Ireland could surprise world champions Germany at the Aviva
John O’Shea’s late, late goal earned Ireland an unlikely draw against Germany in Gelsenkirchen a year ago. But the world champions were still experimenting with changes to line-up and formation at that time. They’ve been back to the imperious best in recent months, though this is something of a bonus game for Martin O’Neill’s men who will secure at least a place in the play-offs regardless of the result at the Aviva if Scotland lose to Poland in Glasgow.
No-one will want to remember Germany’s last visit to Dublin. Marco Reus and Toni Kroos both scored a brace as the Irish were beaten 6-1 three years ago in a World Cup qualifier.
That remains Ireland’s worst home result in history and was the beginning of the end for Giovanni Trapattoni. The draw in Gelsenkirchen went some way towards atonement but Ireland will need to be at their best to avoid defeat again against Joachim Low’s men, who top Group D and need just a point to ensure qualification for the finals.
Germany will want to win Group D but expect them to be patient at the Aviva. Low has a full-strength squad at his disposal with the exception of Sami Khedira, who is still working his way back to full fitness. But the coach isn’t expected to send out his team full of attacking intent. Jonathan Walters returns but injuries to Ciaran Clark and Seamus Coleman, in particular, are a concern for Ireland though it does give another opportunity to Cyrus Christie.
Ireland are strong at home and more disciplined under O’Neill than previously. A close eye will be kept on proceedings at Hampden but there could be little real pressure, for once, in a game against the world champions and, just maybe, this a chance for the Irish to put down a market ahead of a probable play-off. We have priced up a home win at 5/1 with Under 2.5 in our Goals Over/Under market available at 21/20.
The match kicks off at 7.45pm on Thursday, October 8th at the Aviva Stadium
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