Three key battles in Confederations Cup final

Associated Press
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Germany and Chile both shoot for their first Confederations Cup trophy as they meet on Sunday at 2:00 p.m. ET at St. Petersburg Stadium in Russia.

The match will no doubt be hotly contested, with Chile looking quality at the back, and Germany impressing despite not bringing their first-choice squad.

So, where will the match be won? There will be multiple points of interest for fans to keep an eye on as the game flows.

1. Alexis Sanchez vs. Josh Kimmich

The Arsenal superstar has had a relatively mum tournament, and while Chile has yet to be beaten, the attack has not entirely impressed. Sanchez will now likely see a lot of young Joshua Kimmich in the final, with the Bayern Munich utility man likely to be deployed on Sanchez’s flank.

At just 22 years old, Kimmich has proven much more than his age would suggest. He is the only German to start the last 18 straight games for the national team, and has played the full 90 minutes or more in each one of those matches. However, the German defense hasn’t been rock solid in Russia. Matthias Ginter has proven vulnerable at times, and even Kimmich has shown a slight weakness in the air (see: Cameroon’s goal).

Kimmich has a tall task ahead of him, but if any 22-year-old can take care of business, it’s the German all-star who has risen to heights so great he’s expected to eventually earn the captain’s armband for his country on a long-term basis. Can he stop Alexis Sanchez, who may be playing to earn a few more Premier League bucks?

2. Gary Medel, Gonzalo Jara vs. Timo Werner

Germany may not have brought it’s “A” team, but Timo Werner is making a case to be a part of the first-choice squad when Joachim Low picks his 2018 World Cup team. The 21-year-old has three goals in the last two games, and looks to be a high quality player for the future, and even now.

Chile’s strength lies in its organization and defense. While the offense hasn’t exactly clicked this tournament, the back line has been solid. They have allowed just two goals all tournament, and the two central defenders have been a big reason why. Both sport over 100 caps, and only a slight injury to Medel has kept the pair from playing every minute together in Russia. They are highly experienced, and will need that to stop the prolific German spearheading the attack.

3. Arturo Vidal vs. Julian Draxler

Arturo Vidal never holds back. He never has, and he never will. Julian Draxler will be the next man to face the Chilean’s wrath as the two meet again. They have faced off many times in the past in Bundesliga play before Draxler’s move to PSG, so these two will be quite familiar with one another.

The 23-year-old German has been prolific this tournament, and although he’s only had a direct hand in two of Germany’s 11 Confederations Cup goals, he has been one of the best players in the side. Draxler’s technical ability and pace on the ball has opened things up in the German attack, and Vidal’s crunching style will be key in stopping his counterpart.