Defensive worry for Germans

GERMANY have major defensive problems ahead of tomorrow night’s Group D qualifier against Ireland.

Coach Joachim Loew is missing four centre-backs while right-back Arne Friedrich is doubtful. Loew is keen to move on from Germany’s unexpected semi-finals showing this summer and wants to maintain the momentum.

“The World Cup is over and we must inspire a new form of euphoria now,” Loew said.

Christoph Metzelder, Per Mertesacker, Robert Huth and Jens Nowotny will all be absent.

“I’m not going to start whinging about it,” Loew said. “Manuel and Arne Friedrich know what they have to do.”

GERMANY (probable): Lehmann; Lahm, Friedrich, Manuel Friedrich, Jansen; Schneider, Ballack, Frings, Schweinsteiger, Klose, Podolski.

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