Coach Joachim Löw and the German national team are set to take on legendary Italian coach Giovanni Trapattoni and the Republic of Ireland this week.
World Cup qualifying for 2014 is underway as these two teams look to pick up an early win in the Group 3 table.
Next to Group 9, the Group 3 table stands as one of the more talented groups in qualifying this year. Germany and Sweden are always hard-hitting squads, while Ireland and Austria look to pull some upsets and qualify for the Cup.
Germany is coming off convincing and not-so-convincing wins last month in World Cup qualifying against Faroe Island and Austria, respectively.
Ireland is looking to prove they’re good enough to compete with the best, as they try their luck at this skillful German team.
Where: Aviva Stadium, Dublin 4, Dublin, Ireland
When: Friday, October 12, 2:45 p.m. EST
Germany: Is this team as good as years past?
This year’s German national team is well coached and talented, but do they have the desire?
Led by midfielder Mesut Özil and veteran forward Miroslav Klose, Germany looks to repeat their UEFA Euro 2012 performance and sweep the group stage.
Schweinsteiger says this team has been underrated going into qualifying. "I think the respect is missing a bit," Schweinsteiger said. "It is nowhere written down that we are going to win every game.
Certainly this German team is good, but their age is beginning to show in their first two World Cup qualifiers.
The 23-year-old Mesut Özil has played brilliantly in the qualifiers, scoring two goals against the Faroe Islands on September 7.
The veterans, on the other hand, have been quiet.
Philipp Lahm has looked uncomfortable on defense, collecting two yellow cards in two games, and 34-year-old Miroslav Klose has failed to score an international goal this season.
The Germans shouldn’t have too much of a problem knocking off Ireland on Friday, but Germany are going to have to lean on their young guns and distribute up the field to Özil, who has been their best player in two games.
In Germany’s game versus Austria on September 11, the Austrian attack exposed the German defense.
While the Germans were able to pull off a 2-1 victory, goalkeeper Manuel Neuer had to make six saves, as the Germans were outshot 14-to-7 by the Austrians.
Austrian forward Zlatko Junuzovic was able to beat Neuer in the 57th minute—the first goal against the Germans in the group stage.
14 shots from a team like Austria is unacceptable for this German defense. Not to knock Austria, but they aren't Spain, the U.S. or even Sweden.
This is a German team that went on a historic run in UEFA Euro 2012, winning 15-straight matches.
While Ireland failed to win a match in the European Championship, they’re well coached by Giovanni Trapattoni and have a great keeper in Kieren Westwood.
The German defense can’t be asleep in Friday’s game vs. Ireland.
Ireland: Will they be competitive against Germany?
Ireland has a legitimate chance of knocking off the Germans if they can expose the German defense.
Ireland’s hopes rest upon their veteran forward Robbie Keane.
Keane, who plays his club ball for the Los Angeles Galaxy, has been a force in the MLS this season. In 26 games, Keane has 15 goals and 7 assists with a ridiculous 81 shots. His 15 goals are good enough for fourth in the MLS in scoring.
Impressive stats, but Friday’s game for Ireland isn’t against an MLS squad.
Robbie Keane is going to have to single-handedly weave his way through this struggling German defense, as well as keep pace with Özil’s scoring.
Ireland looked shaky in their first World Cup qualifier against Kazakhstan September 7. They avoided a one in the loss column with two late goals by Robbie Keane and Kevin Doyle in the 89th and 90th minutes.
Trapattoni is going to have to rally his squad and motivate his defense to stop the German frontal attack to have any chance of being competitive.
This game between Germany and Ireland is going to be a lot closer than people think.
Expect a goal from Robbie Keane.
In the end, the Irish defense won’t be able to shut down Özil and Germany’s young guns.
Germany wins 3-1.