Ireland vs Germany 1-6 Goals & Highlights 12_10_2012

Joachim Löw called it a "very fruitful discussion". To everyone else, it sounded like a very loud argument. The Germany manager admitted that Bastian Schweinsteiger had given him a "piece of his mind" and Löw had not agreed at all with the Bayern Munich midfielder. The issue under discussion was the unity of the Nationalmannschaft, who are here to face Giovanni Trapattoni's injury-hit Republic of Ireland in World Cup qualification. Schweinsteiger had questioned it when he said "the whole bench didn't jump up" to celebrate goals at the European Championship and his comments have sparked a high profile sideshow. Mario Götze and Toni Kroos had complained in public about their lack of playing minutes at Euro 2012 and Löw added here that "some players were not overly happy to have to sit on the bench ... Per Mertesacker for one". For the first time since replacing Jürgen Klinsmann in 2006 Löw finds himself under pressure and facing searching questions, many of which relate to the semi-final defeat by Italy in Warsaw on 28 June. Never mind that Löw's record in charge of his country reads: Euro 2008 runners-up, World Cup 2010 and Euro 2012 semi-finalists. Germany always expect to win. In a sense, Euro 2012 is not yet over for Löw, and the way his team have begun their campaign for Brazil 2014 has not helped. Having been defeated in a home friendly by Argentina in August, they were uninspired in beating the Faroe Islands 3-0 at home in their Group C opener, and in the 2-1 away win over Austria, they were, to quote Löw, "lacking defensive discipline, order, composure and tactical discipline". Germany's defensive frailties are a worry and, against Ireland, they will be without the suspended captain Philipp Lahm and the injured Mats Hummels. Marcel Schmelzer will fill the problem position of left-back and he has heard Löw admit he was "not at his best against Austria" and "maybe it's a burden for him playing for the national team". With Löw forced to factor in the discontent within his squad's ranks, it might have been possible to paint Germany as being in some kind of disarray upon their arrival in rain-lashed Dublin; except that they do not really do disarray. You had to hand it to Löw, who arrived punctually for his pre-match press conference, strode about and stopped for the photographers like a catwalk model and then found out that the travelling German media had been delayed and he would have to wait in the part of the press area that dispenses tea and coffee. He remained supremely unruffled; über-confident. There is a glorious directness about Löw and he did not duck any of the questions, as many of his counterparts might have done, particularly the one about squad harmony. "There can be friction to a degree, which I admit to," he said about Euro 2012. "Having a team away together for seven or eight weeks is tremendously difficult. You have 23 players who all have their own problems. But the basic spirit was fantastic. Maybe it was not as good as 2010 but that was because the pre-tournament preparation conditions were not as good. "Schweinsteiger just felt that maybe the odd detail could be changed for the better. I told him that I didn't have that feeling. But he was not really too happy. He came [to Euro 2012] a bit dejected, having given away the Bundesliga title and lost the Champions League final. That brought him down mentally." After the 2010 World Cup Schweinsteiger famously enjoyed a kickaround with his mates in Munich's Englischer Garten. He wore Frank Lampard's England shirt, which he got from him after the last-16 tie between the nations in Bloemfontein, and his mood was happy and laid-back. This past summer, he was shattered. Schweinsteiger played through the pain of injuries in the second half of last season, most notably in the Champions League final against Chelsea, when he took a heavy knock in the early going and went on to miss the decisive penalty in the shootout. He was patently not fit at the Euros yet he played every minute of Germany's campaign. Löw rested him against Argentina, the Faroes and Austria. But Schweinsteiger is back to captain the team in Lahm's absence and is ready to inspire a new beginning for his country. "The players have better rhythm now," Löw said. "Defensively, we will be good. Ireland will be committed but my team will be there from the off." Germany, whether as West Germany or since reunification, have never lost an away World Cup qualifier. Against an Ireland side missing the injured Robbie Keane among others, and set to play in an unfamiliar 4-3-3 formation, they do not intend to make history of the wrong sort. Republic of Ireland (4-3-3, confirmed): Westwood; Coleman, O'Shea, O'Dea, Ward; McCarthy, Andrews, Fahey; McGeady, Walters, Cox Germany (4-2-3-1, probable): Neuer; Boateng, Mertesacker, Badstuber, Schmelzer; Khedira, Schweinsteiger; Müller, Ozil, Reus; Klose