11th October 2012
Republic of Ireland take on Germany at Aviva Stadium in Dublin hoping to extend the good run of results, but numerous injuries to star players are making life difficult for Giovanni Trapattoni. Die Mannschaft are also not at full strength, but Joachim Low has some excellent replacements for the absentees, which makes the visitors hot favourites for the win.
Despite being heavily criticized by football pundits in Ireland, Giovanni Trapatoni was the first coach to take the national team to a major tournament after 10 years, but the Irish could do nothing to avoid three heavy defeats at Euro 2012. The tournament in Poland and Ukraine proved that the Boys in Green are still miles away from Europe’s top sides, so forgive me if I don’t believe they can stop mighty Germany from winning in Dublin. The poor showing in the 2-1 win over Kazakhstan means that Ireland players are hardly in perfect spirits ahead of their second 2014 World Cup qualifiers, while numerous injuries are responsible for the poor atmosphere in the national team. Given that the Irish will be without Robbie Keane, Richard Dunne, Kevin Doyle, James McClean, Sean St Ledger and Glenn Whelan, punters all over the world will be tempted to back Germany here.
Die Mannschaft have developed into a real European powerhouse under the guidance of Joachim Low and the mere fact the entire nation saw the Euro 2012 semi-final defeat as a major failure shows how far the team have come over the last decade. It is important to note that Germany were playing great football until the Azzurri clash and that they quickly returned to winning ways following the European Championship disappointment. Back to back wins over Faroe Islands and Austria have helped the players restore some of the lost confidence, and with most of the key players in scintillating form at the start of the season, Germany look a good bet to see of Ireland in Dublin. Philipp Lahm, Matts Hummels, Lars Bender and Ilkay Gundogan may be unavailable, but Lukas Podolski and Mario Goetze have been passed fit to play. With Bastian Schweinsteiger back to the side after missing the first two qualifiers, Joachim Low is once again spoilt for choices in all areas of the team.
Even at full strength Republic of Ireland would need a perfect performance in order to prevent Germany from winning, and looking at all the players missing for the hosts, away win look a banker here. Having said that, I believe there is value in backing die Mannschaft to win by at least two goals.
Verdict: Germany with -1 European handicap
Best Odds: 13/10
Bookmaker: Stan James