For Germany, the chance to officially clinch Group C at home will be appealing, and the Germans can all but guarantee their place in Brazil with a draw against Ireland.
Meanwhile, the Irish are out of contention for the World Cup after a disappointing group stage that saw Giovanni Trapattoni lose his job as manager. Still, there is enough talent on this squad for the Irish to give the Germans a real test.
Of course, Germany won the last meeting between these two teams in Dublin, 6-1, so the Irish will have to be just slightly better than they were a year ago to stand a chance.
When: Friday, October 11 at 2:30 p.m. ET
Where: RheinEnergieStadion, Cologne, Germany
Watch: ESPN2; WatchESPN
The Irish will see the return of Andy Reid (no, not the NFL coach), Darron Gibson and Anthony Stokes to the squad under interim manager Noel King, which could give the team a boost.
All in all, there is talent on this squad. Robbie Keane and Shane Long can put the ball in the net. Robbie Brady has been excellent for Hull this season, as has Seamus Coleman for Everton. James McCarthy is no slouch (another Everton man) as well. Plenty of Ireland's squad make their money in the Premier League.
Of course, the Germans are a powerhouse.
Even without Mario Gomez, Miroslav Klose, Marcel Schmelzer, Sven and Lars Bender, Lukas Podolski and Marco Reus, the Germans are loaded. Thomas Mueller has played at forward for Bayern Munich already this season. Bastian Schweinsteiger is healthy. Mario Goetze is available for the Germans.
Can a healthy Ireland squad halt the mighty but hurting Germans?
It seems unlikely. If Germany beat Ireland 6-1 in Dublin, what will they do to them in Cologne?
Ireland will surely be better, refreshed by the end of the Trapattoni era (or the Trapattoni error, depending which Irishman you ask), but they aren't good enough to derail one of the top teams in the world, especially since Germany can wrap up a place in Brazil with a win.
Ireland will put up a noble fight, but it won't be enough. Germany wins, 2-0.
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