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Northern Ireland can end Germany's 'ridiculous' World Cup stat and make history, says McAuley

Big G believes NI can condemn Germany to first ever away loss in World Cup qualifying

By Graham Luney

Gareth McAuley says Northern Ireland are relishing the chance to make history by stopping the ruthless Germany machine at Windsor Park tomorrow night.

Germany have never lost away from home in World Cup qualifying - a run that spans 46 games from March 1934 - and Joachim Low's side need one more point to seal automatic qualification to next summer's finals in Russia. While the World champions want to make it a perfect 10 victories in Group C by winning their last two qualifiers, McAuley believes Michael O'Neill's side have a chance of shocking the international football world.

"We've got that belief we can actually hurt them, and it's different in Belfast, a tight ground with the crowd behind us," said the West Brom ace, who has returned to the squad after a thigh injury ruled him out of the qualifiers against San Marino and Czech Republic.

"We have nothing to lose. They're talking about winning 10 out of 10 in the qualifying group and it's up to us to try and stop that.

"That underdog tag we've had forever suits us."

The 37-year-old added he was fit for battle and ready to return with a bang.

McAuley added: "If we could beat them it would probably be the biggest result that I'll have had in international football. The pure statistic they've never lost a World Cup qualifier away from home is ridiculous really."

After taking on Low's men, Northern Ireland face Norway in Oslo on Sunday, but O'Neill's side have already sealed a top-two spot and a likely play-off.

O'Neill will be anxiously monitoring McAuley's fitness after Aaron Hughes had to withdraw from the squad with a calf injury.

O'Neill said: "We feared the worst. Aaron being Aaron, he travelled as normal. Most players would just pull out but he had a scan and something wasn't right.

"Gareth's lack of game time is not ideal. He's fit, which is important, he's in good form, he trained well. Gareth has the experience and attitude to come in and play in a game of this nature.

"The other two lads who play at centre-back, neither have been playing regular first-team football. That's the scenario we're faced with and we need Gareth to play. He's very positive and eager to play."

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