meet the Scots in the opener and if it's not Steve Clarke's biggest game as boss, it's certainly the biggest occasion he's been involved in since taking the reins in 2019. His side warmed up for it with a 2-0 win over Gibraltar that did it's job, but won't exactly have struck fear into German hearts ahead of the curtain-raiser in less than two weeks.

There would have been German scouts in attendance in the Algarve, just as there would have been a Scottish contingent in Nuremberg when Julian Nagelsmann sent his team out against Oleksandr Zinchenko and co. But it was a similar story, as a German team who have worked so hard to shift the mood music in recent months showed a little of why they have dipped as low as 16th in the world rankings. So, what can Scotland take from it, and is there (whisper it) reason to believe? Let's take a look.

Havertz vs Fullkrug

It looks as if it will be one of two men leading the line for Germany come the finals. Kai Havertz, who has thrived as a false nine, or Niclas Fullkrug, who is a number nine. With Dortmund striker Fullkrug absent to rest up after the Champions League final, it was Havertz who got the nod here, but didn't exactly look electric.

Against an Ukraine side who set up with a low block, his party trick of dropping into midfield to create space didn't exactly set the world alight - a sign it may be Fullkrug who is called upon come June 14. Thomas Muller came off the bench, mind you - and so did this man...

Beier's remorse

It seems likely to be Havertz or Fullkrug leading the line, but it might not be. Because Maximilian Beier looked a right handful when he came on. The 21-year-old enjoyed a stunning breakout year for Hoffenheim last season and, with Fullkrug absent, he was thrown on for his senior debut. Literally right away he was in amongst it, hitting the bar with his first touch and going close to scoring twice more.

-Credit:Getty Images
-Credit:Getty Images

He's likely to be phased in gently, but he could be one to watch...especially if the Germans continue to toil in front of goal like they did for long spells here.

Kroos to the bone

Germany weren't great here by any stretch, but there's an obvious elephant in the room that needs addressed when analysing their performance in Nuremberg. And its name is Toni Kroos. He's another Champions League star that was given a rest for this one and, still at the top of his game, they're obviously going to be a much better team when he's back in it. They face Greece on Friday, a game that's likely to feature as close to their best XI as they can get, with Kroos back in the engine room. And that might give us a more accurate look at the Germany we will face a week later in Munich.

Much to fear?

Well, yes, obviously, it's Germany. But the truth is they suffered from many of the same problems that had the Tartan Army moaning during that win over Gibraltar a few hours earlier. The mood in Germany has swung back to optimism as far as the national team are concerned but they were a little toothless here. On top of that, their tactical setup was a little muddy and some of Nagelsmann's decision-making on the touchline was haphazard - granted that could be down to it being a friendly, where the focus was as much on fitness as it was the result.

-Credit:Getty Images
-Credit:Getty Images

The long and short of it? Germany are a good team, but they're not a great team - not like they were, as their ranking of 16 in the world would suggest. There's weakness there to be exploited if Scotland turn up and play with the bravery and intensity that got us to the finals. And if Ukraine can take them the distance over 90 minutes, what's to say we can't?