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Wednesday 23 August 2017

Joachim Loew says he is expecting an "unpleasant" night against Ireland

Germany's Joachim Loew. Picture credit: Dennis Grombkowski/Bongarts/Getty Images
Germany's Joachim Loew. Picture credit: Dennis Grombkowski/Bongarts/Getty Images

WORLD Cup winning manager Joachim Loew says he is expecting an "unpleasant" night at home to Ireland in the Euro 2016 qualifiers in 11 days' time.

With a 2-1 win at home to Scotland under their belts from the opening day of the Euro qualifiers, the Germans face into two big tests, a tricky tie away to Poland next Saturday before a home meeting with Ireland, in Gelsenkirchen, on Tuesday week.

Loew stepped up his preparations for the double-header yesterday when he named his 20-man squad including big names like Ozil, Muller, Gotze, Neuer, Kroos, Podolski and Kruse.

With an aggregate score of 10-1 from the four meetings with Ireland since he became national team boss, Loew has the edge but while that massive game in Warsaw next week is his initial focus, he's also wary of Ireland under their new management team.

"Ireland have a new coach in Martin O'Neill and they, like us, started off the qualifiers with a win," said Loew.

"It can be unpleasant to play against them. Most of their players play in the Premier League in England, they are strong and never give up. The football culture of the Irish people excites me, they have a real passion and devotion for their team.

"I expect a very intense game but I am looking forward to the atmosphere in Gelsenkirchen."

The Germans have won their qualifying group in every Euro campaign but Loew says he is not taking that for granted.

"Even for the world champions, Euro 2016 qualification is not automatic," he says.

"But I have confidence in the players and these games against Ireland and Poland are an opportunity for us to push forward."

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