herald

Wednesday 18 October 2017

Germans roll out the big guns for Euro Irish clash

Thomas Muller
Thomas Muller

IT COULD be seen as something of a weakness in terms of forward options available to Germany coach Joachim Loew that he named just two recognised strikers in his 20-man squad for their next two games in the Euro 2016 qualifiers, including their home date with Ireland in just 10 days' time.

But when you can include four midfielders who have an astonishing tally of 106 international goals between them, the manager of the reigning world champions can breathe easy as he prepares to face into a key spell in their qualification bid.

In contrast to the 106 international goals scored by that quartet of Thomas Mueller, Mesut Ozil, Lukas Podolski and Andre Schuerrle, the 13-strong midfield pack in the provisional Ireland squad named by Martin O'Neill last week have scored a career total of 16 goals for the Republic.

Loew yesterday announced his squad for the battles with Poland (away) and Germany (home) and even with the absence of the now-retired stars like Lahm, Klose and Mertesacker, star names jump off the page.

The German coach has named three English-based players (Mesut Ozil, Lukas Podolski and André Schuerrle), one from Real Madrid (Toni Kroos) and a further eight from the strong Bayern Munich/Borussia Dortmund axis.

The promotion of the uncapped Karim Bellarabi (Bayer Leverkusen) was the main talking point for the German mediawhile younger players like Matthias Ginter (Borussia Dortmund), Julian Draxler (Schalke)and Antonio Rudiger (Stuttgart) all get a chance.

"Bellarabi has been excellent for his club and he deserves this chance," says Loew.

"Even for us as world champions, qualifier for Euro 2016 is not automatic and we have two very tough games ahead of us."

Germany squad (v Poland/Ireland)

KEEPERS: Neuer (Bayern Munich), Weidenfeller (Borussia Dortmund), Zieler (Hannover).

DEFENDERS: Boateng (Bayern M), Durm, Ginter, Hummels (all Borussia D), Mustafi (Valencia), Rudiger (Stuttgart), Rudy (Hoffenheim).

MIDFIELDERS: Bellarabi (Bayer Leverkusen), Draxler (Schalke), Kramer (Borussia Monchengladbach), Kroos (Real Madrid), Muller (Bayern M), Özil, Podolski (Arsenal), Schurrle (Chelsea).

FORWARDS: Götze (Bayern M), Kruse (Borussia M).

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