Republic of Ireland manager Giovanni Trapattoni says Friday night’s World Cup qualifier against Germany is the type of game he would love to play in.
“It’s most important match in our pool, it’s one of those match that I would like to play in myself,” Trap told reporters in Dublin ahead of the match.
“I played many matches like this, I was so excited. I hope everything we have prepared and studied will happen in the pitch without surprise.
“For me, it’s special, I am very excited, it’s so important. I have fond memories of Germany, I know their players. They have such quality in Muller, Gomez, Gotze, Klose, Ozil, Podolski,” added the Italian, who has managed Bayern Munich and Stuttgart.
The 73-year-old named three central midfielders in his team, Keith Andrews, Keith Fahey and James McCarthy, but would not confirm the formation, saying that he may decide to go 4-4-2 or 4-3-3.
But one thing he did rule out was the deployment of a man-marker on Germany’s Mesut Ozil. “No,” replied the manager, when asked if he would task a single player to keep tabs on the Real Madrid man.
“Because I choose this team, I think it’s impossible to change. I was a player marking famous players, Pele, Eusebio, Cruyff. They were players who were impossible to mark. Ozil is very difficult to mark.
“We have to have our balance, good order, not concede space because of their pace and creativity.”
The challenge facing the Boys in Green is highlighted by the fact that Germany (and West Germany) have never been beaten in a World Cup qualifier away from home. If history is to be made in Dublin tomorrow, it will have to be achieved without captain and record goalscorer Robbie Keane, who is out with an Achilles injury.
In addition to the missing LA Galaxy player, Ireland are without Richard Dunne, Sean St Ledger, Glenn Whelan, who all would have started if fit, as well as Kevin Doyle and James McClean.
Trapattoni said: “In terms of experience, we have a little bit of worry about the famous players. Keane scored and made the penalty against Kazakhstan.
“He has scored many goals in MLS over the last few weeks. But we have a good chance because we have other strikers. We start with strong forwards [Jonathan Walters and Simon Cox] because this could be a physical game.”
On a lighter note, Trap was asked by a German journalist if it was true that he pours holy water over the bench before big games. He replied: “No, I pour it over myself. I am a believer.”