Germany-Republic of Ireland Preview: Low's men will qualify for World Cup with a win

Germany will earn automatic FIFA World Cup qualification with a game to spare if they beat the managerless Republic of Ireland on Friday.

Germany will earn a place in World Cup 2014 with a game to spare if they beat coach-less Republic of Ireland on Friday.

Joachim Low’s men top Group C of the European qualification section, five points ahead of second-placed Sweden with just two games to go, and have not lost to Ireland - whose head trainer Giovanni Trapattoni left last month - since 1994.

However, the pool leaders are without a number of players for the encounter at the Rhein Energie Stadion, with Mario Gomez, Miroslav Klose, Lukas Podolski and Marco Reus among the regular squad members missing through injury.

Trapattoni's departure after five years in charge of the Irish came after the country's 1-0 defeat to Austria on September 10, which all-but-ended their hopes of making the play-offs.

However, caretaker boss Noel King will want to finish the qualifiers on a high against Germany and Kazakhstan, as doing so could help them move above Austria into third and improve their coefficient ranking for future campaigns.

History is not on their side though, as Germany won the last meeting between the teams in Dublin last October 6-1 and have lost just twice in eight games against Ireland overall. 

Forward Jonathan Walters and goalkeeper Kieren Westwood are both unavailable for King through injury, although captain Robbie Keane - who has 60 goals for his country - is in line to win his 130th cap in Cologne.