Although Germany manager Joachim Löw has an extremely limited choice on whom to start upfront for the world champions in their European Championship qualifying fixture against the Republic of Ireland, he must make the right one.
Failure to do so could result in Germany dropping points for the second straight game in a row following Saturday’s 2-0 defeat to Poland, thus making qualification a nervy subject indeed.
If the worst came to the worst and Löw’s side, despite all their midfield locomotion ended up either drawing or losing to Martin O’Neill's shamrock army then Germany could find themselves with a mountain to climb.
Indeed, if Poland beat Scotland in another Group D qualifier tomorrow evening, and Germany come up short again, then the newly crowned world champions could fall five points adrift of their staunch rivals in first place.
Budgies in disguise
Although Löw’s wingless Eagles showed signs of defensive frailties in Saturday’s shock defeat to Poland, with Borussia Dortmund pair Matts Hummels and Erik Durm specifically singled out, if stats are anything to go by, then Germany probably were unfortunate not to win the game.
The four-times World Cup winners managed 29 shots on goal, with nine of these being on target, compared to Poland who despite only having five attempts on Manuel Neuer’s net managed to squeeze in two.
Despite this impressive stat, Germany for all their aggression and determination to chase the game were utterly clueless and unusually sloppy when it came to the final product.
Thomas Mϋller, commonly referred to as Mr. Reliable had less of an impact on the game then Löw, whilst Mario Götze and Andre Schϋrrle were also unable to trouble Wojciech Szczesny for the entirety of the game.
Indeed, the three strikers, worth in the excess of £120 million combined were excellently kept at bay by a Polish defence who at times, despite their obvious lack of world class quality defended for their sheer lives, spurred on by the passionate home crowd.
All change, all change
Perhaps the only thing that either Mϋller, Götze or Schϋrrle were spurred on by was the thought of a hot drink and a comfy warm bed, a far-cry to both Lukas Podolski and Max Kruse who despite being brought into a hopeless place, were determined to give it their all.
Although neither the ageing Podolski or the bright-eyed Kruse might walk in the shadows of the elegant German trio, Löw wouldn’t be wrong to mix up the attacking line by bringing in either of them to prove their worth to the team.
For one thing, neither Mϋller or Götze are traditional strikers, whilst it would seem that the pair are under a considerable amount of pressure, sandwiched in-between a layer of fatigue, attributes which could backfire against a hungry Ireland team.
Both Löw and Germany are in need of a long-term replacement for the retired Miroslav Klose, and odds on it will be Borussia Mönchengladbach’s Max Kruse who will eventually fill the gaping void left by a man who became the World Cup all-time leading goal-scorer last summer.
Although the 54-year-old manager is under the illusion that he must play it safe and field an experienced side against Ireland in Gelsenkirchen on Tuesday, a start for Kruse could pay off both in the short and long run.
In the short run, being that industrious Germany midfielder will be able to feed a hungry traditional striker on Tuesday evening.
Whilst the long run if everything goes to plan tomorrow, and Kruse makes a good account of himself by scoring one or two goals for Germany tomorrow could leave him at the forefront of Löw’s future plans .
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