Joachim Löw, the Germany coach, has warned his players they have gone from hunter to prey since winning the World Cup.
Löw’s men take on the Republic of Ireland in Gelsenkirchen having surrendered a 33-game unbeaten run in European Championship qualifiers with a 2-0 defeat in Poland on Saturday, a result which followed a friendly loss to Argentina and a narrow win over Scotland.
But while Löw insisted the weight of success is not a burden for his team, he admitted the label does serve to inspire whoever they come up against. He said: “The difficulties we are experiencing at the moment are of a type that we have experienced many times before. But generally speaking, I don’t think the position now is any more difficult than it’s always been.
“We used to be the hunter; now we are the prey. We know that teams like Scotland will play with incredible motivation against us, but that was true even after [the World Cup in] 2010 and [Euro] 2012.
“We know the situation, we know how to get by it, but it’s no different now than it used to be.”
Germany will expect to right the wrongs of Warsaw in against an Ireland team which has beaten both Georgia and Gibraltar so far.
Martin O’Neill’s side, for whom John O’Shea is expected to win his 100th cap tonight, will not sit back against the world champions. “We have our own plan. I can’t turn around say, ‘Stick to plans’. Best-laid plans can disappear after five minutes in a match,” O’Neill said, “We are going with some confidence into the game. “If we are pressed back, then OK, but if we deliberately sit in, then Germany will eventually pick you off
“We want to try to attack as well. It’s a game to relish. It’s one where we want to go out and do something about the game, not just let the game disappear.”Reuse content