BERLIN (Reuters) – Germany coach Joachim Loew named a full-strength squad on Friday for their upcoming Euro 2016 qualifiers against Ireland and Georgia, with one point enough to secure a spot for next year’s tournament in France.
The World Cup winners play Ireland in Dublin on Thursday before hosting Georgia three days later in Leipzig.
The 23-player squad, led by captain Bastian Schweinsteiger, is almost unchanged from the one that had been called up for their wins over Poland and Scotland last month, apart from newcomer Bernd Leno of Bayer Leverkusen, with the keeper replacing Ron-Robert Zieler as Germany’s third choice.
“We want to be serious and concentrated until the end of the qualification. Our aim is to win the games against Ireland and Georgia and qualify for France,” Loew said in a statement.
“I have a lot of faith in the players who did their duty in September. Those players are regularly forced to deliver in the Bundesliga and on European levels so they have a good rhythm.”
“These are the conditions for the decisive games in this group,” he said.
Borussia Dortmund winger Marco Reus has also been called up after he dropped out of their squad due to a fractured toe following his call-up in September.
Germany are top of their Group on 19 points from eight matches, two ahead of Poland and four off third-placed Ireland.
“We know how dangerous the Irish are, not only from our first game in Germany (which was a 1-1 draw),” Loew said. “To play in Dublin against Ireland makes it even more difficult. We can expect a great atmosphere and every fan will be firing on the Irish team until the last minute.”
“The only thing that matters for us is to remain top of the group and qualify automatically for the Euro. After that it is a new situation where we can certainly try out things again.”
(Reporting by Karolos Grohmann; Editing by Amlan Chakraborty)