CAN Ireland pull off an unexpected result against Germany in Dublin on Thursday night? Mark O’Haire (@MarkOHaire) takes a look at the odds.
Republic of Ireland v Germany | Thursday 19.45 | Sky Sports 1
To term a cricketing analogy, this is a ‘free hit’ for Ireland. The world champions are in town and the Boys In Green know anything other than a defeat would be a bonus. Events in Glasgow are arguably more important than this Aviva Stadium duel.
With Scotland playing Poland, Martin O’Neill’s men know they must match or better the Scots points return in that clash during their fixtures with the Germans and Poland over the next few days. Of course, avoiding defeat in Dublin would be a huge fillet but lets be honest, highly unlikely.
The sides shared a 1-1 draw when they met in Gelsenkirchen last year but Die Mannschaft were hungover from their World Cup exploits and John O’Shea’s stoppage-time leveller was improbable and undeserved – I’m not ashamed to admit that. Germany out-shot Ireland 22-4 and the 94th minute equaliser was Ireland’s first effort on target.
O’Neill’s ordered his troops not to fear the Germans but that’s easier said than done when you’re fielding a patched up XI. Seamus Coleman and Wes Hoolahan are major doubts, Ciaran Clark and Marc Wilson are definitely out, Aiden McGeady is undercooked whilst Glenn Whelan and James McClean are suspended. You’ve a good case to say at leas four regular starters are unavailable for the hosts.
The last time Germany arrived in Dublin for a qualifier, they ran out 6-1 winners and Joachim Low's men make the journey on the back of five successive victories, to illustrate their enduring class. Die Mannschaft hit 19 goals in those fixtures. The visitors need just a point to secure qualification but any suggestion they’ll go easy on the Irish has already been laughed off.
The Republic can call upon a mighty impressive Dublin record when looking at qualification matches, losing just six of their previous 53 dating back to 1996. But the Irish have not beaten the top seeded team in any qualification campaign since 2001 and their W4-D3-L2 return in meaningful matches since Euro 2012 is far from encouraging.
The stats are rather overwhelming when looking at this match and you’d be a brave soul to go against them. For starters, Germany have had the most shots in qualifying – 28 more than Belgium who are next on the list. Die Mannschaft have W17-D1-L1 in their 19 away qualifiers since the 2010 World Cup and run out winners by more than a one-goal margin in six of their last eight away qualifiers.
In fact, the Germans have been beaten just once in 34 of their qualifiers on foreign soil this century, they’ve plundered 48 goals in their last 14 road trips during qualification, netted two or more in 12 of their previous 13 and scored twice or more in 25 of their last 27 qualifiers home or away. That’s quite disconcerting.
I’ll stick BetVictor’s 13/15 on Germany -1 in the Asian Handicap down as a gimme. We win if the visitors are victors by two goals or more but if they only manage a win by a one-goal margin, we get our cash back. An Ireland win or draw sees the selection lose. But there are more potential punts to get involved with…
Now, the Boys In Green have looked worryingly toothless against Scotland and Georgia in recent outings but even so, Ireland have a strong record when it comes to getting goals on home soil – they’ve netted in all bar two of their most recent 25 Dublin dates, 15 of those featuring winning Both Teams To Score bets.
For all Germany’s superior qualities, their recent return of just four clean sheets in 12 away qualifiers, with seven also going the way of BTTS, opens up the idea of backing Germany win and Both Teams To Score. BetVictor have made it an 11/5 play and it’s worth a wee nibble.
For those looking for something a little shorter, Germany have been involved with 11/13 Over 2.5 Goals matches on the road during qualification with six also producing four or more goals. Germany to win and Over 2.5 Goals is 6/5 with Boylesports with the Over 3.5 Goals alternative available at 11/4 with the same firm.
Elsewhere, Thomas Muller has been unstoppable in 2015/16, scoring 13 goals in 13 appearances. The Bayern Munich hitman has scored eight goals in seven qualifiers and can be backed at 11/8 with 888 to enhance that record at the Aviva. I wouldn’t want to be opposing him on Thursday night.
Republic of Ireland v Germany – Germany -1 Asian Handicap (13/15 BetVictor)
Republic of Ireland v Germany – Germany to win and Both Teams To Score (11/5 BetVictor)
Republic of Ireland v Germany – Thomas Muller to score at anytime (11/8 888)
Just four clean sheets in their last 12 away qualifiers, Ireland stand a great chance of notching on Thursday night. After all, they've done so in 23 of their last 25 Dublin outings so how do you fancy backing them to net a goal at 5/1?
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