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Nations League essential stats: England’s Wembley record and Leroy Sane’s Germany role

From Northern Ireland’s standout clean sheet stats to England’s unbeaten Wembley streak, we pick out the best facts ahead of the Nations League kick-off…

The UEFA Nations League launches on Thursday, with every single game live and exclusive on Sky Sports.

And what a way for it all to start on Thursday night when in League A, World Cup winners France take on the 2014 champions Germany in MunichThe French have had the upper hand in recent meetings with Germany, only winning two of the last 11 meetings – failing to score in six of the last 10.Leroy Sane had to watch the World Cup from home after being a surprising omission from the Germany squad in the summer, but he has been recalled by Joachim Low. Sane was directly involved in 25 League goals last season – more than any player in Germany’s squad in Russia. Manchester City’s man on a mission will be out to show the world just what Germany were missing as they crashed out in the group stage, scoring just two goals in their three games.Talking of bogey teams, another game taking place on Thursday sees Wales take on Republic of Ireland in League B in Cardiff. Wales have failed to win any of the last eight meetings between the nations, and have failed to score in six of the last seven.You have to go all the way back to February 1992 for their last victory, when Mark Pembridge scored the only goal of the game for Terry Yorath’s side. The most recent meeting was Republic of Ireland’s 1-0 win in Cardiff just 11 months ago, which ended Welsh hopes of playing at the World Cup finals for the first time since 1958.Friday sees Roberto Mancini takes charge of his first competitive game as Italy head coach when Poland travel to Bologna, the scene of that David Platt goal in England’s World Cup win against Belgium back in 1990. Mancini faces new Poland head coach Jerzy Brzeczek, who also takes charge of his first game.Brzeczek will be looking to Robert Lewandowski, who will be hoping to add to his 55 international goals on the occasion of his 99th cap. Although, as you can see here, he is a distant second to Cristiano Ronaldo on the list of current top international scorers in Europe.Saturday sees Northern Ireland start their Nations League campaign against Bosnia at Windsor Park in League B. A first-ever meeting between the nations pits Michael O’Neill against former Real Madrid, Barcelona and Portsmouth midfielder Robert Prosinecki.Recent history suggests that this will be a tight affair, with both countries adept at keeping clean sheets. In fact, no team has kept a greater percentage of clean sheets over the past two years among UEFA nations than Northern Ireland. Michael O’Neill will also be looking to improve upon an impressive record at Windsor Park in recent years which has seen Northern Ireland win 10 of their last 13 games there.Football didn’t quite come home in the summer, but England will on Saturday when they walk out at Wembley to take on 2010 world champions Spain – a game you can see exclusively live on Sky Sports.

Gareth Southgate’s side will be hoping to keep the feel-good factor going, although that will be no easy task against a nation that England have only beaten once in their last six meetings.

England will be hoping to add to a run of 14 successive wins in competitive games at Wembley – their longest-ever winning run at the national stadium. It’s now over a decade since England last lost a competitive game under the arch – Slaven Bilic’s Croatia the last visiting side to come with away with a win, all the way back in November 2007 with that infamous 3-2 win.

Don’t forget you’ll be able to watch all of the games we’ve mentioned on Sky Sports over the coming week – along with every other game played in the first-ever UEFA Nations League.

It all gets underway on Thursday, with Germany v France and Wales v Republic of Ireland the standout fixtures… there should be some fascinating contests.

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