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."
"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.
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."