Friday, October 20, 2017

Prediction: Northern Ireland vs Germany

Verdict: Both teams to score – yes

Best Odds: 11/10

Bookmaker: Bet365

Group leaders Germany will only need a point from their trip to Belfast to secure their place at the 2018 World Cup. The second-placed Northern Ireland will be keen to prolong the anticipation for reigning world champions as they look to extend their formidable run of form.

Northern Ireland

Manager Michael O’Neil’s men have had an impressive World Cup qualifying campaign which came as a great continuation to Northern Ireland’s fantastic Euro 2016 exploits.

The Northerners have thus far been largely impressive in a competitive group against the likes of Norway, Czech Republic and world champions Germany. With only one defeat to their name and respectable six wins out of eight games, Northern Ireland are nine points clear off third-placed Azerbaijan and won’t finish any lower than second. They still hope to pip Germany to the automatic qualification, but they will first need to beat them at Windsor Park on Thursday which by itself is a tough challenge. Northern Ireland have last beaten Germany in 1983 having lost last six encounters with Die Mannschaft.  The hosts are fired up for the challenge especially knowing that Germany travel to Belfast without several key players, whereas O’Neil will have almost his full squad to choose form.

Team News

Hearts defender Aaron Hughes has been ruled out of Northern Ireland’s match against Germany with a calf injury he picked against Dundee.

Dunfermline defender Callum Morris has been called up to replace Hughes and will be hoping to get his senior international debut.

Germany

Numbers speak for themselves as far as Germany is concerned. The reigning world champions have conceded only two goals in eight qualifying matches thus far, whereas they scored 35 which is more than double Northern Ireland have bagged thus far in the campaign.

Unbeaten in their last 26 matches across all competitions Die Mannschaft will punch the World Cup ticket if they remain unbeaten. Never for a second think that Joachim Low’s men will settle for anything less than a victory, however, and we are definitely in for a tightly contested match at Windsor Park. Their records are truly intimidating and so is their approach to every match regardless of the opposition. The only hope Northern Ireland could harbor is the lengthy injury list Germans are struggling with. Still, if their FIFA Confederations Cup experimental-squad victory is anything to go by, Germans have plenty of depth in their roster to cover for any high-profile absentee.

Team News

Germany travel to Belfast without Manuel Neuer, Mario Gotze, Marco reus, Mario Gomez, Hector, Julian Weigl, Mesut Ozil and Sami Khedira who are all suffering from respective injuries.

RB Leipzig star striker Timo Werner was the latest addition to the injury list as he was forced out of the squad with a neck issue.

Key Factors to Consider

  • Germany only need a point to qualify for World Cup
  • Die Mannschaft are unbeaten in their last 27 matches
  • Northern Ireland have gone 7 consecutive games without a draw
  • Germany have never lost a World Cup qualifier away from home
  • Northern Ireland last beat Germany in 1983

Conclusion

Germany travel to Northern Ireland without several key first-team members but still as firm favourites to win. Die Mannschaft might only need a point to qualify but their nature prohibits them to settle for anything less than a victory. The hosts will put up a fight, no doubt about that, and goals could be the best choice here given the fact Germany managed only two clean sheets in last seven matches.

Verdict: Both teams to score – yes

Best Odds: 11/10

Bookmaker: Bet365

 

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Milos Markovic


Formerly a Chief Editor at the largest sports site in Serbia Sportske.net, Milos Markovic is an avid football writer who contributes to a variety of online football magazines - most prominently Soccernews.com and Futbolgrad.com. His feature articles, editorials, interviews and match analyses have provided informed opinion and views, helping the football aficionados keep up to date on relevant events in world football.

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