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'We know how dangerous the Irish are' - Germany boss issues warning ahead of Aviva encounter

Several of Joachim Loew’s stars were involved in Bayern Munich’s 5-1 rout of Dortmund.

Image: Jeff Holmes

JOACHIM  LOEW IS both battling time and fatigue ahead of Thursday’s key Euro 2016 qualifier away to Ireland, but wants the world champions to finish their qualifying campaign in style.

Group D leaders Germany face the Republic of Ireland, who are third and four points behind the Germans, away on Thursday, then host second-from-bottom Georgia in Leipzig on Sunday in their final qualifier.

Several of Loew’s stars were involved in Bayern Munich’s 5-1 rout of Dortmund in the Bundesliga’s top-of-the-table clash on Sunday, the same day Mesut Ozil scored for Arsenal in their 3-0 hammering of Manchester United in the Premier League.

A draw in Dublin would confirm Germany’s place at Euro 2016.

Loew said he noticed a few tired faces when the squad started to arrive at the team base in Frankfurt on Monday — less than 24 hours after playing for their respective clubs — and he has just two sessions before the flight to Dublin.

“That’s never been the case before and we still have a difficult programme ahead of us,” Loew told SID, an AFP subsidiary.

Last month’s 3-1 win over over Poland in Frankfurt and a 3-2 victory against Scotland in Glasgow put them in control of their group.

Loew praised his side for “excellently implementing” his game plan and proving “they can retrieve a class performance when it matters most”.

Having drawn 1-1 with the Irish in Gelsenkirchen last October, when centre-back John O’Shea scored a 90th-minute equaliser, Germany are taking nothing for granted.

“We know how dangerous the Irish are, not just from our home match,” said Loew, who can expect a hot reception from the 50,000-strong crowd at the Aviva Stadium.

“Playing against the Irish in Dublin is never a foregone conclusion.

“But I have great confidence in my players, they know what it takes and I need players who are in a good rhythm.”

Loew can certainly rely on that.

Manuel Neuer, Jerome Boateng, Thomas Mueller and Mario Goetze were all outstanding in Bayern’s hammering of Dortmund.

Boateng provided two superb long balls which led to goals, Mueller netted twice and Goetze also scored while running his ex-club ragged.

Likewise, Mesut Ozil had one of his best games for Arsenal.

“I’m fit and I’m looking forward to it,” said Ozil ahead of his country’s final two qualifiers.

Reserve goalkeeper Bernd Leno of Bayer Leverkusen let in a calamitous goal in Sunday’s 1-1 draw with Augsburg when he failed to connect with a clearance and the ball rolled into his own net, but Neuer will start for Germany.

Bastian Schweinsteiger is expected to captain the side and winger Karim Bellarabi is questionable with a shoulder injury, but Loew expects experience to play an important role with ‘cool heads and patience’ needed in Dublin.

- © AFP, 2015

Originally published Monday at 20.56

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