Germany vs Northern Ireland
European Qualifiers – 2018 World Cup
Date: Tuesday; 11th October 2016
Kick-off at 19:45 UK
Venue: HDI Arena, Hanover.
Germany have responded well to the disappointment of their Euro 2016 Semi-Final exit against France. Their World Cup qualifying campaign has started with two 3-0 wins, coming away in Norway and at home to Czech Republic on Saturday. In truth they should boss this group and victory here would leave them firmly in pole position with 2 of their next 3 games against whipping boys San Marino.
The core of the side that won the 2014 World Cup is still together and they still look like the cream of the crop in terms of European teams heading towards Russia in 2018 despite their failure to become European champions. They will know what a stubborn side Northern Ireland can be though having only won 1-0 when the sides met in France this summer and we shouldn’t expect this to be a cricket score.
The Germans are masters at getting the job done and they won’t be terribly concerned with the manner of the victory providing it comes. Northern Ireland are likely to be very cautious and get plenty of men behind the ball. They are a disciplined unit and are capable of some inspired rear-guard displays but it’ll be a big ask for them to keep the Germans quiet for a whole 90 minutes. They’ve started the group well though with a 0-0 draw in Czech Republic and 4-0 win over San Marino in Belfast at the weekend so should come into the game with a degree of confidence and the momentum from their memorable summer hasn’t totally gone away.
However Germany seldom drop points in home World Cup or European Championship qualifiers and they have so much quality throughout the team that they should win this. It’s hard to see the visitors creating much in the game but there is so much spirit in this Northern Irish side though that you can count on them fighting to the last whistle whilst making life as tough as possible for the Germans so backing Germany to Win & Under 3.5 Goals at Evens looks a really appealing bet here.
Head To Head
The sides met in the group stages of Euro 2016 with Germany winning 1-0.
Prior to that 4-0 win over San Marino, there had been under 3.5 goals in all of Northern Ireland's previous 11 qualifiers. Germany haven't scored more than 4 goals in a home World Cup qualifier since re-unification in 1990.
Joachim Low isn't expected to make many changes here. Mario Götze should be utilised as a central striker again with Muller, Ozil and Draxler offering plenty of support.
Kyle Lafferty may be recalled having shaken off an injury and scored 2 goals as a sub at the weekend. A more cautious approach will clearly be needed here though with Aaron Hughes and Paddy McNair offering possible defensive options if needed.