The Stoke frontman will line up ahead of a three-man midfield of Keith Andrews, James McCarthy and Keith Fahey with Aiden McGeady and Simon Cox providing the width.
Seamus Coleman has got the nod at right-back with John O'Shea, who will captain the side in Keane's absence, moving inside to partner Darren O'Dea and Stephen Ward starting on the left.
And coach Giovanni Trapattoni has extolled the virtues which have characterised his reign to date.
For the first time since Ireland travelled to Turkey in November 1999, they will start a competitive match against Germany without either Shay Given or Damien Duff, who have retired from international football, or Richard Dunne and 54-goal striker Keane.
The skipper joined an injury list which has claimed five members of what is widely considered to be Trapattoni's strongest team.
In addition - although the 73-year-old was coy on the matter - he appears to be ready to abandon the 4-4-2 formation which served him so well through the early years of his reign, but which has grown increasingly tired more recently.
However, the message to his players ahead of what is a daunting Group C encounter was much the same as it has been for the last four-and-a-half years.
Trapattoni, who is remembered fondly in Germany - and in Bavaria in particular following his time at Bayern Munich - said: "I will be proud if we can win or draw because I have studied particularly what Germany have tried to do, and we must do what we can to contain them.
"They have the quality of [Thomas] Muller, [Mesut] Ozil, [Miroslav] Klose, [Mario] Gomez, [Mario] Gotze, [Lukas] Podolski - unfortunately, we don't have that kind of player.
"But we have our qualities and with our qualities, we can confront Germany.
"I am proud of this team. We have achieved very important results with our quality, with our attitude. That's what we can be proud of."
It felt like something of a watershed moment as Trapattoni announced his team, which did not include the names of any of the quartet of senior men who have been the backbone of Ireland's team for over a decade.
There could be a significant shift too in terms of system with the manager initially naming his line-up, which included Coleman at right-back for the first time in a competitive game in a 4-3-3 formation.
But he then muddied the waters, saying: "I have not changed the system. I said we can play 4-4-2 or 4-3-3. We have to see what happens in the game.
"We can change, 4-4-2 or 4-3-3. I have to be sure that the system is available and that I can change immediately if I need to.
"I can't wait until we concede a goal. After, it is very difficult. I have to put out a team that can change after 30 minutes if necessary."
The sensible money is on Trapattoni starting with 4-3-3 after he and assistant Marco Tardelli have spent the last few days talking about the possibility of using a third central midfielder to man-mark Ozil.
But asked if he would try to do that, he said: "I think it's impossible. I was a player and I marked famous players - Pele, Eusebio, Johan Cruyff - but there are players it is impossible to mark. Ozil is a player who is very difficult to mark."
At the end of a week during which rumours linking him with the vacant manager's job at Blackburn led to speculation over his continued presence in his current post, the 73-year-old cut a defiant figure.
He said: "In the last three years with Ireland, we are proud of what we have done. Without France, we could have been at the World Cup.
"But now we have changed the team and brought in younger players - this team is very, very young.
"One eye is on the result and one eye is on the ranking. Three years ago, our ranking was far away from where it is now. We have improved."
O'Shea, meanwhile, admits it will be odd not to be running out alongside any of a quartet of players who for so long have led the fight for their country.
He said: "It's the way it has happened. It will be four players from the Euros starting the game and the rest are, shall we say, younger and the experience is missing.
"But the players that are in there now, some people have been calling for them to be given a chance, so now they have massive chance - and what a way to do it, against Germany if we can get a positive result.
"Obviously, it will be a bit strange, but Robbie still has a chance for the game on Tuesday and I am sure he will be around.
"He will be an important figure with his experience at relaxing people before the game, talking and making sure everyone is focussed on their jobs, so it is just the same. Yes, there are some familiar faces missing, but the new blood has to get a chance."