Germany will be looking to settle themselves more comfortably at the top of Group C with a win over injury riddled Ireland. Giovanni Trapattoni's roster has been decimated by the loss a several key players, but Germany is struggling a bit with issues of their own.
Joachim Low will be forced to reorganize his defense with Mats Hummels and Lars Bender out. Team captain Philipp Lahm will also be unavailable as he serves a suspension. Arsenal's Lukas Podolski picked up an ankle injury last weekend and is not expected to play, though things could change at the last minute. There are also fitness concerns about Mario Gotze.
Even with all those issue, Germany are still the clear favorites over Ireland, even away. After all when you still have the likes of Sami Khedira, Thomas Muller, Mesut Özil, Mario Reus and Miroslav Klose at your disposal, things don't seem quite as bad. It also helps that Ireland are missing several key plyaers as well.
Trapattoni's first-choice center back pairing of Richard Dunne and Sean St Ledger are out, along with strikers Kevin Doyle and Robbie Keane. Darron Gibson and Glenn Whelan will also be unavailable. Basically, Ireland have a real mess, but Trapattoni refuses to allow the issue to be an excuse...which is all well and good to say, even if it's unrealistic.
If Ireland want to keep their hopes of qualifying for World Cup 2014 alive, they are going to need a result against Germany. The odds of that happening are clearly not in their favor.
Both sides are hit hard by injuries, but Ireland's problems are definitely more severe. Even without the likes of Mats Hummels and Philipp Lahm, there's enough depth in the German system to overcome. Ireland will have to find a way to get points missing key strikers, midfielders and defenders. Advantage: Germany.
Match Date/Time: 7:45 p.m. local, 2:45 p.m. ET
Venue: Aviva Stadium, Dublin, Ireland
TV: Gol TV (U.S.), Sky Sports 2 (U.K.), Gol TV (Canada)