Keogh turns heat up on Germany

Andy Keogh insists the pressure will be on Germany as they attempt to maintain a perfect start to their World Cup qualification campaign against the Republic of Ireland.

Joachim Low’s men will looking for a third successive Group C victory when they run out at the Aviva Stadium in Dublin on Friday evening to face an injury-hit Republic.

However, 26-year-old Keogh is confident Ireland can make life uncomfortable for the side expected to win the group at a canter.

He said: “The pressure is on them to come and win, they are the ones everyone thinks are going to win the group.

“We have just got to go out, be disciplined, keep our shape, try to keep a clean sheet and just go from there.

“Germany are obviously going to be favourites to win the group and everyone will be saying the rest of us are battling it out for second place.

“But if we can get points from Germany, it would be a big plus towards qualifying for the World Cup.

“We just have to make sure we have got everything in our camp sorted and we know what we are doing and we apply on the pitch what the manager wants us to do, and we go from there.

“It’s up to them to come and break us down and to beat us.”

Giovanni Trapattoni’s men collected three points from their only qualifier to date, although their 2-1 victory in Kazakhstan last month was anything but convincing.

This time around, the Italian is having to deal with an injury crisis which has deprived him of the services of five members of what would represent his strongest squad, with Richard Dunne, Sean St Ledger, Glenn Whelan, James McClean and Kevin Doyle all unavailable through injury.

That has prompted something of a reshuffle in recent days with the manager trying to fill a gap at right-back – Stephen Kelly, Paul McShane and Seamus Coleman are the candidates – and almost certain to play three central midfielders behind a lone striker.

Skipper Robbie Keane is a racing certainty to start up front, but there are places up for grabs behind him and Keogh, who is a striker by trade but has played most of his senior international football as a wide man, is ready to step in if called upon.

He said: “I have played most of my games on the wing for Ireland. I think I am one of those players who can play wing or striker, but I do like to play up the middle and be the one to score the goals.

“But sometimes you have to do what the manager asks. Different managers see different players in different ways, it’s just the way football is.

“If the manager decides to play me, I will be really happy and if not, one of the other lads will be really happy and they will get the chance to shine as well.”

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