Northern Ireland reporter notebook: Germany sell-out a big occasion

Northern Ireland will soon be looking to keep their perfect start when they welcome Germany at Windsor Park however Michael O’Neill has cautioned the tests begin today.
O’Neill’s team top Group C together with four wins from four games, knowing that the following two games with Germany and the Netherlands, house and off respectively, can give the younger, more new-looked side — largely authenticated because the Euro 2016 exploits — a chance to come old.
The Germans arrive in Belfast after a home defeat from the Netherlands however are secure in the knowledge they’ve never lost back-to-back qualifiers.
Safety is a priority and the German FA has paid a substantial sum to ensure that their Belfast hotel is exclusively for them. Whilst even restaurant bookings from the public are off-limits since the party of German chefs create themselves at home hotel staff have needed to provide their automobile registrations to gain entry.
After Ronald Koeman said Germany appeared tired on Friday night, the players will be in a position to find a great night’s sleep. Providing, of course, no one smokes in the chambers that’s exactly what two tourists did when Fabio Capello’s Russia stayed at exactly the same hotel in 2013, putting off an alarm in the wee hours of the morning!
The Irish Football Association has licensed around 275 media people to get a game that has been sold out (18,500 capacity) for some time. It’s the real fixture played at the Windsor Park that has compelled the IFA to give up the photographers’ area in the press area. It’s been turned into a TV studio to the TV rights holders. There’ll be approximately 29 cameras being used through the game RTL and from Sky Sports.
Jamal Lewis has been one of the glowing lights for Northern Ireland since his debut against South Korea, making a series of performances moving. The games are coming to your 21-year-old Norwich left-back and in an interview with Sky Sports in the club, he reflected facing Chelsea and Liverpool early in the summer season. It will not get much easier — after Germany, Lewis confronts Manchester City on Saturday.
Because Michael O’Neill took control this will be the fourth meeting with Germany of Northern Ireland and it’s reasonable to say supporters have formed a bond. The German fans loved the’Will Grigg’s during meetings on Fire’ anthem and there’s a Northern Ireland supporters club in Hanover.
Long-standing NI supporter Piers Dalgarno befriended a number of German fans and they were members of this club. Some of them have been around Belfast to watch games from Estonia, Austria and Germany.
They attended the leg of NI’s World Cup to the away tie against Austria to Vienna. One of those members, Marko Kresic, is on the training staff of Hanover 96. They all are expecting to sit together in Windsor Park on Monday in the home end.
Captain Steven Davis, a figure and admired by players, staff, media and fans, will become the most capped outfield player when he makes his overall look of Ireland. Facing the world champions is a far cry from his debut in 2005 when 10-man Canada left Windsor Park with a 1-0 win.
Since that day, no British or Irish player has gained as many caps. Wayne Rooney is next on the list using 100 followed by Republic of Ireland’s John O’Shea (99) and also Chris Gunter of Wales (95). Davis is currently closing in on the all-time appearance maker of NI Pat Jennings, who played for his state 119 times.
View Northern Ireland vs Germany on Sky Sports Main Event on Sunday with policy starting at 7pm.

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