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Group C will enter its penultimate round of games on Friday, with a number of intriguing games in prospect.
Noel King makes his debut as Ireland manager with a difficult trip to Germany, Sweden take on Austria in the battle for the runners up spot while the Faroe Islands, with two homes games left will hope to make a strong finish starting with Kazakhstan.
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In the Rhein Energie Stadion in Cologne King will take charge in the first of his two game spell against table toppers Germany. The Irish U21 manager was asked to step into the breach following the departure of Giovanni Trapattoni last month while the FAI begin their search for a new man.
King, who will not be considered for the role on a permanent basis, has already made an impression though bringing back three players exiled under the Italian, Anthony Stokes, Darron Gibson and Andy Reid.
Stokes and Gibson are likely to go straight into the starting line up with King set to play a 4-5-1 formation.
Gibson will partner his Everton teammate James McCarthy in midfield together while Stokes is poised to start either on the left or in a more withdrawn striker role with the aim being to man-mark Mesut Ozil.
Crystal Palace defender Damian Delaney is to be rewarded for his fine start to the season with a starting place in the middle of defence with either Sean St. Ledger or Ciaran Clarke his partner.
Seamus Coleman and Marc Wilson, despite being considered for a midfield role, will man the flanks while Robbie Keane is set to overcome a knock and start as the lone striker.
Despite sitting 5 points clear at the top of Group C Germany are not guaranteed top spot and should Ireland produce a shock result and Sweden beat Austria then the two sides would meet in Stockholm with a winner takes all battle.
Not that Germany are too worried with Joachim Low using the game against Ireland as an opportunity to experiment including just one striker in his squad, Max Kruse.
The Borussia Monchengladbach striker has already scored 5 goals this season and has made the squad ahead of the more experienced Stefan Kiessling, the top scorer in the Bundesliga last season.
The call up for Kruse comes as Low is without a number of attacking players for the game with Mario Gomez, Miroslav Klose, Lukas Podolski and Marco Reus all out injured while Mario Gotze has been included but is unlikely to start.
Sweden meanwhile will aim to build on their 2-1 win over Ireland last month when they face Austria at home. When the two sides last met in Vienna in June, Austria claimed a 2-1 win with David Alaba and Marc Janko on target.
Bayern star Alaba has proved to be a revelation for the Austrian’s during qualification scoring 5 goals, the same number as Sweden’s main danger man Zlatan Ibrahimovic.
Sweden are currently three points ahead of Austria but face Germany at home in their last game and a win for the Austrian would put them in pole position for second place as they face the Faroe Islands away on the final day.
The Faroes Islands meanwhile will prepare for that game with home tie against Kazakhstan.
Eight games, Eight defeats and 25 goals conceded point to the possibility of Lars Olsen’s side finishing the group with the wooden spoon however Sweden laboured to a 2-1 win on their visit to the small Island with Kazakhstan yet to pick up a point away from home a surprise could be on the cards.