Remarkably, Ireland have recorded quite a few successes against the Germans over the years, especially at home. Even during the shambolic reign of Steve Staunton, we still gave them two tough encounters when last paired in a qualifying group.
Only a deflected goal gave Germany victory in Stuttgart, and while we were out of the Euro 2008 running by the time of the Croke Park return leg, Ireland restored some semblance of pride with a 0-0 draw.
Despite the gloom among the home supporters, tonight’s visitors are well aware they face a potentially uncomfortable evening at Lansdowne Road.
Our first meeting on home soil was a friendly encounter in 1936. Ireland, under the banner of the Football Association of the Irish Free State, defeated Germany 5-2 at Dalymount Park, a game that was preceded by Nazi salutes.
The spiritual home of Irish soccer also saw the natives overcome West Germany in friendlies, 3-2 in 1952 and 3-0 in 1956. The Boys in Green recorded an away win with a 1-0 success in front of 51,000 in Dusseldorf in 1960. The German team included the late Herman Haller who passed away this week. Haller scored the first goal in the 1966 World Cup final at Wembley.
In 1975, an Irish team featuring Joe Kinnear, Eoin Hand, Tony Dunne, Liam Brady, Steve Heighway, Ray Treacy, and Don Givens were on the winning side in another 1-0 win at Dalyer with the goal coming from Jimmy Conway.
In more recent times there was the pre-USA ’94 friendly away triumph under Big Jack in Hanover when the Three Amigos, Phil Babb, Jason McAteer, and goalscorer, Gary Kelly, announced their presence on the Irish stage.
Of course, the game that sticks out in most minds is the World Cup 2002 meeting in Ibaraki. Robbie Keane’s late equaliser even had John Motson doing cartwheels.
History could smile on Ireland at the Aviva tonight and we’re likely to need it. The away tie in Germany is scheduled to take place in Cologne next year. The last time we played in that city, we were on the wrong side of a 3-0 scoreline in 1952. Best to make home advantage count this time round.