Friday, October 11, 2013
Germany vs Ireland
Germany's task against the Republic of Ireland is fairly simple. Win or draw and you can start making travel plans for Brazil next summer. Unless the Germans slip-up massively, it's next to impossible for Sweden to catch them from their second place position, so at least we can avoid too much fancy math.
Ireland are not yet eliminated from contention but it's going to take a wins in their final two matches and a whole lot of luck as well for them to avoid missing the World Cup. Interim manager Noel King will be missing Jonathan Walters and goalkeeper Kieren Westwood, but striker Robbie Keane is expected to play despite taking on knock on his ankle in training.
Germany will be without several players including Mario Gomez, Miroslav Klose, Lukas Podolski and Marco Reus, but there's still plenty of talent available including Mario Gotze and Mesut Özil.
The equation for hosts Germany is simple - claim maximum points from their clash against the Republic of Ireland on Friday night and they will have booked their place in next year's World Cup.
The Germans go into this fixture five points clear of second-placed Sweden, who they visit in their final qualifier next Tuesday.
However, Germany will have to collect a positive result without a number of attacking players, including Mario Gomez, Miroslav Klose, Lukas Podolski and Marco Reus - all of whom are injured.
Bayern Munich's Mario Gotze has been deemed fit enough, though, but he may start among the substitutes.
Meanwhile, visitors Ireland will be starting life without manager Giovanni Trapattoni, who left his position after last month's qualifier against Austria.
Noel King has been placed in interim charge while the FAI search for a successor to the veteran Italian. He has recalled Everton midfielder Darron Gibson, who had fallen out with Trapattoni.
Captain Robbie Keane missed training earlier today with an ankle problem, but it is not expected to rule him out of the encounter in Cologne.
When these sides met earlier in the qualifying campaign, Germany ran out 6-1 winners in Dublin.
Possible starting lineups
Germany: Neuer; Lahm, Mertesacker, Boateng, Jansen; Khedira, Schweinsteiger; Kroos, Ozil, Draxler; Muller
ROI: Forde; Coleman, O'Shea, Dunner, St Ledger; McGeady, Gibson, McCarthy, Whelan, Pilkington; Keane