Germany go in search of a third straight victory at the start of their World Cup qualifying campaign when they take on Group C rivals Ireland in the unique atmosphere that is always generated in Dublin.
The triple world champions last visited Dublin for a European Championship qualifier in 2007 and midfielder Bastian Schweinsteiger still has fond memories of the occasion.
“It is a special feeling playing there,” said Schweinsteiger, who is back in the squad for the first time since their Euro 2012 semi-final defeat by Italy.
“The atmosphere is different, it has this special something. We had the joy of playing there five years ago and it is difficult to win there. It would be a huge advantage to get the three points but they are a tough team with a clever fox of a coach [Giovanni Trapattoni],” he told reporters on Tuesday.
Germany, who have won only one of their last five encounters with Ireland, are without injured central defender Mats Hummels, midfielders Lars Bender and Ilkay Guendogan while captain Philipp Lahm is suspended.
The visitors, who had a 100 percent record in Euro 2012 qualifying with 10 victories in 10 games, want to maintain their fine run ahead of Tuesday’s clash with Sweden.
“The target is qualification and we have a lot of work to do in these two games,” team manager Oliver Bierhoff said. “These are the two toughest opponents in the group. After the last campaign when we won all 10 games, expectations are high.”
Coach Joachim Loew has had to soak up some criticism for the Euro 2012 semi-final exit and for the team being below their best in their opening two World Cup fixtures.
“We need to improve, we need to play better both when we have possession and when we do not have the ball,” Schweinsteiger said.
Ireland were extraordinarily lucky to escape from Kazakhstan with a victory in their first qualifier last month, scoring twice in the final two minutes to record a 2-1 victory that did little to ease the pressure on Trapattoni following a disappointing Euro 2012.
The Italian’s chances of matching the draw Ireland managed against Germany the last time the sides met in Dublin almost five years to the day have been hit by a string of injuries.
Central defensive partners Richard Dunne and Sean St Ledger, midfielder Glenn Whelan and striker Kevin Doyle are out, as is young Sunderland winger James McClean.
The absentees at the back are likely to mean that former Manchester United defender John O’Shea will move to center half alongside Darren O’Dea who plays his club football in Canada.
Ireland: Keiren Westwood, Stephen Kelly, Stephen Ward, John O’Shea, Darren O’Dea, James McCarthy, Aiden McGeady, Keith Andrews, Robbie Keane, Jon Walters, Simon Cox.
Germany: Manuel Neuer, Jerome Boateng, Holger Badstuber, Per Mertesacker, Marcel Schmelzer, Sami Khedira, Bastian Schweinsteiger, Mesut Ozil, Thomas Mueller, Lukas Podolski, Miroslav Klose.