Ireland might not be fancied to get a result against the second best team in the world, but midfielder Sami Khedira reckons Germany will be facing 12 men at the Aviva tomorrow night because of the home side’s fervent supporters.
On Monday Bastein Schweinsteiger, who will captain Germany in Philipp Lahm’s absence due to suspension, spoke about playing in front of the passionate Irish crowd. Yesterday, his teammate Khedira was equally effusive about the atmosphere generated by the Irish fans as he recalled their contribution at EURO 2012.
“The team is supported by fantastic fans,” he said speaking to www.dfb.de. “There has been a lot of talk about the mood in Gdansk during the Irish 4-0 loss to Spain. I find something inspiring in that. The fans have shown that there are situations in football, where results are not everything. We must adapt in Dublin as we are playing against a good team, but also against super fans.”
The Real Madrid midfielder seemed to remember the singing of the Fields of Athenry from the Irish supporters rather than the poor performance on the pitch in Poland of the Irish team. He claims that Germany have “great respect for the Irish team” and the 25 year old also has great respect for the Irish manager.
Giovanni Trapattoni managed Khedira earlier in his career at Stuttgart and the midfielder recalled that time with fondness and remembers the Italian’s thoroughness. “Wherever he was, he was successful. I was thrilled at the time (working with him). He was obsessed with details.”
Khedira, who has 35 caps and two goals for Germany, had the small matter of el Clasico on Sunday night where he played his part in Real Madrid earning a 2-2 draw in Barcelona.
He has been in the German training camp since Monday and is enjoying training as Joachim Loew gets his side organised to face Ireland. “The players understand each other very well. We are very focused and have used the training sessions to adapt to the style of play of the Irish team. We are very focused on our tasks, but still have a lot of fun. I enjoy spending time with the national team.”
Having beaten the Faroe Islands and Austria last month, Germany are already in prime position to qualify for Brazil 2014 and are looking to get another couple of wins over the next week; first in Dublin and then in Berlin against Sweden next Tuesday. “With six points we have got the maximum out of the first two games, which no one can take from us. But we also know that we can play better football than against the Faroe Islands and especially against the Austrians.
“In Vienna we needed a good dose of luck. So we have to improve if we are to succeed against Ireland and Sweden. If we do that, we are actually already a big step further (in qualifying). Our group is very balanced. This has an advantage for us in that teams like Sweden, Ireland and Austria will take points from each other.”
Macdara made his debut as a football supporter in Lansdowne Road watching Ireland defeat Liechtenstein. He still believes one day he will see his club Shamrock Rovers win an FAI Cup. You can follow Macdara on twitter @macdarabueller