Ireland's Jonathan Walters and Erik Durm of Germany Donall Farmer/INPHO

As it happened: Germany v Ireland, Euro 2016 qualifier

After two wins from two, Martin O’Neill faced his biggest challenge as Ireland boss this evening.

IT’S OVER TO Gelsenkirchen as Ireland take on the current world champions. 

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Guten Abend! Never mind the budget, the city of Gelsenkirchen, located in North Rhine-Westphalia, is the scene for the day’s main event as Ireland take on the mighty Germans — ranked first in the world.

Aiden McGeady’s superb last-gasp strike got the Boys in Green off to a winning start in Tbilisi last month before the 7-0 whitewash against Gibraltar at the Aviva Stadium on Saturday to ensure maximum points from the first to games.

Group D

The Germans, meanwhile, appear to be suffering a bit of a World Cup hangover after their victory in Brazil over the summer. They were disappointing against Scotland despite winning and lost out to Poland for the first time over the weekend.

Add to that multiple injuries including household names Bastian Schweinsteiger, Marco Reus and Andre Schürrle and there is good reason to be quietly optimistic about coming away with something other than defeat.

We all remember the recent 6-1 and 3-0 losses to Germany in the last World Cup campaign, but do you recall a 2-0 win for Ireland 20 years ago?

sp1873 / YouTube

Read all about a special day in Hanover in Eoin O’Callaghan’s excellent piece here

The German team is in. Nothing to be scared of lads, eh…?

GERMANY: Neuer (c), Rüdiger, Hummels, Boateng, Durm; Ginter, Kroos, Bellarabi, Gotze, Draxler, Müller.

And here’s the Ireland XI. Robbie Keane wins out over Shane Long, while Glenn Whelan, Stephen Quinn and Jon Walters return.

IRELAND: Forde, Meyler, O’Shea, Wilson, Ward, McGeady, Whelan, Quinn, McClean, Keane, Walters.

The Ireland players warming up. We’re 40 minutes away from kick-off.

Eamon Dunphy is questioning the decision to leave Hoolahan out, calling it “bonkers”. The Norwich schemer has always impressed in a green shirt and is our most creative player but O’Neill has opted for a more physical option in Walters.

Ireland fans outside the stadium.

Republic of Ireland supporters 14/10/2014 Donall Farmer / INPHO Donall Farmer / INPHO / INPHO

It’s a big night for Sheasy.

Martin O’Neill tells RTE’s Tony O’Donoghue that Walters will begin on the wing with McGeady handed a free role.

“We have a tough game ahead of us and we played pretty well the other evening,” he says. “I’ve gone with a bit of strength to begin with and we’ll see what happens.”

Okay, call it. What will tonight’s result be?

Poll Results:

Draw (946)
Germany win (895)
Ireland win (485)

German fans are thanking their team for the recent World Cup win with this cool mosaic.

Danke RTE Player RTE Player

We’re up-and-running. In these days of monochrom kits, Germany are wearing all white while Ireland are in all green.

Ireland have started nervously here. Setting up in a 4-2-3-1, they fail to clear after a couple of opportunities and allow Rüdiger to shoot from distance. Thankfully, it’s well off-target.

Minutes later, his fellow full-back Drum crashes a strike off Forde’s crossbar with the Irish keeper beaten.

Ireland win a free-kick just inside the German half and it’s taken short to McGeady, whose cross to the back post is cleared. The visitors really need to hold onto the ball better here.

Clever free-kick from Germany 35 yards out from goal. Kroos chips to Müller, who nods back across to Rüdiger but the full-back heads wide.

Draxler then breaks free down the left and cut back to Kroos for a low drive which doesn’t trouble Forde’s goal. Worrying signs.

Hummels comes through the back of Keane to concede the foul in a wide area. It’s McGeady with the delivery but it amounts to nothing.

Gotze clips a ball over the top into Draxler and it comes off the Schalke man’s head before running through to Forde.

Ireland are making no effort to keep the ball on the rare occasions that they get it back with Forde content to hoof it long every time.

Kroos has another pop at goal but it’s too high. 25 minutes gone.

Bellarabi goes down in the box and calls for a penalty but Meyler has done nothing wrong there.

Possession after a half hour – Germany 64% Ireland 36%.

Wilson’s passes is intercepted and Forde has to race out of his goal to clear the danger. His touch is a heavy one, however, and O’Shea eventually scrambles the ball away.

McClean gets away from Rüdiger excellently but overcooks the cross.

McClean brings down Kroos with a trailing leg and the Real Madrid man delivers. It reaches Ginter, who can’t keep his header down.

Meanwhile, Whelan has picked up a yellow card for catching the back of Kroos’ heel.

Quinn whips a free-kick to the back post where Wilson is yards away from connecting. Set pieces may be out best bet for a goal.

Half-time: Germany 0-0 Ireland 

Draxler’s shot from an acute angle is blocked by Forde and the whistle goes for half-time.

Penny for your thoughts, Roy…

Roy Keane Donall Farmer / INPHO Donall Farmer / INPHO / INPHO

Half-time scores in the other Group D games:

  • Poland 1-1 Scotland
  • Gibraltar 0-2 Georgia

Second half, here we go. Lukas Podolski for Ginter is the only change.

Real chance for Ireland! The Germans gift Keane possession and he waits for McGeady to go around the outside before sliding him in. The Everton man tries a shot but is crowded out by a couple of defender.

Germany go straight down the other end and Podolski forces Forde into a decent save. He has caught Whelan on the follow-through and the midfielder needs treatment.

Kroos picks out Bellarabi with a super pass and he steps inside to fire at Forde.

Martin O’Neill then makes his first substitution with the injured Whelan making way for Jeff Hendrick.

Forde saves again then McClean puts in a brilliant block.

Germany are upping the tempo and Müller knocks down for Podolski, who takes a touch and dives in the hope of winning a penalty. Wilson collides with the Arsenal attacker but replays show he was already on his way down and Ireland win the free-kick. Good call.

Attendance tonight is 51,204, the stadium announcer reveals.

Keane is making way for Darron Gibson and Ireland will shuffle a couple of players — Walters goes up front, McGeady to the right and Gibson into the centre of the park.

Gotze goes to ground in the box after O’Shea gets a hold of him and brings the ball out of possession.

Wilson has earned himself a booking while Max Kruse has come on Draxler.

GOAL! Germany 1-0 Ireland (Toni Kroos 71′)

There’s the opener. Kroos picks up the ball 25 yards out from goal and, with Ireland backing off, blasts a strike in off the post.

Ireland’s final substitution sees Wes Hoolahan on for Quinn.

Germany open Ireland up with a neat passage of play on the edge of their box and Forde again saves — this time from Gotze.

10 minutes on the clock.

Ward has injured himself but, with no substitutes left, he must continue for the remaining ten minutes or so.

That was the chance. Ireland work the ball out to the left and McClean crosses for Hoolahan whose shot is somehow blocked by Durm.

Sebastian Rudy has been introduced for Bellarabi, meanwhile.

Four additional minutes to be played.

Ireland dispossess Kroos and break through Hoolahan. He delays the pass and is bullied off the ball. Needed to be sharper there.

GOAL! Germany 1-1 Ireland (John O’Shea 93′)

WOW. Just wow. Hoolahan crosses deep and Hendrick sticks the ball back across where O’Shea arrives perfectly to flick past Neuer. Ireland have surely nicked a point.

Full-time: Germany 1-1 Ireland

The vital equaliser. Incredible…

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