germany, football
Germany training session at Windsor Park ahead of their FIFA 2018 World Cup Group C Qualifier match between Northern Ireland and Germany on October 4, 2017 in Belfast, United KingdomAlexander Hassenstein/Bongarts/Getty

Northern Ireland have a tough task of stopping Germany from becoming the only team from Group C of the World Cup Qualifiers (UEFA) to make it to the FIFA World Cup 2018 in Russia. Even a point will ensure Die Mannschaft a direct qualification to the grand event, on Thursday night itself.

The likes of Manuel Neuer, Mesut Ozil, Mario Gotze and RB Leipzig forward Timo Werner are not a part of the Germany squad, but that will not cause any worry to Jurgen Klopp's side who have plenty of options in the likes of Julian Draxler, Thomas Muller, Toni Kroos and also Manchester City lad Leroy Sane, who is in a terrific form at the moment.

The home team needs to step up their defence on Thursday, by any way possible. Former Manchester United man Jonny Evans is set to partner Gareth McAuley in the heart of the defence; the absence of experienced customer Aaron Hughes could turn out to be a worry.

"I think Germany are the strongest team in Europe, arguably the world. The players they have coming into their squad seem to adapt to international football very quickly," mentioned Northern Ireland coach Michael O'Neill.

"We're under no illusion, we're not going to come in and suddenly have 60 per cent of the ball, there's no point preparing as if we are. We know the areas where we believe we can hurt Germany. It will need a massive performance and some fine individual moments to win the game."

Both sides have conceded just twice in their eight group games so far, with Northern Ireland conceding those goals against Germany in their first leg encounter, which resulted in a 2-0 win in Germany.

Match schedule

  • Date: October 5
  • Time: 7:45 pm BST (12:15 am IST - Friday)
  • Venue: Windsor Park, Belfast

Where to watch live

INDIA: No TV coverage. Live stream - Sony Liv

UK, Ireland: TV - Sky Sports, Now TV. Live stream - Sky Go