Doyle major doubt for qualifiers

The Republic of Ireland have suffered a significant injury worry ahead of next Friday’s World Cup qualifier against Germany with the news that Kevin Doyle is considered a major doubt after incurring a thigh injury in training at Wolves.

Wolves boss Stale Solbakken believes the striker won’t recover in time for the double-header against the Germans at home and the Faroe Islands away, although the FAI are not prepared to officially rule the player out until they get the results of a scan on the injury today.

But, last night, sources close to the player suggested he was feeling optimistic about his chances of recovery in time for both games.

“He is definitely out of the Blackburn game,” said Solbakken, “and it looks now he will be out of the international games.”

For Doyle, this latest injury is the worst of bad timing, since the player had impressed on his last two outings for Ireland, coming off the bench to score a last-gasp winner in Kazakhstan and then a few days later grabbing another against Oman in a friendly in London.

Sunderland midfielder David Meyler, who impressed on his debut in last month’s friendly against Oman, was last night added to the squad for the double-header.

Meanwhile, Bastian Schweinsteiger has been included in the Germany squad to face Ireland and Sweden in their upcoming qualifiers. The Bayern Munich midfielder was left out of Germany’s last two fixtures against the Faroe Islands and Austria last month due to a niggling injury, but the national team coach Joachim Low has been convinced by his return to action in the Bundesliga with three goals in recent games.

“We did not choose him last time for a reason and that was to give him a chance in peace and quiet to get back into a training and match rhythm,” said Low. “His performances with Bayern have shown that this was precisely the right choice.”

The rest of Low’s 22-man squad is identical to the one which won their first two qualifying games last month with the exception of Julian Draxler’s exclusion. The young midfielder broke his arm in Schalke’s midweek UEFA Champions League draw with Montpellier.

After Germany travel to Dublin next Friday night to face Giovanni Trapattoni’s men, they host Sweden in Berlin four days later, and Low says it is going to be a crucial few days of qualifying action.

“We have already laid the foundations for the qualification, but now it gets very serious,” he said. “We know we are favourites in the group and that is why we want to be successful in both of these games. We know what to expect in terms of the atmosphere in Dublin. The Irish will give everything in front of their own fans to beat us in their own stadium.”

Germany squad: Neuer (Bayern Munich), Zieler (Hannover), Ter Stegen (Monchengladbach); Badstuber, Boateng, Lahm (all Bayern Munich), Hummels, Schmelzer (both Dortmund), Howedes (Schalke), Mertesacker (Arsenal); Gotze, Gundogan, Reus (all Dortmund), Kroos, Muller, Schweinsteiger (all Bayern Munich), Bender, Schurrle (both Leverkusen), Khedira, Ozil (both Real Madrid); Podolski (Arsenal), Klose (Lazio).

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