Steven Davis will try to implement some of the hard lessons he learnt against Germany 11 years ago when Northern Ireland face Germany at Euro 2016.
Captain Davis and his team-mates take on the world champions at the Parc des Princes on Tuesday, with their hopes of progressing from Group C alive following a stunning 2-0 win over Ukraine last time out.
It is a far cry from what the Southampton midfielder experienced as a four-cap novice at Windsor Park in June 2005, where Germany ran out 4-1 in the sides’ previous meeting.
Michael Ballack scored twice as an early red card for Robert Huth ultimately had little impact on the outcome.
“I don’t think there’s any comparison on how far the team’s come in that time,” Davis told a pre-match news conference. “The personnel in the Germany team was very different as well
“There’s no significance between the two games but it was a great learning curve for me early in my career – showing me the levels you had to get to [in order] to get results.
“Germany were a well-oiled machine on the day. It was a good test and good experience for me.”
The 31-year-old knows exactly what to expect this time around – namely long periods of toil at the hands of a midfield smoothly orchestrated by Real Madrid’s Toni Kroos.
Nevertheless, Poland gave Germany plenty to ponder on the counter-attack during a 0-0 draw at the Stade de France last Tuesday, and Davis is confident Northern Ireland can judiciously pick their moments to ask questions of Joachim Low’s men.
“They’ve got a lot of quality, a lot of rotation in midfield so it’s going to be a big test for us,” he said. “We know we’re not going to dominate possession.
“It’s about choosing the right times to put pressure on. They know how to attack the spaces and pick pockets very well.
“Putting pressure on the ball is something we have done very well up until this point and it is something we will have to do tomorrow.”
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