Northern Ireland have blossomed in their World Cup qualification campaign, and with second spot in Group C guaranteed, Michael O'Neill's side can go fly out the traps against table-toppers Germany at Windsor Park on Thursday, but the visiting reigning champions know that a point will secure top spot in the group, and their hosts will have to settle for a play-off spot in next year's showpiece footballing extravaganza.
- Germany beat Northern Ireland 2-0 the last time they met
- Germany have led every Group C game at half-time
- Northern Ireland have already booked a top-two spot in group
How Will It Go?
Eight wins from eight have launched Germany to top spot, and 33 goals in that octet of wins has seen them dominate all that has come before them, so it's no surprise to see them installed as the 30/100 favourites with bet365 for victory in this match, but many will feel that is far too short, as they play a Northern Ireland side that have won their last five matches in the group, and with only two goals conceded in their qualifcation journey will be a tough nut to crack.
However, those two goals conceded came at the hands of Germany, so it's no surprise to see Northern Ireland as big as 12/1 with Unibet bookmakers, and with Germany still needing a point to guarantee top spot then they will not be resting key personnel for this clash, and it's hard to look away from anything but a dominant away win.
Some punters could be tempted by bet365's 19/4 about a draw after 90 minutes, with Germany more than happy to take home a point, but ultimately the visitors will have too much quality for their opponents, and it could be a real lesson for Northern Ireland what to expect at next year's World Cup, if they can book their spot in Russia 2018 with a play-off win.
Germany To Dominate From First Whistle
Two goals in the opening 20 minutes of Germany's 2-0 win over Northern Ireland earlier in the qualifying campaign put the game to bed early, and it's been a trait of Germany's qualifcation record, as they have been in front at half-time in all eight Group C matches, and this run can continue on Thursday evening.
They are sure to fly out of the blocks once again, and an early goal should see them settle down, and dominate possession, so it's surprising to see Ladbrokes offer 10/11 about Germany leading at half-time and full-time, and that makes much more appeal from a punting perspective than the skinny odds about a Germany win.
Northern Ireland To Draw A Blank
Timo Werner has been a revelation since earning his first cap, and he scored a brace in Germany's 6-0 win over Norway last time out, but at 5/2 with some firms he is a little skinny in the first goalscorer betting, and Thomas Muller makes more appeal at 4/1 with bet365 to break the deadlock, as he aims to notch up his sixth goal of the qualification rounds.
However, the correct score market could offer more attractive value, and if Germany are to grab an early lead it will see Northern Ireland chase the game, as they have nothing to lose, and that could cause problems for the hosts, and it would be no surprise to see Germany unlock the Northern Irish rearguard with ease, and the 7/1 with Paddy Power for a 3-0 Germany win looks a cracking bet.
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