Ireland vs. Germany: Germans That Will Lead Their Team to Victory in Ireland
Germany seeks to snap a two-year home winning streak for Ireland as qualifying for the 2014 World Cup continues Friday.
The Germans are off to a great start in qualifying as they are 2-0 in 2012 with wins over Faroe Islands and Austria. With only two defeats in its World Cup qualifying history, it's tough to envision the Germans not being favored in just about any match on its way to the World Cup.
On the other hand, Ireland enters the match with an unbeaten streak at home that stretches back to 2010 when the Irish lost a match 3-2 to Russia.
With both teams squaring off today, something has to give. Considering Germany's impressive record in qualifying, and current domination within its qualifying group the Germans should win this one. However, it must get a strong performance from its key players in the match.
Klose is one of the most prolific scorers in international football history.
With 64 career goals in international play, Klose finds himself only four goals away from tying the legendary Gerd Mueller for most international goals of all time.
With a myriad of injuries and a suspension for Phillipp Lahm, Germany will need a huge performance from one of its most experienced veterans on the attack. Expect Klose to narrow the gap between Mueller and himself with at least one goal against the Irish.
The 23-year-old Ozil has been a revelation for the German team in qualifying thus far.
Ozil adds a scoring punch to the German midfield and should provide the offense the Germans will need in this game. Ozil leads all scorers on this team with three goals in two games, including a two-goal performance against Faroe Islands and the deciding goal in the match against Austria on a penalty kick.
Expect Ozil to contribute once again by finding the net as Germany should get at least two goals from Ozil and Klose.
One thing that has helped Germany as a dominant team in international play has been the consistent presence of a great goalie.
Neuer played every single minute of every game in the Euro 2012 tournament and was heralded for his quality play there. His consistent play bailed out the German defense nearly any time they actually surrendered a decent shot attempt, rendering offenses as inept as possible.
Expect Neuer to shine when given the opportunity against this Irish squad. Ireland scored two goals in its first qualifying game against Kazakhstan so getting the clean sheet here will be difficult, but not outside of Neuer's ability.
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