Ireland manager Giovanni Trapattoni has outlined his plans to play three men in midfield in an attempt to stifle the impact of the German’s creative playmaker Mesut Ozil.
Trapattoni said, "We put three midfielders on the pitch and one midfielder is for Ozil."
The Real Madrid attacker was has been prolific for both club and country – he scored 5 goals in Germany’s Euro 2012 campaign, and notched up an impressive 7 assists in 10 games, securing his reputation as Germany’s best international of 2011.
With three across midfield, it is thought that Robbie Keane will play as a lone striker, spearheading their attacking moves but Trapattoni’s side are likely to spend long periods of Friday’s game backed into their own box.
Aiden McGeady and Simon Cox are likely to play on the flanks but will be expected to put in a strong shift defensively, providing cover for the full backs.
Ireland also have goalkeeping woes to add to their concerns – Keiren Westwood missed training this week but Tardelli remained confident that he will start Friday’s game between the sticks.
However, Ireland’s hopes of qualification will be boosted by Germany’s list of absentees. Coach Joachim Loew will be without defender Mats Hummels, along with Lars Bender and Julian Draxler. But with their wealth of talent, the German boss is unlikely to be concerned.
His side are ranked number two in the world, boasting the likes of Sami Khedira, Bastian Schweinsteiger, Andre Schurrle, Lukas Podolski, Thomas Muller, Toni Kroos, Mario Gotze, Marco Reus, and Miroslav Klose.
Whilst the Republic of Ireland will be looking to minimize the impact of Ozil, they will, at the other end face one of the best goalkeepers in the world in Manuel Neuer and a strong defensive line that is likely to contain Per Mertesacker and captain Philipp Lahm.
image: © Jan S0L0