Preview: Germany vs. Republic of Ireland

Sports Mole looks ahead to Friday's World Cup qualifier between Germany and the Republic of Ireland.

The equation for hosts Germany is simple - claim maximum points from their clash against the Republic of Ireland on Friday night and they will have booked their place in next year's World Cup.

The Germans go into this fixture five points clear of second-placed Sweden, who they visit in their final qualifier next Tuesday.

However, Germany will have to collect a positive result without a number of attacking players, including Mario Gomez, Miroslav Klose, Lukas Podolski and Marco Reus - all of whom are injured.

Bayern Munich's Mario Gotze has been deemed fit enough, though, but he may start among the substitutes.

Meanwhile, visitors Ireland will be starting life without manager Giovanni Trapattoni, who left his position after last month's qualifier against Austria.

Noel King has been placed in interim charge while the FAI search for a successor to the veteran Italian. He has recalled Everton midfielder Darron Gibson, who had fallen out with Trapattoni.

Captain Robbie Keane missed training earlier today with an ankle problem, but it is not expected to rule him out of the encounter in Cologne.

When these sides met earlier in the qualifying campaign, Germany ran out 6-1 winners in Dublin.

Recent form

Germany: WWLDWW

ROI: WWLDLL

Possible starting lineups

Germany: Neuer; Lahm, Mertesacker, Boateng, Jansen; Khedira, Schweinsteiger; Kroos, Ozil, Draxler; Muller

ROI: Forde; Coleman, O'Shea, Dunner, St Ledger; McGeady, Gibson, McCarthy, Whelan, Pilkington; Keane

Sports Mole says: 3-0

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German head coach Joachim Loew reacts during the friendly football match Germany vs Paraguay on August 14, 2013
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