What to watch out for in Friday's EURO qualifiers

Germany v Poland tops a Friday-night bill that contains no end of intrigue, including tough trips for the top two sides in Group F and a Scottish revenge mission.

Germany take on Group D leaders Poland on Friday
Germany take on Group D leaders Poland on Friday ©AFP/Getty Images

Group D
Podolski torn as Germany meet Poland
The heartstrings of Polish-born Germany forward Lukas Podolski are being tugged once more as the world champions welcome the top side in Group D. "It's always a very emotional encounter for me," he said. "I play for Germany but I will never erase Poland from my heart. I was born there, have family there and my beloved club Górnik Zabrze are based there. If I play and score, I will not celebrate." Germany will be without Marco Reus, who has been sent home with a broken toe, with Podolski hoping for a happy ending for both sides: "My dream scenario: Poland and Germany both go to the finals regardless of the result."
Germany v Poland – 20.45CET

Scottish ghost to slay
Scotland can exorcise a painful memory when they face Georgia in Tbilisi. Eight years ago the Scots under Alex McLeish seemed poised to end their major-tournament exile after home and away victories over France took them top of their UEFA EURO 2008 section. However, they came unstuck in Georgia, losing 2-0, before a defeat by Italy in their final qualifier killed the dream. James McFadden who scored a memorable winner against France at the Parc de Princes, admits he is haunted by the memory of the Tbilisi setback. "I've got bad memories of that," said the former Everton and Motherwell forward. "That's still a big gripe. It's a game that is a 'what should or could have been' and it’s still a massive disappointment. If we had won, we would have probably gone on to qualify. That's something that will never leave me."
Georgia v Scotland – 18.00CET

Wood's Gibraltar first
Previously his predecessor Dave Wilson's assistant, Jeff Wood will take sole command of Gibraltar for the first time as they take on the Republic of Ireland. Once on the coaching staff at Norwich City and Charlton Athletic, Wood has only two foreign-based players in his squad to take on the Irish – Bristol Rovers midfielder Jake Gosling and goalkeeper Jamie Robba, who features for French lower-league outfit US Le Pontet. UEFA's newest member nation, Gibraltar have lost all six Group D games to date, and have yet to score a competitive goal at home.
Gibraltar v Republic of Ireland – 20.45CET

Highlights: Romania 1-1 Hungary
Highlights: Romania 1-1 Hungary

Group F
Hungary keen to haul in Romania
The rivalry between Hungary and Romania can be intense at international level, but visiting captain Răzvan Raţ insists that only the result matters as the teams meet in Budapest. "Three points would make the path to qualification clear," he said. "The rivalry between the two countries is less important to me." Hungary have not beaten Romania in 34 years since a side containing current coach Anghel Iordănescu succumbed 1-0 in a FIFA World Cup qualifier, also in the Hungarian capital. Their subsequent eight competitive clashes have produced four Romania wins and four draws.
Hungary v Romania — 20.45CET

Faroes' Northern Ireland challenge
A general election in the Faroe Islands has taken some of the attention away from this qualifier against Northern Ireland, with right-back Jónas Tór Næs – recovered from the dislocated shoulder which sidelined him for June's 2-1 victory over Greece – cautiously optimistic about the upcoming challenges. "We have a difficult task against Northern Ireland and Finland – two good teams – but maybe we can surprise Northern Ireland at home first," he said. "That's what we are hoping for."

Meanwhile, Northern Ireland will bid to extend one of the quirkiest UEFA EURO 2016 qualifying statistics when they run out at the Tórsvøllur in Torshavn. In six Group F qualifiers so far, Michael O'Neill's men have yet to concede a first-half goal. In fact, it is 11 games and almost two years since the Northern Irish defence was breached in the first period of a fixture – in a 1-0 friendly reverse in Turkey in November 2013.
Faroe Islands v Northern Ireland – 20.45CET

Highlights: Finland 1-1 Greece
Highlights: Finland 1-1 Greece

Extra help for Finns
With Finland training in Greece since Tuesday ahead of their Piraeus test, caretaker coach Markku Kanerva's sessions have been spiced up by the presence of ex national-team stalwarts Mika Nurmela and Jonatan Johansson. The duo are first-time additions to the coaching staff, and former midfielder Nurmela – famous for his crossing ability – believes he can bring something extra to training. "We will concentrate partly on dead-ball situations. I do not know whether I can teach the players anything special, but I will be taking the crosses myself and our defence won't have to deal with anything more difficult against Greece."
Greece v Finland – 20.45CET

Group I
Hovsepyan wants strong finish
Armenia's qualification prospects may be mathematical at best, yet Sargis Hovsepyan's men are desperate to finish on a high, especially with all key men finally fit and firing. Spartak Moskva's Aras Özbiliz and Yura Movsisyan are back in shape while Henrikh Mkhitaryan has scored eight and created five goals in his last five appearances for Borussia Dortmund. "Our target is to rediscover the football that made everyone happy and you can only do that with your strongest players on board," said Hovsepyan. "Every player is responsible for the result. But I cannot deny that Mkhitaryan, Movsisyan and Özbiliz are very important for us."
Serbia v Armenia – 20.45CET

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