Republic of Ireland must be ready for Germany backlash
Germany hammered the Republic of Ireland by an aggregate scoreline of 9-1 in their meetings in qualifying for the World Cup they won but, after lifting that global crown in Brazil, Die Mannschaft have failed to keep a clean sheet since.
Coral offer an enhanced matchday special on their meeting in Gelsenkirchen, therefore, with odds of 5/2 on Joachim Low’s lads beating Martin O’Neill’s men and both teams being on target. Please note punters, there is a maximum stake of £20 on this bet.
Despite losing away to neighbours and bitter rivals Poland last time out in Euro 2016 qualifying Group D, plus a prestige friendly defeat by Argentina prior to shading Scotland in their first pool outing, Germany start as strong odds-on 1/4 favourites for victory and 1/6 to top the pool.
Ireland, who last upset Die Mannschaft in 1994 when warming up the World Cup in the USA, are rank 12/1 outsiders to win the match. This encounter does not look likely to shape their destiny, though, and odds of 2/1 say they can qualify for the France finals.
More recently, the Republic did earn a credible goalless draw during qualification for Euro 2008. Odds for the spoils to be shared here are 5/1, while a repeat scoreline is an 18/1 price. Poor German form is cause for concern for both Low and Ireland’s management duo of O’Neill and Roy Keane.
A hiding, like the 6-1 spanking handed out by Die Mannschaft to this British Isles side two years ago, could be on the cards. It’s 80/1 on that precise result, while a repeat of the 3-0 from the reverse fixture comes in at 6/1.
World champions Germany have injury problems, though. Borussia Monchengladbach’s highly-rated holding player Flu-suffering pair Christoph Kramer and Andre Schurrle have joined a lengthy injury list, which is decimating to their spine. Low brushed aside this crisis, however.
“We have several options in midfield for Kramer. There is Sebastian Rudy or Matthias Ginter,” said the World Cup-winning coach, “But also more attacking options and it is possible to integrate the one or the other attacking player in the team.”
Sami Khedira, Mesut Ozil and skipper Bastian Schweinsteiger are just the most-high profile midfielders missing. Add in absent forwards Mario Gomez and Marco Reus, plus a defensive dearth following Philipp Lahm and Per Mertesacker’s international retirements, and injuries to Holger Badstuber and Benedikt Howedes, and this alternatively is a brilliant time for Ireland to tackle them.
O’Neill saw his side put seven past UEFA new boys Gibraltar with captain Robbie Keane hitting a hat-trick inside 20 minutes. Punters should be sanguine about his chances of a repeat performance, with the Republic’s leading marksman 50/1 to take another match ball home with him.
Keane has scored against Die Mannschaft before, though, during the group stage of the 2002 World Cup. He netted last that day, and is 8/1 to do so again, or a safer 11/4 in the anytime market. A more conservative approach is expected from O’Neill, however, and Jon Walters is expected to return, with odds of 7/2 for him to score in this match.
Norwich City playmaker Wes Hoolahan and winger James McClean are among those rumoured to be dropping out of Ireland’s XI, despite the former doing plenty of damage against Gibraltar. Experienced Stoke City midfielder Glenn Whelan should return.
It’s the usual suspects from Germany that will pose the most problems. Real Madrid summer signing Toni Kroos bagged a brace in the 6-1 drubbing of 2012, and is 11/1 to do so again or better. Odds of 2/1 say he will be on target anytime.
As Chelsea attacker Schurrle is out, Arsenal forward Lukas Podolski or Schalke youngster Julian Draxler should support false nines Mario Gotze and Thomas Muller from the left. Max Kruse, the only proper striker available to the hosts, will be in reserve, and is 4/1 to ent last.
Low has confirmed Karim Bellarabi will make his second senior start after making his bow last time out, completing a fearsome front five. Why not back the Bayer Leverkusen winger to break his international duck on his home debut at odds of 7/2?
The full back berths are Die Mannschaft’s problem, and joy down the flanks for Aiden McGeady (5/1 to score anytime), means piling money on a home win, but with Ireland grabbing a goal looks to be the best bet.