It's almost bizarre to think of Germany having a bogey team. But, in Italy, they have one.
In eight tournament matches against their rivals, the Germans have never come out on top, being knocked out of the 1970, 1982 and 2006 World Cups, and losing the Euro 2012 semi-final to the Italians.
They have a chance for revenge when the two sides meet in 2016’s quarter-final in Bordeaux on Saturday evening.
World champions Germany have been solid if not spectacular, and they are yet to concede a goal.
After an opening victory over Ukraine, they laboured to a 0-0 draw with Poland and a 1-0 victory over Northern Ireland to top Group C.
A routine 3-0 win over Hungary got them through the round of 16, though, as Lukas Podolski says, “now the tournament starts”.
Italy have been the team of the tournament so far, with new Chelsea boss Antonio Conte masterminding impressive 2-0 victories over highly-rated Belgium and Spain.
Unlike previous incarnations, this Italian squad is not blessed with stars, but they are a well-drilled, organised team and performances have been far greater than the sum of their parts.
They too have been defensively frugal – only conceding once – and even that was a late goal by Ireland’s Robbie Brady in a dead-rubber against a much-changed side.
Those wins over Belgium and Spain, and another over Sweden, have seen Italy go from outsiders to contenders, and if they’re able to overcome Germany, they could become favourites to lift the trophy.
With so little between these sides it’s almost impossible to pick a winner.
In 1970 and 2006 it took extra-time to separate these two, and I think this will go the distance tomorrow too.
Betway make it 2/1 to be level after 90 minutes, which I suggest backing.
The 10/1 for Germany to win on penalties also looks a good price.
Like so many of the games so far, I think we’ll see a chess match rather than a cricket score.
This leads me to recommend selling total goals at 2.0 with Sporting Index.
Draw after 90 mins 2/1 (Betway)
Germany to win on penalties 10/1 (Betway)
Sell total goals 2.0 (Sporting Index)