independent

Thursday 17 April 2014

German defence is vulnerable, says Marco Tardelli

Marco Tardelli, assistant coach.

MARCO TARDELLI believes that Germany have defensive weaknesses that Ireland can expose at Lansdowne Road on Friday.

The build-up to the World Cup qualifier has been dominated by injuries in the Irish camp, which have strengthened Germany's position as odds-on favourites to come away comfortably with all three points.

However, Tardelli (right) feels that home fans still have reason to be optimistic, citing recent evidence that the German rearguard can be troubled.

Austria gave Joachim Loew's men some difficulty before falling to a 2-1 defeat in Vienna last month, while Argentina knocked three past the Germans in August.

The suspension of Philipp Lahm and injuries to Mats Hummels and Lars Bender has forced Loew to change his planned back four, and the Ireland assistant coach feels there are vulnerabilities that can be exploited.

"We will not try to play in the same way as Austria, but we will try to create some problems, the same problems," said Tardelli.

"I think if we try and press their defence then it is possible to do some things. Maybe defence is one area where they are not as strong. In the middle and on the wings they are very strong.

"We need to press Germany to recover the ball. It is important for us and we need to choose the right moment, because if we choose the wrong time, they can do damage to us."

Tardelli confirmed that Ireland will switch to a 4-3-3 for the Lansdowne Road encounter, and indicated that Keith Fahey will get the nod ahead of David Meyler to partner Keith Andrews and James McCarthy in the engine room.

He refused to get into discussion on the identity of the front three but, in training yesterday, Robbie Keane was flanked by Simon Cox and Aiden McGeady.

Keane and McGeady are certs, while Cox is battling it out with Jon Walters for the one remaining place. The starting attackers will be instructed to play at a high tempo to upset the Germans, with Shane Long kept in reserve with a view to making a second-half impact.

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