Back to back wins over Gibraltar and Georgia saw Republic of Ireland return to the Euro 2016 path, but they need to try and continue the good run against Germany if they want to secure a play-off spot and remain in the hunt for the automatic berth. Die Mannschaft, on the other hand, will qualify if they draw or win in Dublin, and they head into the high-profile match in excellent spirits.
Republic of Ireland had a very good start to the qualifying campaign after being placed in arguably the toughest group, with back to back wins over Georgia and Gibraltar followed by the 1-1 draw with Germany at Veltins Arena. Martin O’Neill’s team then failed to keep up with good results as they were first beaten by Scotland on the road before only sharing spoils with Poland and Scotland at home. Following three successive setbacks, it looked as though the Irish will again miss out on a major tournament, only for the Scots to suffer two slip-ups and allow Martin O’Neill’s charges to move four points clear in the race for the play-off berth. Ireland can still seal an automatic qualifying berth as well with two wins from remaining two matches, but defeating Germany at home and Poland away may not be possible at this moment in time. The hosts face serious selection problems ahead of the clash with World Cup holders, with Glenn Whelan and James McClean banned, and Seamus Coleman out through injury. The good news is that Wes Hoolahan and Robbie Keane should start, but Marc Wilson faces a fitness test.
Germany clearly needed a while to recover from the World Cup celebrations and they had every right to take their foot off gas after enjoying the biggest success in 24 years. Joachim Low also had some squad rebuilding to do as a number of experienced players decided to retire after the tournament finals in Brazil, but, as expected, die Mannschaft had no problems climbing to the top of Group D. The 1-1 draw with Republic of Ireland remains their last slip-up up to date, with Germany winning five straight qualifiers since to create a two-point cushion at the group summit. As a result, they will now secure their place in France with a win or draw at Aviva Stadium, but with all star players available, chances are the visitors will give their best to extend the winning run to six games. The returns of Marco Reus is likely to serve as a major boost for the side, and Joachim Low is unlikely to be too concerned by Lukas Podolski’s withdrawal through an ankle injury considering that the Galatasaray forward was never going to start in Dublin. The good news is thatg Karim Bellarabi should be fit to play.
As much as Republic of Ireland players are motivated to edge closer to the Euro 2016 finals, we cannot really expect them to match in-form Germany, especially with at least three first team regulars missing. Meanwhile, die Mannschaft will have players like Ozil, Reus, Muller and Gotze in the final third, meaning that away win is clearly on the cards.
Verdict: Away win
Best Odds: 1/2
Bookmaker: William Hill