'Proud' Irish impress Low
Germany coach Joachim Low has paid a glowing tribute to the Republic of Ireland team and warned his players not to underestimate their hosts in Dublin on Friday night
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Germany beat the Faroe Islands and Austria in their first World Cup qualifying matches last month to remain unbeaten in qualifying for major competitions since October 2007, stretching their winning streak to 12 matches
However, the most serious test of that record is expected at the Aviva Stadium, according to Low, who used Ireland's performances at Euro 2012 as an example.
"The Irish never gave up and always fought back, even when they were behind," he said. "They were so proud to play for their country.
"That impressed me. I expect there to be a fantastic atmosphere and I expect the Irish to play at a very high tempo and with a high level of intensity, and we are going to have to resist.
"We must not think at any time that the Irish will accept defeat."
Pride is one thing lacking in the Germany camp if the words of vice-captain Bastian Schweinsteiger, who will lead the team out as captain due to the suspension of Philipp Lahm, are to be believed.
The Bayern Munich midfielder complained in several newspaper interviews published in Germany this week that the atmosphere in the national team is poor compared to how it is with Bayern.
Schweinsteiger said he felt nobody who was sat on the bench at Euro 2012 enjoyed participating in the side's success in reaching the semi-finals.
"I have spoken to him and he has explained to me his opinion and how he felt during the Euros," said Low.
"He has this feeling and mentioned a few things that he believes we can improve on.
"I myself see things a little differently. Of course it is difficult to sustain an excellent spirit over seven weeks and friction does arise which you don't get in Bundesliga clubs, but the atmosphere on the whole was good, maybe not as good as it was in 2010.
"Things were a little different then with some players perhaps not pleased to be on the bench, but they still gave the team their full support."
Seven members of Low's 20-man squad will have to fill that role on Friday night, but the Germany coach has yet to decide who they will be.
Apart from Manuel Neuer, Schweinsteiger and Miroslav Klose, nobody is currently assured of their place in the starting line-up, which Low believes can only be a good thing.
"Since 2008 we have had more and more candidates and this increases the competition for places," he said.
"Competition for places is necessary because, in the national team, nobody's place is cast in stone."
Sami Khedira should partner Schweinsteiger in the heart of the midfield with Toni Kroos "playing a part at some stage of the game", according to Low, who is also considering giving Heiko Westermann his first cap in almost two years as full-back in place of Lahm.
"He has a good chance," said Low. "Some players still have to get used to the tempo of international football.
"We don't really have any big alternatives on the left."
In spite of the lack of numbers following the withdrawals of Ilkay Gundogan, Lars Bender and Mats Hummels, Low does not expect anybody else to pull out come tomorrow night, saying that his team is in a better condition than they were last month.
"We have no injuries and I think Mario Gotze and Lukas Podolski will train fully today," he said.
"I have had the feeling this week that the players are in a better rhythm now and I am convinced that we are better than we were for our last games."