Wednesday 21 March 2018

Joachim Low: Ireland are physically stronger and more imaginative than Scotland

Germany manager Joachim Low during a press conference at The Intercontinental Hotel, Dublin. Credit: Brian Lawless/PA Wire.
Germany manager Joachim Low during a press conference at The Intercontinental Hotel, Dublin. Credit: Brian Lawless/PA Wire.

Damian Spellman

Germany boss Joachim Low has revealed that places in his Euro 2016 finals squad will be up for grabs until next May.

The world champions and Group D leaders head into Thursday night's penultimate qualifier against the Republic of Ireland in Dublin having put together a run of five successive victories to erase the memories of a difficult start to the campaign.

However, Low insists there is still room for players not yet part of the set-up to force their way into his plans.

He said: "That is anything but finalised. We do have a long list of players who can enter the squad at any time - the door is always open.

"The final selection will not be made before May 2016."

In the meantime, Low will set about the business of attempting to ensure his team continues its march towards the finals with victory at the Aviva Stadium, something they did not manage in Gelsenkirchen 12 months ago, but did on Irish soil in October 2012, when they hammered their hosts 6-1 in a World Cup qualifier.

But having seen John O'Shea snatch a shock away draw with an injury-time equaliser the last time the sides met, the Germans know the game is potentially tricky, but one in which they feel confident of success.

Low said: "Ireland are famous for defending very well, very strong defence, and if you look at the past encounters between our two nations, you don't always get a 6-1 result. On the contrary, in many more cases it was more matches of attrition than anything else.

"They are physically stronger than Scotland, also in some of their attacking play, they play more imaginatively than the Scots, so we have to be looking out for that.

"Ireland know how to make life hard for the opposition. They are very robust, very physical, but they can also score on the counter.

"We also know that Ireland have all to play for in the two games against Germany and Poland. They are even in with a chance of qualifying directly for France 2016 and have an excellent chance to finish at least third, and you also know that just like Scotland, they will fight until the very last minute.

"But having said all that, we are called upon to take the game to the opposition and impose our own match philosophy."

Defender Mats Hummels, who defended his outspoken assessment of his club Borussia Dortmund's 5-1 Bundesliga defeat at Bayern Munich on Sunday, was also under no illusions as to what to expect.

He said: "I remember some pretty fiery one v ones in the game in Gelsenkirchen. Obviously we will have more possession of the ball - that's only natural - but we have to be careful not to be caught out on the counter."

Press Association

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