Euro 2016 Qualifier: Republic of Ireland vs Germany Preview

Written by Damien Kayat for @Hollywoodbets.

Republic of Ireland vs Germany | Thursday 08 October | Aviva Stadium | 20:45

Very rarely in recent years has any form of international qualifying campaign approached the same fever pitch as this pulsating group. This owes much to the early indifference of the reigning World Champions Germany, who have only recently escaped the ghetto of mediocre displays that blighted their early progress. Martin O’Neil’s Republic of Ireland know that may well need a positive result here to stand any chance of qualification in the final round of fixtures.

They sit two points behind second-placed Poland, who have their own tricky encounter against Scotland to negotiate. Germany know that a win will all but secure their place in France next year, making O’Neil’s task far more intense.

To Win (90 mins)
Republic of Ireland  57/10
Draw  7/2
Germany  9/20

Republic of Ireland
Martin O’Neil’s men have been in excellent form since a surprise 1-0 defeat to Scotland earlier in the group (a result which they may still live to rue). Wins against Gibraltar and Georgia have put them in a position where they can still qualify for Europe’s showpiece event next year. There are, however, some issues in the make-up of the squad. Both James McClean and Glenn Whealan are suspended, while Mark Wilson remains a huge doubt due to injury. Another massive blow will be that of Seamus Coleman: the influential Everton full-back has been a fairly long-term absentee. His place in the side has been taken by Derby County defender, Cyrus Christie.

O’Neil has stressed that Robbie Keane will be available despite the birth of his second child State-side. His partnership with John Walters has proved lucrative and will likely hold the key to victory for the phlegmatic Irish side. They have only conceded five goals in eight games, far and away the best defensive record in the entire group. Hoolahan will be the major creative impetus in the middle of the park, while Gibson and McCarthy will look to nullify Germany’s wealth of midfield dexterity. While fans will be hopeful, O’Neil’s men come up against a resurgent side coming off the back of 5 straight victories.

Germany’s last trip to Hampden Park yielded a comprehensive 6-1 victory for the indomitable World Champions. This isn't likely to be such a lop-sided affair, but one can’t help but feel that the momentum is firmly in the hands of Joachim Louw’s side. He pretty much has a full squad to choose from, with Thomas Muller proving extremely prolific in qualifying thus far. The defensive combination of Boateng and Hummels has looked far more convincing of late while Neuer probably remains the finest goalkeeper in world football.

I expect Louw to operate with a typical 4-2-3-1 formation, with Kroos and Schweinsteiger operating in the holding roles. While Gotze, Ozil, and Gundogan provide a litany of attacking options and invention at the top of the midfield. Thomas Muller will provide the focal point for a fearsome attacking unit that will likely have too much firepower for a gallant Republic of Ireland side. With qualification at stake I doubt Germany will leave anything to chance.

Verdict: Germany 9/20
Germany will just have too much invention and quality for the Republic of Ireland. I would assume Muller will find his way onto the score-sheet as Germany potentially end the Republic’s campaign.

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