Northern Ireland could be in for a tough night in the HDI Arena, Hannover on Tuesday.
Germany v Northern Ireland - Tuesday 19:45, Sky Sports 1
Northern Ireland only lost narrowly to Germany during the group stage of Euro 2016 and progressed through to the last 16 on the back of a strong defence. Indeed, the rearguard has been the basis of success for this team, not just in the Euros, with Northern Ireland having lost the first half only once in their last 26 games and drawing the first half in 10 of their last 12 away matches (nine of these goalless) as they’ve been able to keep themselves in matches for long periods of time. In addition, Michael O’Neill will have been satisfied with his side after they comfortably saw off San Marino 4-0 to build upon a credible draw away to the Czech Republic in their opening World Cup qualification fixture.
However, there is plenty of reasons for Northern Ireland fans to be fearful of playing the World Champions. The last time Germany lost a World Cup qualifier was the incredible 5-1 defeat to England in 2001, and they’ve won 18 of their last 20 WC qualifiers, winning the first half in 11 of their last 12. Germany have also showed remarkable consistency up front, scoring at least three goals in each of their last 10 WC qualifiers. With this in mind, we’re backing Germany to win 3-0 at 6.5.
To make matters worse, the Germans have kept a clean sheet in eight of their last 10 matches across all competitions, and have started their qualification campaign strongly, beating both Norway and the Czech Republic 3-0. Joachim Low will have been pleased to see Thomas Muller back amongst the goals, scoring a brace in each of these games having failed to score in his previous seven appearances. The Bayern Munich player has tended to score in patches for Germany and we think he can make it three in a row and so are backing him to be the first goalscorer at 4.33.