Looking to maintain their perfect record atop UEFA Group C in World Cup qualifying, Germany host Northern Ireland in Hannover on Tuesday. GGFN’s Jack Grimse brings you all you need to know ahead of the match in this preview.
Jogi Löw’s team enters the match with six points, while Michael O’Neill’s side has four. The Green and White Army are looking to build on their performance at the European Championships this summer, and qualifying for Russia 2018 would put them on the path to becoming a regular with regards to international tournaments.
Both sides are coming off big wins; Germany beat the Czech Republic 3-0 while Northern Ireland dispatched San Marino 4-0.
Against the Czechs, Thomas Müller scored twice. Playing in an attacking quartet that also featured Mesut Özil, Julian Draxler and Mario Götze, there’s no shortage of firepower up top for Die Mannschaft.
Kyle Lafferty also bagged a brace after coming on with 17 minutes remaining against San Marino. It’s possible he could displace Josh Magennis, who started the match at striker.
What Northern Ireland rely on is a solid defence. That will be tested, as Germany’s midfield should enjoy a significant share of the ball on Tuesday, leading to significant possession in the final third. However, they could frustrate the German attackers with good organisation. But it will take a lot of help from the midfield.
Last time out, O’Neill employed a system that uses two banks of four with two dedicated attackers up top, but we’ve seen Northern Ireland use a system with five in midfield before, like in the 1-0 loss to Germany in France this summer. Adding another body in midfield could be a proactive choice.
How to watch
Kickoff at the HDI-Arena is set for 20:45 CET. In Germany, the match will be broadcast nationally on RTL. Viewers in the United Kingdom can see it on Sky Sports 1/HD and Sky Go. In the United States, it will be televised on ESPN Deportes and streamed on ESPN3/WatchESPN.
Manuel Neuer; Joshua Kimmich, Jérôme Boateng, Mats Hummels, Jonas Hector; Toni Kroos, Sami Khedira; Thomas Müller, Mesut Özil, Julian Draxler; Mario Götze.
Northern Ireland (4-5-1):
Michael McGovern, Conor McLaughlin, Gareth McAuley, Jonathan Evans, Shane Ferguson; Niall McGinn, Steven Davis, Corry Evans, Oliver Norwood, Stuart Dallas; Kyle Lafferty.