Belfast Telegraph

'Amazing' mood as GAWA put out welcome mat for Germans

By David Young

Fans thronged the narrow streets around Windsor Park last night as the build-up to the big match got under way.

Watching as the crowds made their way into the stadium was German police officer Heike Schulz, head of a small team of German police officers who had travelled to Belfast for the game.

"The mood is amazing," the officer from Cologne said.

"We were at the Oktoberfest earlier today, and it was great to see how the Northern Irish fans and the German fans engaged with each other.

"It's been really great - really impressive."

Asked who she thought would win, Heike said: "For diplomatic reasons, I would love to have a draw - but of course, my heart beats for Germany."

Working with Heike was the PSNI's Michelle Porter (inset left with Heike) - originally from Bamberg, in Franconia.

She's lived in Northern Ireland for more than 13 years.

"I am excited about the match - but have to admit I am partial to my home team," she said.

"I'd like to think that, being reigning world champions, they will get a good result tonight."

MARK MARLOW 05/11/2017. World cup qualifier for Russia 2018. Northern Ireland vs Germany at The National football stadium at windsor Park in Belfast. Pictured is Northern Ireland's Josh Magennis celebrating a goal during tonights game in Belfast. Picture Mark Marlow
MARK MARLOW 05/11/2017. World cup qualifier for Russia 2018. Northern Ireland vs Germany at The National football stadium at windsor Park in Belfast. Pictured is Northern Ireland's Josh Magennis celebrating a goal during tonights game in Belfast. Picture Mark Marlow
Northern Ireland's Corry Evans brings the ball away after challenging Germany's Sebastian Rudy (floor) for the ball during the 2018 FIFA World Cup Qualifying, Group C match at Windsor Park, Belfast. PRESS ASSOCIATION Photo. Picture date: Thursday October 5, 2017. See PA story SOCCER N Ireland. Niall Carson/PA Wire.
Germany's Thomas Muller (centre) heads at goal during the 2018 FIFA World Cup Qualifying, Group C match at Windsor Park, Belfast. PRESS ASSOCIATION Photo. Picture date: Thursday October 5, 2017. See PA story SOCCER N Ireland.Brian Lawless/PA Wire.
Northern Ireland's Corry Evans and Germany's Sebastian Rudy (left) battle for the ball during the 2018 FIFA World Cup Qualifying, Group C match at Windsor Park, Belfast. PRESS ASSOCIATION Photo. Picture date: Thursday October 5, 2017. See PA story SOCCER N Ireland. Niall Carson/PA Wire.
Northern Ireland's Conor Washington with Germany's Jerome Boateng during Thursdays World Cup Qualifier at the National Football Stadium at Windsor Park, Belfast. Photo by William Cherry/Presseye
Germany's Joshua Kimmich celebrates scoring his side's third goal of the game with his team-mates during the 2018 FIFA World Cup Qualifying, Group C match at Windsor Park, Belfast. PRESS ASSOCIATION Photo. Picture date: Thursday October 5, 2017. See PA story SOCCER N Ireland.Niall Carson/PA Wire.
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MARK MARLOW 05/11/2017. World cup qualifier Northern Ireland vs Germany at The National football stadium at windsor Park in Belfast. Pictured is Germanys Joshua Kimmich celebrating a goal during tonights game in Belfast. Picture Mark Marlow
Northern Ireland Josh Magennis and Germany Mats Hummels during Thursday night's FIFA World Cup Russia 2018 Group C Qualifier at the National Football Stadium, Windsor Park. Picture by Brian Little/PressEye
Northern Ireland's Corry Evans and Germany's Leon Goretzka in action during the World Cup Qualifier at Windsor Park in Belfast on October 4th 2017 (Photo by Kevin Scott / Belfast Telegraph)
Northern Ireland's Conor Washington and Germany's Matts Hummells and Jerome Boateng in action during the World Cup Qualifier at Windsor Park in Belfast on October 4th 2017 (Photo by Kevin Scott / Belfast Telegraph)
Northern Ireland's Stuart Dallas and Germany's Joshua Kimmich in action during the World Cup Qualifier at Windsor Park in Belfast on October 4th 2017 (Photo by Kevin Scott / Belfast Telegraph)
Northern Ireland's Corry Evans (left) and Germany's Julian Draxler battle for the ball during the 2018 FIFA World Cup Qualifying, Group C match at Windsor Park, Belfast. PRESS ASSOCIATION Photo. Picture date: Thursday October 5, 2017. See PA story SOCCER N Ireland.Brian Lawless/PA Wire.
PACEMAKER BELFAST 05/10/2017 Northern Ireland v Germany World Cup Qualifier Group C Northern IrelandÕs Josh Magennis during this evenings game at the National Stadium in Belfast. Photo Colm Lenaghan/Pacemaker Press
PACEMAKER BELFAST 05/10/2017 Northern Ireland v Germany World Cup Qualifier Group C N Ireland during this evenings game at the National Stadium in Belfast. Photo Colm Lenaghan/Pacemaker Press
Northern Ireland's Corry Evans with Germany's Mats Hummels during Thursdays World Cup Qualifier at the National Football Stadium at Windsor Park, Belfast. Photo by William Cherry/Presseye
October 5th 2017 - FIFA World Cup - Qualifying Group C Northern Ireland V Germany - National Football Stadium at Windsor Park Northern Ireland's Josh Magennis and Germany's Marvin Plattenhardt.
Northern Ireland's Josh Magennis and Germany's Marvin Plattenhardt in action during the World Cup Qualifier at Windsor Park in Belfast on October 4th 2017 (Photo by Kevin Scott / Belfast Telegraph)
PACEMAKER BELFAST 05/10/2017 Northern Ireland v Germany World Cup Qualifier Group C Northern IrelandÕs Michael McGovern as GermanyÕs Sandro Wagner makes it 2-0 during this evenings game at the National Stadium in Belfast. Photo Colm Lenaghan/Pacemaker Press
Northern Ireland's Josh Magennis and Germany's Marvin Plattenhardt in action during the World Cup Qualifier at Windsor Park in Belfast on October 4th 2017 (Photo by Kevin Scott / Belfast Telegraph)
Press Eye - Belfast - Northern Ireland - 05th October 2017 - Photo by William Cherry/Presseye Northern Ireland's Conor McLaughlin with Germany's Sandro Wagner during Thursdays World Cup Qualifier at the National Football Stadium at Windsor Park, Belfast. Photo by William Cherry/Presseye
Pacemaker Belfast 5-10-17 Northern Ireland v Germany - World Cup Qualifier Group C Northern Ireland's Kyle Lafferty and Germany's Mats Hummels during this evening's game at the National Stadium, Belfast. Photo by David Maginnis/Pacemaker Press
PACEMAKER BELFAST 05/10/2017 Northern Ireland v Germany World Cup Qualifier Group C Northern Ireland Manager Michael OÕNeill during this evenings game at the National Stadium in Belfast. Photo Colm Lenaghan/Pacemaker Press
PACEMAKER BELFAST 05/10/2017 Northern Ireland v Germany World Cup Qualifier Group C Northern Ireland Manager Michael OÕNeill during this evenings game at the National Stadium in Belfast. Photo Colm Lenaghan/Pacemaker Press
Northern Ireland's Josh Magennis and Germany's Marvin Plattenhardt in action during the World Cup Qualifier at Windsor Park in Belfast on October 4th 2017 (Photo by Kevin Scott / Belfast Telegraph)
Northern Ireland's Corry Evans and Germany's Marvin Plattenhardt in action during the World Cup Qualifier at Windsor Park in Belfast on October 4th 2017 (Photo by Kevin Scott / Belfast Telegraph)
Northern Ireland manager Michael O'Neill during the 2018 FIFA World Cup Qualifying, Group C match at Windsor Park, Belfast. PRESS ASSOCIATION Photo. Picture date: Thursday October 5, 2017. Niall Carson/PA Wire.
PACEMAKER BELFAST 05/10/2017 Northern Ireland v Germany World Cup Qualifier Group C.
Northern Ireland v Germany - World Cup Qualifier Group C Northern Ireland's Gareth McAuley and Germany's Jerome Boateng during this evening's game at the National Stadium, Belfast. Photo by David Maginnis/Pacemaker Press
Northern Ireland v Germany - World Cup Qualifier Group C Northern Ireland's Kyle Lafferty and Germany's Mats Hummels during this evening's game at the National Stadium, Belfast. Photo by David Maginnis/Pacemaker Press
Northern Ireland's Lee Hodson and Germany's Leon Goretzka in action during the World Cup Qualifier at Windsor Park in Belfast on October 4th 2017 (Photo by Kevin Scott / Belfast Telegraph)
Northern Ireland's Josh Magennis and Germany's Marvin Plattenhardt in action during the World Cup Qualifier at Windsor Park in Belfast on October 4th 2017 (Photo by Kevin Scott / Belfast Telegraph)
Pacemaker Belfast 5-10-17 Northern Ireland v Germany - World Cup Qualifier Group C Germany's Sebastian Rudy scores his goal during this evening's game at the National Stadium, Belfast. Photo by David Maginnis/Pacemaker Press
Press Eye Belfast - Northern Ireland 5th October 2017 FIFA World Cup Russia 2018 - Qualifying Group C - Northern Ireland Vs Germany at the National Football Stadium at Windsor Park, south Belfast. Northern Ireland's Gareth McAuley goes up for a cross in the Germany box. Picture by Jonathan Porter/PressEye.com
Press Eye Belfast - Northern Ireland 5th October 2017 FIFA World Cup Russia 2018 - Qualifying Group C - Northern Ireland Vs Germany at the National Football Stadium at Windsor Park, south Belfast. Northern Ireland's Josh Magennis with Germany's Joshua Kimmich. Picture by Jonathan Porter/PressEye.com
Northern Ireland's Josh Magennis and Germany's Marvin Plattenhardt in action during the World Cup Qualifier at Windsor Park in Belfast on October 4th 2017 (Photo by Kevin Scott / Belfast Telegraph)
Press Eye Belfast - Northern Ireland 5th October 2017 FIFA World Cup Russia 2018 - Qualifying Group C - Northern Ireland Vs Germany at the National Football Stadium at Windsor Park, south Belfast. Germany team line out Picture by Jonathan Porter/PressEye.com
Press Eye Belfast - Northern Ireland 5th October 2017 FIFA World Cup Russia 2018 - Qualifying Group C - Northern Ireland Vs Germany at the National Football Stadium at Windsor Park, south Belfast. The teams line out Picture by Jonathan Porter/PressEye.com

"I am loyal to Northern Ireland team - it's my adopted home - but at the same time, my grass roots belong in Germany."

Brandishing a huge inflatable beer stein, German fan Roman Strauss from Flensburg said he's been all over Europe following his team - but reckoned the best fans in Europe were from Northern Ireland.

"Everybody knows the Green and White Army," he laughed. "I think it will be a draw.

"That would be good for both teams in the qualifying.

"We have a lot of our top players left at home, and new players in the team - so we hope for a draw. That would be OK for us."

Bristol woman Lucinda Gould and friend Andrew Croskery from Conlig had travelled from England specially for the crunch match. They both live in Warwickshire and work in the horse racing industry.

Northern Ireland supporters have had their say in our World Cup poll.
Northern Ireland supporters have had their say in our World Cup poll.
Press Eye Belfast - Northern Ireland 5th October 2017 FIFA World Cup Russia 2018 - Qualifying Group C - Northern Ireland Vs Germany at the National Football Stadium at Windsor Park, south Belfast. Northern Ireland fans pictured during the match Picture by Jonathan Porter/PressEye.com
Northern Ireland fans are preparing to descend on Basel. Picture by Jonathan Porter/PressEye.com
Pacemaker Belfast 5-10-17 Northern Ireland v Germany - World Cup Qualifier Group C Northern Ireland's fans during this evening's game at the National Stadium, Belfast. Photo by David Maginnis/Pacemaker Press
Press Eye - Belfast - Northern Ireland - 05th October 2017 - Photo by William Cherry/Presseye Germany fans during Thursdays World Cup Qualifier against Northern Ireland at the National Football Stadium at Windsor Park, Belfast.
Press Eye - Belfast - Northern Ireland - 05th October 2017 - Photo by William Cherry/Presseye Northern Ireland fans during Thursdays World Cup Qualifier against Germany at the National Football Stadium at Windsor Park, Belfast.
Press Eye - Belfast - Northern Ireland - 05th October 2017 - Photo by William Cherry/Presseye Northern Ireland fans during Thursdays World Cup Qualifier against Germany at the National Football Stadium at Windsor Park, Belfast. P
Press Eye - Belfast - Northern Ireland - 05th October 2017 - Photo by William Cherry/Presseye Northern Ireland fans during Thursdays World Cup Qualifier against Germany at the National Football Stadium at Windsor Park, Belfast.
Press Eye - Belfast - Northern Ireland - 05th October 2017 - Photo by William Cherry/Presseye Northern Ireland fans during Thursdays World Cup Qualifier against Germany at the National Football Stadium at Windsor Park, Belfast.
October 5th 2017 - FIFA World Cup - Qualifying Group C Northern Ireland V Germany - National Football Stadium at Windsor Park
October 5th 2017 - FIFA World Cup - Qualifying Group C Northern Ireland V Germany - National Football Stadium at Windsor Park
October 5th 2017 - FIFA World Cup - Qualifying Group C Northern Ireland V Germany - National Football Stadium at Windsor Park
October 5th 2017 - FIFA World Cup - Qualifying Group C Northern Ireland V Germany - National Football Stadium at Windsor Park
October 5th 2017 - FIFA World Cup - Qualifying Group C Northern Ireland V Germany - National Football Stadium at Windsor Park
October 5th 2017 - FIFA World Cup - Qualifying Group C Northern Ireland V Germany - National Football Stadium at Windsor Park
Northern Ireland fans in the stands during the 2018 FIFA World Cup Qualifying, Group C match at Windsor Park, Belfast. PRESS ASSOCIATION Photo. Picture date: Thursday October 5, 2017. Niall Carson/PA Wire.
A Northern Ireland fan during the 2018 FIFA World Cup Qualifying, Group C match at Windsor Park, Belfast. PRESS ASSOCIATION Photo. Picture date: Thursday October 5, 2017. See PA story SOCCER N Ireland. Niall Carson/PA Wire.
A Northern Ireland fan during the 2018 FIFA World Cup Qualifying, Group C match at Windsor Park, Belfast. PRESS ASSOCIATION Photo. Picture date: Thursday October 5, 2017. Niall Carson/PA Wire.
Northern Ireland and Germany fans during the 2018 FIFA World Cup Qualifying, Group C match at Windsor Park, Belfast. PRESS ASSOCIATION Photo. Picture date: Thursday October 5, 2017. Niall Carson/PA Wire.
World Superbike champion Jonathan Rea waves to the crowd before the 2018 FIFA World Cup Qualifying, Group C match at Windsor Park, Belfast. PRESS ASSOCIATION Photo. Picture date: Thursday October 5, 2017. should read: Niall Carson/PA Wire.
A Northern Ireland fan wearing a scarf during the 2018 FIFA World Cup Qualifying, Group C match at Windsor Park, Belfast. PRESS ASSOCIATION Photo. Picture date: Thursday October 5, 2017. Niall Carson/PA Wire. RESTRICTIONS:

Lucinda was clutching a giant inflatable pretzel, which she had got in a swap with a German fan earlier in the day.

"He got a GAWA scarf - and I got this pretzel!" giggled Lucinda.

Superfans Gilly and Barry Frost had travelled from Northamptonshire to see last night's big match.

"It's a wonderful part of the UK", said Gilly, who said she loved the atmosphere at Windsor.

"It's very, very good-natured here tonight -and the Germans are really good craic," added Barry.

"Our hearts want Northern Ireland to win, but realistically, it will be one or two nil to the Germans.

"We just want Northern Ireland to put up a good show."

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