In theory there should be no chance of Ireland winning against Germany. If you look on paper, you are playing against the world champions. But theory is not always right as Poland have proved, writes Fabian Biastoch, editor with Goal Germany.
The title in Brazil was a huge experience and a huge success for all of us, especially for Joachim Löw who really needed a trophy with the national team. The problem now is that the defence of the world champion is not as strong as it was in the summer. Per Mertesacker has retired, as well as Philipp Lahm. ‘Merte’ can be replaced as we have seen in the last games of the tournament in South America. But Lahm is just world class and to find a successor will be really difficult for Löw. Jerome Boateng could play as right-back but not one player in the squad has the quality of Lahm.
“As you could see during the Argentina game a few weeks ago, the defence is the problem. It was in the past and it is again now.”
If Ireland can utilise quick strikers and midfielders they can cause huge problems. Bene Höwedes is still injured and Mats Hummels is far away from 100 percent. His first Bundesliga games after his injury were not impressive. Boateng is the most experienced defender for now. Sebastian Rudy did a great job in the last weeks but is still quite young, same as Ginter, Mustafi (who did not have a good start in Spain) and Rüdiger. The Stuttgart man is a ‘Heißsporn’, which means he has lot of passion but also with some kind of aggression when the game is not going well. In Portugal they call it Pepe. Seriously though, Rüdiger collected a nice amount of yellow and red cards already. The opinion in Stuttgart is that he has to mature and then everything will be fine. But he has to grow up soon.
The midfield and attack is still formidable even without Marco Reus. He will be back for the next international stint. Thomas Müller, Mario Götze, Andre Schürrle, Toni Kroos and Christoph Kramer will be important with some guys out missing. Yes even Lukas Podolski and Max Kruse could play a leading role. I’m really excited about Karim Bellarabi. He had a super start with Leverkusen and settled in very easily. Don’t forget, he played in Braunschweig and got relegated so it is a terrific story for him at the moment. I expect him to be a great addition to the national team but there’s a danger he will be too ambitious and lose his natural playing style. I’m glad he has now earned his first cap so we can rule out his declaring for Tunisia.
Ireland has a chance when they defend really well because our starting lineup is impressive but the German bench are not as good or experienced as the squad members in Brazil. Usually Germany should win but the shock loss to Poland means they are now under much more pressure and motivated to win in Gelsenkirchen.
Löw told RTL television after the game: “We lost. It’s not good but a fact and we need to look forward. We will come back on Tuesday.” Löw also deflected attention from his players. “We played well, created chances and the attitude was good.” In the following training sessions Germany are now working on scoring goals. They will have just one real session on Monday morning as the team has a day off Sunday and on Monday evening will have just the shorter session before the game.
And with the arrival of Roy Keane? He was regarded as a great midfielder but something of a bad guy. It is still his image in Germany. He is not just a bad cop, he is a worse cop. Maybe he can be a good coach and motivate his team but in our eyes he is just the whole opposite of Joachim Löw who is a gentleman drinking espresso in a nice cafe while Keane would a have beer in a pub.
I personally like guys like Keane. Maybe he was a bit over the top while playing but he is a leader.
Fabian Biastoch is an editor for Goal Germany and covered the 2014 World Cup. Follow Fabian on Twitter: @FabianBiastoch
Main image: Danilo Borges/Portal da Copa copa2014.gov.br