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I will answer Long question 'after the game': Trapattoni

GIOVANNI Trapattoni is under no illusions about the scale of the fixture and the task ahead in tonight's World Cup qualifier against Germany: "This is the most important game in the group."

Perhaps not for Germany but definitely for Ireland and Trapattoni knows that a defeat would make the rest of the qualifying series an uphill climb.

"This is the most important match in the series, one of those games I'd love to play myself. I played in many matches likes this and I was always very, very excited before the game," he said.

"I've been looking forward and hope that everything we have prepared will happen in the pitch without any surprises," added Trapattoni.

Hit by the late withdrawal of Robbie Keane, his main supply of goals throughout the last four years, Trapattoni chose to pick Simon Cox and Jon Walters ahead of Shane Long.

"In many games, the Germans finish with the same strength they start and it is important at the right moment to make a change, give the opposition a surprise.

"Why not start Long? I will answer that one after the game."

Trapattoni pointed to a relatively tight set of statistics down through the years, implying that this one will be close as well.

"According to the statistics, we have played against Germany 18 times. The Germans have won eight, Ireland six and four draws. Five years ago it was a draw."

Trapattoni hedged his bets when asked about the threat posed by Mesut Ozil, balancing German ability against Irish commitment and balance.

"I marked Pelé, Eusebio and Cruyff, players who were sometimes impossible to mark. Players like Ozil and (Thomas) Muller are very difficult to mark.

"We must be in good balance and we must play against this with good order.

"We cannot concede much space because they are fast and they are creative. Our commitment and balance will be very, very important.

"In the last month, we tried to change the team a lot and this team is very, very young.

"James McCarthy has retained his confidence after every game and I have confidence and trust in both him and Seamus Coleman.

"It is time to change the page and look at the new energy.

"I want my players do what they have been doing on the training pitch and then we can have a game with Germany."