A 2-1 win in Kazakhstan last month got the Republic of Ireland’s World Cup qualifying campaign off to a winning start, albeit in rather unconvincing fashion as they needed late goals from Robbie Keane and Kevin Doyle to secure all three points against a side who currently sit 119 places below them in the Fifa rankings.
Next up for Giovanni Trapattoni’s men is the visit of Euro 2012 semi-finalists Germany, who head into the game having won both their opening qualifying matches, defeating the Faroe Islands 3-0 in Berlin before picking up maximum points in Austria with a 2-1 win last month that sees them top Group C early on.
That last victory means Germany have now won 12 successive qualifying matches – they secured their place at this summer’s European Championships with a 100% record after ten qualifiers – and they’ll fancy their chances of increasing that number against an injury-hit Ireland in Dublin at the Aviva Stadium on Friday evening.
Trapattoni is without the services of his regular central defensive partnership in Richard Dunne and Sean St Ledger, while James McClean, Glenn Whelan, Kevin Doyle and record goalscorer Robbie Keane also miss out through injury, with Shay Given and Damien Duff unavailable for selection following their recent international retirements.
Over 2.5 goals have been scored in 21 of the last 23 matches involving Loew’s men and that outcome is worth considering once again.
Unsurprisingly, given the gulf in quality of the two squads on paper, Joachim Loew’s side have been priced as odds on favourites to make it three wins out of three in Group C at 9/25, with the draw at 15/4, while an Irish win can be backed at 7/1 in the bwin 3way football betting market.
There has been much talk before the game as to how the Irish side will cope with Mesut Ozil, who has three goals from his last two internationals and is likely to be closely marked, but the Irish midfield will also have to contain the likes of Bastian Schweinsteiger, Thomas Muller, Marco Reus and Mario Gotze.
Ireland would certainly settle for a similar scoreline as when the sides previously met five years ago in qualifying for Euro 2008, as they managed to gain a share of the spoils at Croke Park in a 0-0 draw.
However, such a scoreline looks unlikely to repeat itself, judging by Germany’s recent fixtures.
Over 2.5 goals have been scored in 21 of the last 23 matches involving Loew’s men and that outcome is worth considering once again at odds of 18/25, while a similar bet would have returned a profit in four of Ireland’s last six internationals, including their previous outing, a 4-1 victory in a friendly against Oman.
While it certainly appears to be an uphill task for Trapattoni’s side, they can take some hope from the fact that Germany have kept just one clean sheet in their previous seven matches and will be without regular defenders Mats Hummels and captain Philip Lahm, so backing both teams to find the net at 19/20 could prove fruitful.
Of course, it’s not beyond the realms of possibility that Ireland can take get something from the game, given they are playing at home in front of what will be a passionate crowd.
But unfortunately, there is no evidence from their performances at the European Championships or their laboured win over Kazakhstan to suggest they will pose the German side any major problems.
The over 2.5 goals selection alone seems the safe way to go, but backing Germany to win another game of three or more goals could offer a slightly better return at 21/20.
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