Löw expects to see off technically deficient Ireland in Cologne
Head coach can’s see Germany failing to wrap up Group C victory tonight
While Germany’s head coach Joachim Löw spoke kindly of Ireland’s never-say-die spirit last night, he also clearly expressed his conviction that his side would win in Cologne tonight. Photograph: Franck Fife/AFP/Getty Images
The more things change, the more they stay the same. At least, when it comes to the Republic of Ireland’s style of play, according to Germany manager Joachim Löw.
Without flinching in his response to the second question at yesterday’s press conference in Dusseldorf, the 53-year-old dampened the hopes of many Irish supporters who had been clinging to the hope that better days were ahead.
Measured, but cutting
As he relayed to the media, his expectations ahead of tomorrow night’s World Cup qualifier in Cologne – where victory will see Germany book a place at next summer’s finals – Löw was measured, but cutting in his assessment of Ireland.
In his view, there has always been an “Irish way” of playing that opts for physicality over technique and intensity over patience. It is simply in the players’ blood and no manager, not Giovanni Trapattoni nor his eventual successor, can alter that.
“They will never play any kind of holding game or pass it around like Barcelona do – you will never see any Irish team playing like that, so it doesn’t really matter who coaches them,” explained Löw.
“It really doesn’t matter who plays for Ireland or who wears an Ireland shirt because at the end of the day, they are more or less similar. They all play the same way and it’s in their DNA that they all play the Irish way.
“This is how we’ve known the Irish for all those years. They always fight to the end until they drop dead on the pitch and it doesn’t really matter if they are 1-0 down or 3-0 down, giving up is just not an option.
“Also it is in their tradition and their mentality that they have a never-say-die attitude, which is also reflected in Gaelic football and rugby, so there is a great physicality to their game.”
Unaware of Ireland’s interim boss Noel King or his tactical approach to games, Löw instead referred to history when summing up what he expected from tomorrow’s opponents once battle commences in the Rhein Energie Stadium – and that is pretty much more of the same.
The Germany manager went to great lengths to inform the local media this will not be the same team that they hammered 6-1 at Aviva Stadium last year.
Even if King lines his players up in a 4-2-3-1 formation, Löw believes that old habits and natural instincts will eventually force their Group C rivals into reverting back to their “physical” approach.
“While they will try to be a little more flamboyant and adventurous when playing at home, they will come here, sit back and adopt a wait and see attitude.
“It doesn’t really matter who is coaching them or who their head coach is because the Irish mentality will never change,” said Löw.
“Suspensions don’t play a role either, they will always give their all and will never change the way that they play. They are a compact team who play a physical game and try to get the ball forward as quickly as possible and finish as fast as possible.
“Even if they don’t have a chance to go through to the World Cup, they will definitely not come here and give presents away – any one who thinks that is badly mistaken. Ireland are not a walkover, anything but.”
Regarding his own team’s situation, Löw cooly handled questions on the absent Stefan Kiesling, a reported falling out with defender Mat Hummels, and whether Phillip Lahm should be switched from right back to midfield.
Any trip-wire the media tried to guide him towards was expertly avoided but he was firm in his expectations of beating Ireland and be crowned as Group C victors.
“Our objective is to qualify against Ireland and we want to show the Cologne public that we can beat an Irish team that will be defensively structured, especially away from home,” said Löw.
Injuries leave Germany short of several players, including the striking trio of Miroslav Klose, Lukas Podoloski and Mario Gomez, but Löw has the utmost faith in his team’s style of play winning out.