Despite being under orders to secure a famous victory by the FAI, Noel King could be forgiven for fielding 1 goalkeeper, 8 defenders and 2 midfielders in his starting line up on Friday evening.
Unbeaten Germany have scored 28 goals so far in 8 games, 6 of which came in the humiliating win at the Aviva Stadium in October 2012. They have also conceded just 7 goals, an average of .875 a game and have won 7 of their 8 games so far with only Sweden managing to take a point off them.
In contrast Ireland have lost three games so far, drawn 2 and only recorded wins against the two group minnows, the Faroe Islands and Kazakhstan.
They have scored 13 and conceded 13 and while their defensive record, late goals aside, is not too much of a concern once the German result is taken into consideration King might still have been have being tempted to name a side that included David Forde, Joey O’Brien, Paul McShane, Sean St. Ledger, Marc Wilson, Ciaran Clarke, Seamus Coleman, Stephen Kelly, Damien Delaney, Paul Green and Darron Gibson.
However despite the numbers and the difference in form King will send his side out with orders to do whatever it takes to takes to secure what would be a famous and against all odds win.
With that in mind, a more likely line-up will see Forde in goal with Wilson and Coleman will man the flanks.
St. Ledger will be asked to provide the experience at the back alongside Aston Villa youngster Clarke.
Given their interaction at club level there is a strong likelihood that Gibson and James McCarthy will form the midfield pairing
The expectation is that Ireland are going to be chasing the ball and on the back foot for the majority of the game so there is a strong chance that Wes Hoolahan, comfortable in possession and with an eye for a pass could be drafted in to midfield alongside the pair especially as King does favour a 4-5-1 system.
The focus will be on protecting an inexperienced back four and there is talk that Anthony Stokes could join the midfield with the Celtic man being tipped to do a man-marking job from deep on Germany’s playmaker supreme Mesut Ozil.
King was impressed by Stokes performance in a similar role against Sergio Busquets in the Champions league defeat to Barcelona.
Robbie Keane, fresh from his weekend goal haul for LA Galaxy will return to being the main front man rather than playing in the hole.
Shane Long looks set to pay the price for his poor recent form with a place on the bench while Anthony Pilkington’s tough start to International football is set to continue with a place on the right.
Andy Reid’s International exile is more than likely set to end against Kazakhstan next week although he could be drafted in should Ireland need someone to keep possession. Gibson lack’s of football in recent weeks means he is unlikely to play a full game meaning that Paul Green could feature.
It promises to be a tough night for the Boys in Green but if King gets the players to believe in their task and gets his tactics right on the night than Ireland could very well come away with the crown jewels.
|Friday 11th Oct||International Football||
|17:00||Azerbaijan v Northern Ireland||
|19:45||Wales v Macedonia||
|19:45||Germany v Republic Of Ireland||
|20:00||England v Montenegro||
|21:00||Spain v Belarus||