Preview: Whenever the Netherlands take on Germany there is ample motivation for the Dutch to put one over their historically fiercest rivals. But, with so much on the line this promises to be one of the classic meetings between the two of soccer's most storied nations.
After a hugely disappointing 1-0 defeat to Denmark in their opening match, there is no longer any room for error for the Dutch in this toughest of groups. Defeat and they may already be packing their bags.
The tension ahead of the clash in Kharkiv has unfortunately seemingly brought the Dutch's propensity for in-fighting back to the fore. Rafael van der Vaart has expressed his displeasure at being left out of the starting lineup, while Wesley Sneijder has hit out of the squad's pathetic egos.
Coach Bert van Marwijk has also faced question over the continued selection of his son-in-law Mark van Bommel, as well as the decision to stick with Robin van Persie over Klaas-Jan Huntelaar.
Van Persie was one of the more culpable players in the Netherland's opening defeat as he spurned several chances and looked badly shy of the goal-scoring touch he has exhibited at Arsenal. What's more Huntelaar has also been on fire for his club, Schalke, while he has a superior record for the national team.
Germany was also somewhat subpar in their opening match, but, in contrast to the Dutch, they were able to squeeze out a 1-0 victory over Portugal. While they would love to win and send the Dutch out of the tournament, coach Joachim Low will know that a point would still leave them in a strong position to qualify for the last eight.
Though not at their sparkling best on Saturday, Low's two key selection choices against Portugal both paid off, with Mario Gomez scoring the winner and Mats Hummels putting in an assured performance at the back.
Germany will be looking to get Mesut Ozil on the ball as often as possible in Kharkiv, especially with his ability to exploit the likely holes in a suspect Dutch back line.
Netherlands (probable, 4-2-3-1)
D: Van der Wiel, Heitinga, Mahtijsen, Willems
M: Van Bommel, De Jong
Robben, Van Persie, Sneijder
Germany (probable, 4-2-3-1)
D: Boateng, Hummels, Badstuber, Lahm
M: Schweinsteiger, Khedira
M: Muller, Ozil, Podolski
Prediction: There will be heavy scrutiny on coach Van Marwijk's lineup to see if he bows to the pressure and includes Huntelaar. But even if that does happen Van Persie is likely to start in a No. 10 role, with Sneijder occupying Ibrahim Affelay's position on the left. A selection that would be a huge risk by Van Marwijk, given that Sneijder, the Netherlands' key creative force, has struggled in that position for Inter during the past season.
One of the facets of the match to watch out for is what looks set to be an intriguing battle down the Dutch right with Arjen Robben going up against his Bayern Munich teammate Philipp Lahm. The victor of that contest could have a massive baring on the match's outcome.
It promises to be a contest not to missed with so much on the line in such a storied rivalry. But the signs are not good that the Dutch will come together to provide a classic performance that may well be needed. Perhaps to the detriment of the tournament, the Netherlands could well become the first casualties of the group of death.
Netherlands 1-2 Germany