The image of Phillip Lahm lifting the World Cup in Brazil might be fresh in everyone's memory but time moves fast in the footballing world and once again it's time to get back down to competitive international football. The European qualifiers kick off next weekend and, while Georgia away and Gibraltar at home might be key games in the long run, there's one stand out fixture that all Ireland fans are eyeing with anticipation.
Martin O'Neill's men take on Germany in Gelsenkirchen on 14 October and you can win a trip to the match here thanks to Mr Green.
To make sure the lucky winner is not going over to see the boys in green without any hope of witnessing a memorable victory, let's look at the positives and see how Ireland can turn over the World Cup winners in October.
1. We have a 100 percent record against the Germans when the match is played in a year ending in four
Yes, if ever there was a stat to take to the bank then this is it. On the 28th May 1994 Ireland travelled to Hannover for a pre-World Cup friendly and duly dispatched the hosts with a 2-0 win courtesy of Tony Cascarino and Gary Kelly.
That German team, which included the likes of Lothar Matthaus, Mathias Sammer and Jurgen Klinsmann, were no match for Jack Charlton's men that day so there's no reason why history cannot repeat itself and see our 100 percent year-ending-in-four record cannot be maintained. And speaking of history repeating itself,...
2. We have beaten a World Cup winning German side before
In November 1956 Ireland welcomed a West German side to Dalymount Park and promptly cantered to a 3-0 win. That German team had lifted the Jules Rimet trophy in Switzerland just two years previously but were dispatched with ease thanks to goals from Noel Cantwell, Joe Haverty and Jimmy McCann.
Just to drive home the point, Ireland defeated the Germans (who had relinquished their crown in 1958) in their next meeting in 1960 also, with a 1-0 away victory in Dusseldorf. Perhaps it's not too much to ask for six points against Germany in this
3. Robbie Keane has just scored his greatest goal since that goal against Germany in 2002
It doesn't even come close in terms of importance, but for sheer quality, it's fair to say that Keane hit a new height with that beauty. Rumours of Keane's demise have been greatly exaggerated and if that goal in the MLS is anything to go by then of course he is capable of giving Hummels and Boateng the kind of run around that they just didn't come up against in the World Cup.
4. Three of Germany's most experienced campaigners have retired following their World Cup success
Per Mertesacker and Miroslav Klose may not have contributed a massive amount to Die Mannschaft's victory in Brazil but the retirement of Phillip Lahm genuinely leaves a rather large whole in the German squad. Whether he plays in midfield or at full back Lahm is one of the best players in the world and Germany are sure to miss leadership abilities of their former captain. Further forward, the only players you could call experienced are Lukas Podolski and new captain Bastian Schweinsteiger.
On the other hand, Ireland are convincing our most experienced players to actually come out of retirement. So if Shay Given can get back to something approaching his past form then let's look at this as a positive thing and say we have the upper hand in terms of experience if nothing else.
5. Germany haven't lost a game since June 2013 so they're probably due a defeat
Sure, this goes against all rationale concerning form but let's just run with it. Once a team has gone and won the World Cup, there's not really a whole lot left for them to do. Keeping the desire of an all conquering squad at a consistently high level is a tough thing to do as Vicente Del Bosque will surely attest to. There's always the possibility that the German's just won't have the heart to compete with the likes of James McCarthy and Glenn Whelan if it comes down to a bit of a scrap in midfield.
Jogi Loew's side have gone 18 games without losing, drawing 5 and winning 13. Let's not kid ourselves, that's a decent run, but we're sure Martin O'Neill and Roy Keane will have the boys in green sufficiently pumped up to nullify that kind of form.
6. Pep Guardiola is instigating a Spanish revolution at Bayern Munich
The previous entry may have been stretching reality a bit but this one on the other hand could have some truth to it. For quite a number of years the backbone of the German national team has had a distinctly Bavarian look to it, something which culminated in this summer's success in Brazil. However, now that Pep Guardiola has his feet under the table at Bayern, things are beginning to change a bit.
This summer has seen Xabi Alonso, Pepe Reina and Juan Bernat join fellow Spaniards Javi Martinez and Thiago Alcantara at the Allianz Arena and if they can edge out the likes of Boateng, Gotze and Neuer (admittedly unlikely) then Germany could be in disarray by the time October comes around.
And speaking of Xabi Alonso, there's also this:
Yes, we're stretching things even more now but it's a well known fact in the Royal County that the only reason Xabi Alonso is a World and European champion is because he spent a month learning English in Kells when he was 16. Now that he's in the German nerve centre at Bayern we can only assume he's passing some information back to his Irish friends ahead of the big game.
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