World Champions Germany host the Republic of Ireland in their next game as both sides continue in their quest to qualify for Euro 2016. Germany are under pressure to bounce back following defeat to Poland in their last game, whilst Ireland warmed up for the clash by thrashing Gibraltar 7-0.
It was the Germans’ first defeat in 33 qualifying games, dating back to a 3-0 defeat against the Czech Republic in 2007. Joachim Low’s side played well in Poland but couldn’t find the net, and Irish fans will be hoping they can pull of a shock victory in Gelsenkirchen.
Ireland go into the game second in the group, behind Poland on goal difference. The Poles thumped Gibraltar 7-0 too, but lead the way thanks to their two goal win against Germany. Martin O’Neill will have been proud of the professionalism shown by his Republic side and will have a renewed sense of optimism heading into the game against the group favorites.
Germany, meanwhile, are looking for a reaction and go into the game behind their opponents. They are a brilliant side at home though, and Ireland will surely be happy if they escape from the VELTINS-Arena with a point.
The Germans are without some big name players including Mesut Özil, Marco Reus, and Bastian Schweinsteiger, but they can still call upon the likes of Thomas Muller and Mario Gotze.
Having won the World Cup in Brazil, Germany are not just favorites to qualify, they are one of the hot favorites to win the European Championship in France in 2016. However, a defeat at home to the Irish would spark concern amongst the Germans. The likes of David Forde, Aiden McGeady and Robbie Keane will have to be on top of their game to get anything from the game in Germany.
Ireland will play a physical side following the game against Gibraltar, and Stoke City forward Jon Walters may start to add another dimension in Germany. It could mean an omission from the side for Wes Hoolahan despite a terrific performance against the newly formed Gibraltar.
O’Neill praised the Norwich playmaker but admitted there may have to be a change of style to combat the Germans. He said: “I might change things around again – we might have to go into the Germany game with a bit of strength.” It would be less than surprising to see a defensive setup from the visitors.
A draw would keep Ireland three points clear of the Germans, and continue their fantastic start to their qualifying campaign. Meanwhile, Poland will be going into their game against Scotland with the hope that they can keep up their 100% record. If they manage it, then a draw in Germany would leave the World Champions five points adrift of the Poles.
So, the pressure is on Germany to get back to winning ways, and in all honesty, anything other than a home win would be a surprise, and a big success for Ireland. However, there is no doubt that Germany are the clear favorites – and they should win comfortably, as long as they’re at their clinical best.