Belfast Telegraph

We can't wait to face Northern Ireland and the GAWA in their fortress, say German duo

By Gareth Hanna

Germany manager Joachim Low and defender Mats Hummels aren't making any attempts to hide their excitement ahead of strutting their stuff for the GAWA.

The duo faced the media on Wednesday afternoon ahead of their clash with Northern Ireland at Windsor Park on Thursday evening (kick-off 7.45pm).

And their admiration for their opponents' set-up both on and off the field was evident.

"They have played very well up to now and defended strongly," said Hummels. "Northern Ireland don't just just defend with passion, but the system is tactically very sound too."

NI, of course, have yet to concede a goal at home in the current World Cup qualifying campaign and are unbeaten in competitive fixtures in Belfast since the defeat to Portugal way back in September 2013.

"It's impressive," said Hummels "We know how much of a fortress it is."

Boss Low was just as full of praise for NI: "They play very disciplined football and have kept seven clean sheets. That speaks volumes," he said. "Northern Ireland have nothing to lose. We are looking forward to a fantastic atmosphere and a buoyant crowd."

The German manager also confirmed that he plans to start Bayern Munich defender Jerome Boateng and hinted that Borussia Mönchengladbach forward Lars Stindl could partner Hoffenheim's Sandro Wagner up top in the absence of both Mario Gomez and Timo Werner.

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