Germany out to claim Brazil berth against Irish
Germany coach Joachim Loew has said he is eager to dispatch the Republic of Ireland and confirm the German's Brazil 2014 berth in Friday's World Cup qualifier in Cologne.
Loew's Germany are five points clear at the top of Group A and need just a point to confirm their World Cup place against Ireland, who are fourth in the group under caretaker manager Noel King after Giovanni Trapattoni's resignation last month.
"Our goal is to secure qualification on home soil, we have had good memories of playing in Cologne, it's a tight stadium full of passionate fans and we want to make sure of the win," said Loew in Wednesday's press conference.
Loew has said he expects a tough match against the Irish, who he described as "defensively strong", and does not expect a repeat of Germany's 6-1 romp in Dublin during last year's qualifier.
The Germans are eager to wrap up their qualification at home ahead of Tuesday's final qualifier away to Sweden in Stockholm.
Against the Irish, Germany will be without injured winger Marco Reus and striker Miroslav Klose, who scored three of the six goals in Dublin between them, and it remains to be seen who Loew opts for as his lone striker.
Untested 25-year-old Max Kruse of Borussia Moenchengladbach is the only striker named in Loew's squad and the coach has already ruled out using Bayern Munich's right wing Thomas Mueller up front.
Loew has also said Bayern Munich captain Philipp Lahm will remain at right-back, despite having been switched to defensive midfield by Bayern coach Pep Guardiola for the European champions.
"I plan with him on the right for now," said Loew, who once played Lahm successfully in the defensive midfield in the 2-1 win over England at London's Wembley in 2007.
"He is probably the best wing back in the world and I don't want to reconstruct the midfield.
"Philipp is one of the few players in Germany who can play in all the outfield positions."