Germany v Northern Ireland – HDI-Arena at 19:45 live on Sky Sports 1
My last Asian Handicap betting preview featuring Northern Ireland won by the skin of its teeth on Saturday in their victory against San Marino, but I hope to be a bit more comfortable in this one. They travel to Hannover to take on World Cup winners Germany on Tuesday night.
[expand title=”Read More…” swaptitle=”Hide” trigpos=”below” rel=”star-highlander” ]
It was a strange Euro 2016 for Germany considering they never looked like they were going to win the tournament. I mean, I may have backed them at the start but something just didn’t look right, then it all ended when they were knocked out by hosts France in the semi-finals.
Since then, Low’s team has gone three games unbeaten and in qualifying sit top of the group after two matches, scoring six and conceding none. Their last match ending in a 3-0 win against Czech Republic; Thomas Muller grabbing a brace.
What I look at when I see this German national team is so much flair and creativity, yet is there too much? Sometimes I think they just want to walk the ball into the net on every occasion. I mean, in Low’s current squad he only has one out-and-out striker in Kevin Volland. Apart from that Mario Gotze is listed as a striker along with nine midfielders.
I honestly think this is their missing link. Yes they are scoring goals, but in the big games when they need a holding frontman or a fox in the box, there isn’t one.
However, their record speaks for itself. In World Cup qualifying, the Germans remain unbeaten at home since 2001 when England won 5-1 and Michael Owen scored a hat-trick (had to remind you). Even away from home, in World Cup qualifying they haven’t lost on the road since the competition was invented. Madness.
I just think group Low and co. has been drawn in will be a piece of cake. He can experiment with the squad by picking formations or players he will take to Russia in 2018, as well as seeing what works best for him.
Northern Ireland, meanwhile, are still noted as the underdogs in this group with a chance of making the play-offs at this rate considering they are unbeaten after two matches.
Michael O’Neil’s last game ending in a 4-0 win against San Marino at Windsor Park; Kyle Lafferty coming off the bench to score a brace.
One player who I’ve admired in the Northern Ireland squad has been Steven Davis. I’ve been a fan of him for a while as he is such a composed and bright player on the ball and goes unnoticed in matches, but I do think you won’t see the best of him in Hannover due to the circumstances of the match.
A certainty for this game will be that O’Neil will want numbers behind the ball, much like their performance against the Germans in Euro 2016. They hold a familiar formation in 4-5-1 and like to play compact and on the counter; Lafferty, Jamie Ward and Davis all pushing forward when they get the chance.
If Northern Ireland go to Hanover and come away with a point, I think O’Neil would be over the moon. However, it does look like an uphill struggle so goal difference is a priority, considering they have a points buffer ahead of the bottom three.
The last time these two nations met, Germany won 1-0 in Euro 2016; a match they dominated, with the scoreline was generous to the Green and White Army. Northern Ireland hasn’t beaten the Germans since 1983 and has only scored twice in their last five meetings.
I am not expecting much from Northern Ireland in this match, but I don’t expect them to get hammered like other nations. Germany will create a lot of chances, but I can see it being one of those lucky days for Michael O’Neil’s side.
Asian Handicap Betting Recommendation: Northern Ireland +2.25 @ 2.02 with Bet365
Prices correct at time of writing.