England v Germany: Five talking points on women's Wembley showcase

Steph Houghton (left) and Dzsenifer Marozsan
Of England's 25 senior meetings with Germany, the Germans have won 20
England v Germany international friendly
Venue: Wembley Date: Saturday, 9 November Kick-off: 17:30 GMT
Coverage: Live on BBC Two from 17:15 GMT, commentary on BBC Radio 5 Live and live text coverage on the BBC Sport website & app

England's women have a chance to make history in more ways than one at a sold-out Wembley on Saturday.

The Lionesses will attempt to beat Germany on home soil for the first time, as well as aiming to set a new record crowd for a women's match in the UK.

But the two-time world champions and eight-time European champions will provide a stern test for Phil Neville's out-of-form team.

BBC Sport looks at some of the key talking points around one of the highest-profile women's football fixtures ever played in this country.

A historic rivalry - with one side dominant

Germany win 2009 Euros final
Germany beat England 6-2 in the final of Women's Euro 2009

England and Germany's rivalry in women's international football began in 1984, but for 31 years the Germans dominated.

They won the first 15 meetings between the two sides, with England holding them to a draw for the first time in a goalless friendly in China in January 2007.

It took the Lionesses 21 attempts to earn their first win over their rivals, which came in memorable fashion in the third-place play-off at the 2015 World Cup in Canada.

In all, there have been 25 England and Germany meetings in the women's game and that bronze-medal match four years ago remains the sole victory by the Lionesses, who have lost 20 times.

But two of England's four draws in the fixture have come in the past four years and all of the Women's Super League clubs are now fully professional.

A sell-out set to break records

Wembley
Wembley, which will host the Women's Euro 2021 final, last hosted England's Women five years ago

Saturday's friendly (kick-off 17:30 GMT) could see a record attendance for a women's match in the UK, with tickets for Wembley sold out.

The turnout at the 90,000-seat stadium could beat the previous record of 80,203 for the 2012 Olympic final between the United States and Japan.

During those London Olympics, 70,584 also watched Great Britain beat Brazil 1-0.

England were watched by 45,619 when they lost to Germany in their previous appearance at the new Wembley in 2014.

But on that occasion, almost 10,000 spectators did not turn up after about 55,000 tickets were initially allocated.

This time, organisers are hopeful the home of English football will be packed.

Neville's team struggling for form

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Highlights: Portugal 0-1 England

Saturday's game comes with England enduring a mixed spell on the pitch, despite their impressive run to this summer's World Cup semi-finals.

Since their fine display against Norway in June's quarter-final, the Lionesses have won just once in six matches, ending a five-game winless streak with a narrow victory in Portugal last month.

Losses to Norway and Brazil in friendlies - and some sloppy defensive displays - contributed to a run of four defeats in five matches.

But the hosts have been boosted by the return to fitness of stars including Manchester City striker Ellen White, who scored six goals in England's run to the last four in France.

Will England gain revenge for 2014?

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Highlights: England 0-3 Germany

England's most recent game at Wembley was on 23 November 2014 and also against the Germans.

It was the women's national team's first match at the new Wembley, which opened in 2007, and the night of winger Karen Carney's 100th senior cap.

But the visitors put a dampener on the occasion for Lionesses and the Football Association, as England were comprehensively beaten 3-0.

Jordan Nobbs struck the bar after eight seconds for the hosts but Alex Scott's own goal gave Germany an early lead and Celia Sasic struck twice to complete the win.

A marker for the Euros?

Germany
Germany are Europe's most successful women's football nation

In less than two years' time, the Lionesses will be playing in a European Championship on home soil.

If they are to claim their first major trophy at Euro 2021, they may well need to overcome the Germans in the process.

Germany have won the Euros eight times and are the highest-ranked European side in Fifa's women's world rankings, second behind only World Cup winners the United States.

Neville's team's display against their rivals on Saturday could well be a barometer for how the contenders are shaping up.

The Germans won six European titles in a row between 1995 and 2013, before the Netherlands won the tournament in their home finals in 2017.

BBC Sport has launched #ChangeTheGame to showcase female athletes in a way they never have been before. Through more live women's sport available to watch across the BBC in 2019, complemented by our journalism, we are aiming to turn up the volume on women's sport and alter perceptions. Find out more here.

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