Northern Ireland vs Germany preview

October 3, 2017
By: Nemanja Lazarevic

Northern Ireland did brilliantly to secure a play-off berth with three games to go and they will now attempt to keep their hopes of finishing in first place alive.

That is easier said than done considering the Germany boasts a perfect record with eight wins and 35 goals scored in the process.

Northern Ireland first shocked European football by qualifying for the Euro 2016 finals, and they have since continued to impress.

Michael O’Neill’s side managed to progress from the group stage in France, and the success acted as a major lift ahead of the new qualifying campaign.

Northern Ireland recovered well from a somewhat slow start to record five consecutive wins, thus making sure they at least take part in the play-offs.

What is more, the team didn’t even concede a single goal in victories over Azerbaijan (twice), Norway, San Marino and Czech Republic.

The excellent defensive record will be put to a serious test against red-hot Germany, but the hosts will definitely not surrender without a fight.

Veteran defender Aaron Hughes is rated doubtful through a calf injury, but Gareth McAuley is back after missing last two qualifiers.

Probable starting line-up (4-3-3): McGovern – McLaughlin, McAuley, J. Evans, Brunt – Davis, C. Evans, Norwood – Magennis, Washington, Dallas.

Germany are usually quite convincing in Euro and World Cup qualifiers and the current campaign is clearly no different.

Die Mannschaft allowed no surprises on the road to Russia, winning all eight games so far, scoring 35 and conceding mere two goals.

They still need one more point to secure the first place in the group and automatic qualification, but will obviously be looking to keep the 100% record intact.

Following the 6-0 hammering of Norway last time out, Germany can now be backed at 1.30 (3/10) to defeat Northern Ireland as well.

There have been no major surprises in Joachim Low’s squad as he was forced to leave Mesut Ozil, Manuel Neuer, Jonas Hector, Sami Khedira and Mario Gomez out through injury.

Jerome Boateng and Leroy Sane return to the side, while Timo Werner was forced to withdraw due to neck muscle problems.

Probable starting line-up (4-2-3-1): ter Stegen – Kimmich, Boateng, Hummels, Plattenhardt – Kroos, Rudy – Muller, Goretzka, Draxler – Stindl.

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