Manuel Veth –
Germany vs Northern Ireland – Tuesday, November 19, 19:45BST/20:45GMT – Commerzbank Arena, Frankfurt, Germany
Germany have qualified for Euro 2020 with one match to spare. Furthermore, Netherlands 0-0 draw against Northern Ireland means that the Germans now have a chance to win Group C.
Reason enough for Bundestrainer Joachim Löw to be satisfied on Monday. “We’re in the midst of a rebuild and had to deal with several injuries,” Löw said. “We were faced with several tough matches but successfully managed to qualify. I’m very proud of the team.”
Not all performances were convincing, however. Good games like the 8-0 win at home over Estonia and the 3-2 win against the Netherlands were overshadowed by disjointed efforts like the 2-4 defeat at home against the Netherlands but also the 0-3 victory of Estonia and the 0-2 win over Northern Ireland had long periods of sluggish football by Die Mannschaft.
Those results show that Germany will not be among the top favourites this summer. A fact acknowledged by Löw on Monday. “The team is very willing and ambitious,” Löw said. “We have a great team spirit. But other nations like England, Spain, Belgium are ahead, but they’ve been playing together for three or four years.”
Against Northern Ireland, Germany are now in the position to experiment. “We may make a change on the left side tomorrow as Schulz has a knee problem, and I want to give Hector a chance,” Löw said. Meanwhile, in midfield and upfront, Germany are expected to field their best available players.
Northern Ireland, in the meantime, have no hope to directly qualify for Euro 2020 after failing to beat Oranje on Saturday. The Brits certainly had their chances—Steve Davies missed a penalty—but ultimately missed their opportunity to finish in the top two of Group C.
Instead, the Northern Irish will have to seek their luck in the playoffs, which they reached after winning their UEFA Nations League group in the fall. “We can go into the playoffs with plenty of optimism,” Michael O’Neil said this weekend. That also means that the game on Tuesday is nothing more than a competitive friendly. But in the light that Germany would like to win their group, expect the Germans to take this game serious and walk away with a convincing win.
Germany vs Northern Ireland – Players to look out for:
Toni Kroos #8 – Germany (Real Madrid)
“We want to win tomorrow’s game, of course,” Toni Kroos said during the press conference on Monday. “The chance to finish top of the group is a bit of extra motivation for us.” Germany’s chances of winning the group are partly due to Kroos’ performance against Belarus on Saturday. The Real Madrid midfielder was the man of the match with his two goals and one assist. Going forward, Kroos will be expected to lead a Germany side that is still very much in a rebuild. “You can see that the potential is there,” Kroos said. “Not everything necessarily works out immediately, but I think it was important, and the coach made good decisions.”
Jonny Evans #5 – Northern Ireland (Leicester City)
Evans is expected to play a major role against Germany on Tuesday. The 31-year-old centre-back, who plays for Leicester City, is one of the most experienced players in the squad. A three-time Premier League and one-time Champions League winner, with Manchester United in 2008, Evans has seen at all. Hence, against a talented Germany side, he is expected to guide the backline.
Germany vs Northern Ireland – Match Stats
- Germany have won the last eight games against Northern Ireland. Only against Belgium (nine wins) and Albania (12 wins) do Germany have a longer winning streak.
- No player from Northern Ireland has ever played in the Bundesliga. But Liam Boyce managed three games in Liga 3 for Werder Bremen II.
- Germany’s record against Northern Ireland: W12 D4 L2.
Futbolgrad Network Prediction: Germany vs Northern Ireland – 2-0
Germany vs Northern Ireland – Lineups
ter Stegen – Hector, Can, Ginter, Klostermann – Kroos, Kimmich, Gündogan – Brandt, Werner, Gnabry
Head Coach: Joachim Löw
Peacock-Farrell – Lewis, J. Evans, Cathcart, C. Evans – Saville, Davies, McNair – Dallas, Magennis, Whyte
Head Coach: Michael O’Neil
Manuel Veth is the owner and Editor in Chief of the Futbolgrad Network. He also works as a freelance journalist and among others, contributes to Forbes.com and Pro Soccer USA. He holds a Doctorate of Philosophy in History from King’s College London, and his thesis is titled: “Selling the People’s Game: Football’s transition from Communism to Capitalism in the Soviet Union and its Successor States,” which is available HERE. Manuel has lived in Amsterdam, Kyiv, Moscow, Tbilisi, London, and currently splits his time between Victoria, BC, and Munich, Germany. Follow Manuel on Twitter @ManuelVeth.