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Germany v Northern Ireland talking points

Published 10/10/2016

Northern Ireland Manager Michael O'Neill during a Press conference at the Hannover Arena in Hannover, ahead of Northern Ireland's World Cup Qualifier against Germany on Tuesday evening. Photo Colm Lenaghan/Pacemaker Press
Northern Ireland Manager Michael O'Neill during a Press conference at the Hannover Arena in Hannover, ahead of Northern Ireland's World Cup Qualifier against Germany on Tuesday evening. Photo Colm Lenaghan/Pacemaker Press
Northern Ireland manager Michael O'Neill during Mondays press conference at the HDI Arena, Hannover, ahead of Tuesdays World Cup 2018 Qualifier. Photo by William Cherry

Northern Ireland are faced with perhaps the hardest game in international football on Tuesday when they meet World Cup holders Germany in Hanover.

Die Mannschaft have lost just two of their 86 World Cup qualifiers ever, and have won 19 of their 23 since being beaten 5-1 by England in Munich in 2001.

Northern Ireland Captain Steve Davis during a Press conference at the Hannover Arena in Hannover, ahead of Northern Ireland's World Cup Qualifier against Germany on Tuesday evening. Photo Colm Lenaghan/Pacemaker Press
Northern Ireland Captain Steve Davis during a Press conference at the Hannover Arena in Hannover, ahead of Northern Ireland's World Cup Qualifier against Germany on Tuesday evening. Photo Colm Lenaghan/Pacemaker Press

We look at what Northern Irish manager Michael O'Neill will be considering ahead of the fixture.

WHAT DID NORTHERN IRELAND LEARN FROM THEIR DEFEAT IN THE EUROS?

The visitors believe witnessing the Germans up close at the Euros in Paris four months ago will stand them in good stead for this fixture. Joachim Low's side produced arguably their best performance of the tournament that day, even though they won just 1-0, and it is hard to see how they can be stopped if they are at similar levels on Tuesday night. The Northern Ireland squad watched a rerun of that contest on Sunday and it will be interesting to see how they set up differently this time around.

HOW TO SOLVE A PROBLEM LIKE TONI KROOS?

O'Neill pointed out that even if you try to nullify one German threat, another can come to the fore, so focusing on one aspect of their play may be futile. However, the visitors would like to see midfielder Kroos having less of an influence than he did back in June. On that day Kroos completed more passes - 121 - than the entire Northern Irish team managed - 112.

MORE CHANGES, BUT WHO COMES IN?

O'Neill is unlikely to deploy the same team he did against San Marino on Saturday, when the objective was wildly different, so the question becomes who will come in? Aaron Hughes, Corry Evans and Conor Washington were in the XI that faced Germany last time out yet didn't start on Saturday, while Kyle Lafferty's brace from the bench furthered his claim. Midfielder Paddy McNair, used in the first qualifier in Prague, is another that will come under consideration though defensive discipline must be valued.

CAN MICHAEL McGOVERN REPEAT HIS HEROICS?

Even an outstanding rearguard performance from the Northern Irish defence is unlikely to ensure goalkeeper Michael McGovern remains untested. The then out-of-contract stopper had the game of his life at the Parc des Princes, saving brilliantly from Thomas Muller, Mesut Ozil, Mario Gotze and Mario Gomez. McGovern insisted he is hoping for a quieter evening in Hanover, though his team-mates may need another Herculean performance if they are to emerge with anything.

Germany manager Joachim Löw during a Press conference at the Hannover Arena in Hannover, ahead of Northern Ireland's World Cup Qualifier against Germany on Tuesday evening. Photo Colm Lenaghan/Pacemaker Press
Germany manager Joachim Löw during a Press conference at the Hannover Arena in Hannover, ahead of Northern Ireland's World Cup Qualifier against Germany on Tuesday evening. Photo Colm Lenaghan/Pacemaker Press

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