Ireland face a daunting task when world champions Germany roll into town, but remarkably, the Boys in Green have recorded a few notable successes against the Germans over the years, especially at home.
Thursday’s visitors thoroughly enjoyed their last trip to Dublin leaving with a 6-1 FIFA World Cup qualifying win on 12 October 2012; it was Ireland’s worst result since a 7-0 friendly defeat by Brazil in 1982, but Germany haven’t always had it so easy.
Even during the shambolic reign of Steve Staunton, the Irish still gave them two tough encounters when last paired in a qualifying group. Only a deflected goal gave Germany victory in Stuttgart, and while they 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.
Ireland’s record in 19 fixtures against the Germans is won five, drew five, lost nine, with three of the victories coming in Dublin.
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 locals 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 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.
Germany have won all five of their Group D fixtures since their last meeting with Ireland, scoring 16 goals and conceding only three. In the away leg in Gelsenkirchen, John O’Shea’s late heroics eanred the Irish a crucial point in his 100th appearance in green.