Holland V Germany – Betting Tip: Huntelaar to score – Wednesday, 13 June 2012

Dutch to mix it up by calling on prolific Huntelaar for must-win clash

Van Persie - Strootman

Holland V Germany

Wednesday, 13 June 2012 (Kick-Off: 19:45 BST) – LIVE on BBC1

On paper at least, this promises to be an explosive encounter between the two most prolific sides during qualification. Bert Van Marwijk’s Oranje plundered 37 goals in their ten qualifying matches, while Joachim Low’s German charges racked up 34 in as many qualifiers. Thus there is every reason to believe that Wednesday’s stellar billing, between two nations with no shortage of previous (this will be their 39th duel at international level), just might live up to all the pre-match hype – especially with the stakes as high as they are.

The Germans are potentially one win away from reaching the knockout phase following a hard-fought 1-0 victory over Portugal on their first outing, whereas a surprise 1-0 defeat to Denmark has left Holland on the brink of an early – and shock – elimination in Group B, despite creating a plethora of chances (28 in total; 8 found the target). Many of those would probably fall into the category of ‘clear-cut’ and their failure to convert any has led to growing speculation that Van Marwijk may tinker with his forward personnel for what has now become a must win clash with long-time adversaries Germany, with the man dubbed The Hunter rumoured to be in line for a start.

In an average Schalke team, former Real Madrid and AC Milan striker Klass-Jan Huntelaar found goals remarkably easy to come by last season, in all forms of the game. The predatory 28-year-old bagged 48 in all competitions for the German club (meaning he will know more than most about this well-drilled German defence). 14 of those came in Europe as the Royal Blues battled their way to the latter stages of the Europa League, while he ended Euro 2012 Qualification as Van Marwijk’s leading marksmen with 12 goals – thus accounting for a third of the team’s goals, as well as taking his impressive tally for his country to 31 in 54 appearances – making it even more remarkable that he was overlooked for the opening clash with Denmark.

Of course, there was no way Robin Van Persie could be left out of the starting XI on the back of his prolific antics with Arsenal last term. But to see Ibrahim Afellay on the left, after turning out for club side Barcelona less than a dozen times last season, mainly due to injuries, came as a huge surprise to me. Instead, I would have much rather seen Van Persie causing a nuisance on the left, on the opposite flank to the mercurial Arjen Robben, as Huntelaar patrolled the central berth of a three-pronged attack with so much goal-potential, especially with playmaker Wesley Sneijder pulling the strings in behind. He was awesome in defeat on Saturday. Unplayable almost. 

Quite simply, Holland have to go for it on Wednesday. Anything less than victory, over a side which actually did little to impress me first time out, would leave them mighty vulnerable in a group which may even be settled with a game to spare. It almost sounds absurd to try and claim that a change in attacking personnel is even needed for Holland, considering the amount of chances they carved up against Denmark. However, Bert Van Marwijk could do a lot worse than calling on the ruthless striking services of in-form Klass-Jan Huntelaar, a player whose aerial prowess and extensive knowledge of this German back-four could offer up something different.

As you’d might expect after reading this, Klaas-Jan Huntelaar to locate the back of Manuel Neuer’s goal is my main bet here. I am, however, keen on the Dutch to spring a surprise at tasty odds. While defensively they do remain suspect, going forward they can mix it with any team in the competition and their star-studded forward line boasting Sneijder, Robben, Van Persie and, hopefully, Huntelaar will pose the first serious test for a German defence that was rarely trouble by Portugal first time out – but when it was, it wasn’t entirely convincing.

Main Punt: Klaas-Jan Huntelaar to score at any time @ 11/4 with WilliamHill (8/1 FGS with same firm)

Side Bet: Holland to win @ 2/1 with Bet365 (Price available with most firms)

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