Aviva Stadium, Dublin
8th October 2015, 19:45 BST
The Republic of Ireland take on the World Champions Germany in their penultimate Euro 2016 Qualifiers. A win or at the least a draw is minimal for Martin O’Neill’s men as they face another tough opponent in Poland for their last game and they need to win the game if they are to see off Scotland and secure a playoff berth for next summer’s finals.
With the Champions Germany leading the group and needing a point to confirm a place in the finals next year, O’Neill’s Green Army will certainly be looking for all three points in Dublin. And if the Republic manage to topple the World Champions tomorrow night, O’Neill’s men could very well go on to create a huge upset by pushing Poland down to the playoffs and confirming a place in the finals next year. But with the Republic traveling to Poland in Warsaw just three days after the game in Dublin, it’s a tough double-header for the Boys in Green.
Team News and Tactics
Republic of Ireland
These are crucial two matches for the Ireland, but they head into the pivotal week with a much-depleted squad. Wes Hoolahan and Seamus Coleman, both are huge doubts for the game and with midfielders Glenn Whelan and James McClean suspended, O’Neill will have a difficult time putting together a strong XI to face the Champions. Defender Marc Wilson is also a major doubt, having stayed at his club Stoke City for treatment on a calf injury.
The only bit of positive news came from the effervescent Roy Keane when asked about Robbie Keane, who was absent from training due to a late arrival from Los Angeles. A journey that was complicated by the Republic-record goalscorer’s wife Claudine giving birth to their second child. “Is he available?” Roy Keane was asked. “Why?” came the response. “Because his wife had a baby.” “Yeah, but he didn’t. Unless he’s breastfeeding, he should be fine.”
The former Manchester man’s no-nonsense approach for the pre-match conference clearly reflected the mood in the camp and his overriding message was suggesting that if they were to go up against the Germans with a fearful attitude they will fail. “There has to be a bit of tension, a bit of nervousness,” he cautioned. “And that’s good, it keeps you on edge and it’s good for your concentration levels.”
“But as a player, you want to play against the best. You test yourself against the best. They should enjoy it, that’s what the game is about.”
Possible starting line-up: Given; Christie, O’Shea, Clark, Brady; Gibson, McCarthy, Hoolahan, Hendrick; Keane, Walters
Joachim Low’s Die Mannschaft had a slow start to their qualifying campaign with an early defeat to Poland and a draw against Ireland in their first three matches. But since then, the World Champions have been in excellent form in Group D, taking them on the verge of qualifying for the tournament.
The Die Mannschaft have won their last five matches on the spin to move to the top of the table, including victories over Poland and Scotland in the last round of fixtures. Low’s side have found their form in the final third and are now the third-highest scoring team in qualifying behind Poland and England.
Germany have an injury doubt in Lukas Podolski, but the in-from Thomas Muller, who has scored eight goals in the last seven games, will definitely provide Low’s chief attacking threat. Also, with a defence led by Mats Hummels and Jerome Boateng, and an overpowering midfield with the likes of Bastian Schweinsteiger, Marco Rues, Mesut Ozil and Toni Kroos, the Die Mannschaft should easily walk past the ambitious Republic and secure their position at the top of the group.
Possible starting line-up: Neuer; Hector, Hummels, Boateng, Can; Kroos, Schweinsteiger, Gundogan; Ozil, Muller; Gotze
- The Republic of Ireland are winless in six previous meetings against Germany, since beating them in a friendly prior to the 1994 World Cup (D3 L3).
- Germany have scored 10 goals in their last three internationals against the Green Army.
- John Oa Shea scored a 90th-minute equaliser between the two in October 2014. In fact, Irelanda s last three goals against Germany have been scored in the 90th minute.
- Thomas MA?ller has scored six times in his last four European qualifiers.
- Martin Oa Neilla s side have let in just six goals in their last 11 internationals, and only one in their last four.
- Oa Neill has lost just one of those 11 matches (W6 D4).
- Toni Kroos has made 859 passes during qualification so far, at least 153 more than any other player.
- Germany have also had the most shots in qualifying so far (147), 28 more than next best Belgium (119).
John Oa Shea is the only Irish player to play every minute in the group so far.
Player to Watch
Muller has been in impeccable form for both, country and club, recently scoring a brace to help his side destroy rivals Borussia Dortmund 5-1. The Bayern forward will have zero problems in picking out the makeshift Ireland defence and will most certainly feature at least once on the scorecard tomorrow night.
Republic of Ireland 1-3 Germany
The fact that the Republic need to play for all three points will prove fatal for the Boys in Green as the in-form attacking line-up of Germany could find more than enough space to knock in a few goals. Even if Ireland manage to find the net with their all-out attack style as suggested by Keane in the pre-match conference, Germany has too much firepower for the Republic backline to hold up against.