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Soccer-Don't expect gifts from fighting Irish-Germany coach Loew

Reuters

By Karolos Grohmann

Oct 9 (Reuters) - Ireland are all but eliminated in the race for a 2014 World Cup spot but they will not be bearing gifts when they face Group C leaders Germany on Friday, coach Joachim Loew said on Wednesday.

Germany need just two points from their last two games, including against Sweden in Stockholm on Oct. 15, to secure automatic qualification from the group and they plan to book their ticket to Brazil on Friday.

"Everyone who is here is fit and I have a good feeling," Loew told a new conference, shrugging off the impact of more than a half dozen absences through injury, including Lukas Podolski, Marco Reus and Ilkay Guendogan.

"Our aim is to qualify here at home against Ireland in a stadium we have always had good memories in."

He said, however, it would not be a repeat of their 6-1 win in Dublin last year.

"In Dublin we faced Ireland and caught them off guard. It was deserved but it won't be the same this time. They can defend extremely well, they can be very organised.

"It does not matter who plays or who is their coach. It does not really affect their game. Ireland means defensively compact, maximum physical involvement, always high tempo."

Germany top the group on 22 points from eight games with Sweden five behind in second spot. Ireland are fourth on 11.

"They can defend really well. It's part of their tradition, to defend their own goal, like in Gaelic football or rugby," Loew said.

"They always fight until they fall over. It does not matter if they trail 1-0 or 3-0, even if they don't have a chance or a very minimal of qualifying it does not mean they come with a gift for us."

Loew also defended his decision to call up Bayern Munich's Mario Goetze, despite the midfielder only recently recovering from injury.

"One could have decided differently. Leave him with the club. But I told (Bayern sports director) Matthias Sammer and (coach) Pep Guardiola that Mario will have four training sessions with us and if I need him for 15 or 20 minutes Mario can always shake things up," he said.

Bayern president Uli Hoeness had said the new signing, who only last week came back from an ankle injury sustained in August, should not have been called up for international duty.

"For us he is important for the coming years and I really wanted him with us. Ultimately the final decision rests with me," said Loew. (Reporting by Karolos Grohmann, editing by Pritha Sarkar)

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