Jonathan Walters will lead the Irish frontline this evening.

by Leighton Cullen

The Irish welcome Germany to the Aviva Stadium tomorrow night in a tie most Irish people are looking towards with a sense of three emotions – fear, excitement or a mixture of both. Ireland go into this major game without the retired duo of Given and Duff along with Whelan, Keane, Dunne, St Ledger, McClean, and Doyle all ruled out by injury. Each of the aforementioned players had a key part in the recent ill-fated Euros.With the amount of absentees in a decimated squad Trap has been forced to go against type and chop and change. Leaving his preferred 4-4-2 behind it will more likely be a solid 4-5-1 and it will be intriguing to see how Coleman, O’Dea, Fahey and the returning Andrews fit in to it.

As is now the norm the selections – even from such slender pickings – has made many scratch their heads in bemusement and throughout the team there is the Y-factor. Why O’Dea instead of Ciaran Clark? Why Ward ahead of Wilson, or Cox ahead of the in form Shane Long? All these questions are exacerbated when you’re about to play one of the best teams in world football.

There are positives to be found however. The creative midfield should produce chances with Andrews hopefully holding and McCarthy and Fahey free to open up when in possession. And it’s certainly an interesting line-up from Trap – a step to a future he won’t play any part in.

In the German ranks Jogi Loew has a squad of superstars to choose from all as familiar as they are deadly. Ozil, Muller, Schweinsteiger, Poldolski, Gotze, Hummels and Reus are all classy players with big reps but how will the react to the Aviva roar of the home crowd as they back the boys in green? Will they be rattled by the crowd or will they just show up with their German ways and put on a masterclass?

Whatever Ozil and co do I just hope Ireland put together a performance the home fans can be proud of. Considering recent disappointments we deserve that at least.
The Irish team for tomorrow is.
Westwood, Coleman, O’Shea (captain), O’Dea, Ward, Andrews, Fahey, McCarthy, McGeady, Walters, Cox.