GELSENKIRCHEN, Germany (AFP) – The Republic of Ireland travel to face besieged Germany in Tuesday’s Euro 2016 qualifier with Martin O’Neill’s side looking for a first win over the world champions in 20 years.
Ireland enjoyed a 2-0 win over Germany in May 1994 when Tony Cascarino and Gary Kelly scored either side of half-time in a Hanover friendly and the Republic are hoping to catch their hosts off-guard again in Gelsenkirchen.
Joachim Loew’s Germany are in a vulnerable state following Saturday’s shock 2-0 defeat to Poland in Warsaw – the Poles’ first win over their neighbours at the 19th attempt – which left the Germans fourth in Group D after two matches.
In contrast, the Irish are in buoyant mood having crushed minnows Gibraltar 7-0 in Dublin to go second in the group behind leaders Poland.
Ireland’s captain Robbie Keane wrapped up a hat-trick within 18 minutes of kick-off and says the goal-fest gave his side a welcome confidence boost.
“There is no reason why we can’t go there and get something out of the game,” said Keane.
“It’s going to be tough, they are the world champions and it will be completely different from the game against Gibraltar, but we are going there with confidence.”
Keane’s tally left him with 65 international goals as he also set a new record of 21 goals in European qualification matches, but even he is not sure of his place against the Germans.
O’Neill did not involve Glenn Whelan, Stephen Quinn, Jon Walters or Shane Long against Gibraltar as he used the depth of his squad and the 34-year-old Keane insists he is more concerned about the result than facing Loew’s world champions.
Germany have failed to impress in their three games since winning the World Cup, but Loew sees no reason to panic as he beds in a new team.