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Germans' bonus talks show gulf in expectations

EARLIER this week Keith Andrews told of how facilities for players in Germany were in a "different world" to this neck of the woods, some info he'd heard from Shay Given from the Lifford man's time at a top-notch German clinic when he was trying to shake off an injury before Euro 2012.

And there's already a sign from the German squad that they think differently to our boys.

While news from the Ireland camp since the players arrived on Sunday has concentrated on our injury worries, the German squad spent time at their HQ in Frankfurt working out their bonus system for the World Cup finals.

Before we get a head of steam and fire up some anger with reports about cocky Germans talking about World Cup bonuses with only two games played in the qualifiers, they're entitled to their sense of superiority, as Germany have never failed to qualify for a major tournament and have always done so with automatic qualification, never going through the play-offs so often frequented by the Irish team.


The deal which the German FA has done will see each player, upon the successful completion of the qualification process, get €20,000 for each appearance in the qualifiers.

"This shows once again that we have a trusting relationship with our senior team," said the German FA.

Safe to say that a sit-down with John Delaney to thrash out a bonus payment for each of the lads was not a priority for captain Robbie Keane when he landed in Dublin late on Monday.

With such a tough group - presuming Germany will win the pool as usual, Ireland are battling with decent outfits Sweden and Austria to even get into the play-offs -- talk of a bonus for getting to Brazil seems as far off as Brazil itself and talk of qualification is unthinkable.

The Germans do like playing in Dublin - they secured qualification for Euro 2008 thanks to a 0-0 draw in Croke Park, becoming the first team to qualify for that tournament - and League of Ireland games are regularly visited by small but enthusiastic batches of Bundesliga fans who enjoy the delights of Richmond Park or Dalymount Park on a Saturday night.

"I have had the pleasure of playing in Ireland before," says midfielder Bastian Schweinsteiger.

"It is always something really special to play in Ireland. It is not easy to win a game there because the Irish are very strong and combative, they play with heart and have a wily coach. Also they have a passionate crowd; the atmosphere there is always fantastic." .

There's talk of respect and admiration too from the coaching staff.

Oliver Bierhoff, the snappy dresser who acts as assistant to manager Joachim Low, says that he sees Ireland and Sweden as the main threats to Germany in the group, though we've yet to hear how that view has gone down in neighbouring Austria, who are also in this group and feel that a young, new Austrian side can make a decent stab at qualification.

But for all that, the Germans are the only ones who have already agreed World Cup bonuses for their players. That's Teutonic efficiency for you.