The upcoming game in the Aviva is the first time that Ireland will play Germany, the four time FIFA World Cup winners, in a qualifier for the World Cup. The sides have met previously on 16 occasions, however, with seven wins for Germany and five for Ireland along with four draws. The teams did of course play each other in the group stages of the 2002 World Cup in Japan where Robbie Keane’s injury time goal cancelled out Miroslav Klose’s earlier goal and earned Ireland a 1-1 draw. Both goalscorers that day, Keane and Klose, will most likely be the only two players who played in 2002 that will be involved next weekend.
The very first match between the teams took place in Dortmund in 1935 and resulted in a 3-1 win for Germany with Peader Gaskins scoring Ireland’s only goal. The teams met the following year for the first time in Dublin. Footage from British Pathé shows the German team lining out before kick off in Dalymount Park giving the Nazi salute (see here). Ireland trailed 2-1 just after the half hour mark but grabbed an equaliser before half time. Paddy Moore was the star of the show for Ireland as the home side scored three unanswered second half goals. Moore had a hand in all five of the home side’s goals, which was quite remarkable considering, that he was reportedly found drunk on the morning of the game.
Just months before the outbreak of World War Two, Ireland earned a 1-1 in Bremen thanks to Paddy Bradshaw’s goal. It would be 12 years before the teams would meet again though, and it was a West Germany team that Ireland beat by the odd goal in five in Dalymount Park as Dessie Glynn got the winner with just six minutes remaining in the game. Controversy reigned at the end of the match though, as Germany had the ball in the net but it was disallowed by English referee Fred Ling who blew his whistle as the ball was in the air travelling towards the goal. It’s often said that this game is the reason the German away kit is green as it was the country’s first post-war game. This, however, is a myth because the Germans’ first game after the war was actually against Switzerland, while the green jersey is worn as it’s the colour of the DFB’s crest.
Twelve months later, Ireland travelled to Cologne and suffered a 3-0 defeat. The same city will host the Brazil 2014 qualifier next year between the two teams as Ireland made it three home wins out of three against Germany in 1956. Seven League of Ireland players started in the team for Ireland that day. Noel Cantwell scored from the penalty spot in the first half, with Joe Haverty and Jimmy McCann adding two more late goals as Ireland ran out 3-0 winners over the then reigning World Champions.
That win was the last time that Ireland beat Germany on home soil, though they did earn wins in Dusseldorf in 1960 where Paddy Fagan’s first half goal was the difference between the teams and in the build up to the 1994 World Cup. Tony Cascarino and Gary Kelly scored the goals in the 2-0 win in Hannover, Germany’s first loss at home in six years.
The last time the teams were paired with one another was in qualification for Euro 2008 when Steve Staunton was in charge in Stuttgart as Ireland lost 1-0. Current Arsenal striker Lukas Podolski was on the score sheet for Germany as Staunton was sent to the stands for dissent after kicking a water bottle. In the return leg, played out in front of over 67,000 spectators in Croke Park, Germany secured a point in a 0-0 draw, enough to earn them qualification for the European Championships in Austria and Switzerland.
Recent history is not in Ireland’s favour and Giovanni Trapattoni’s men will have their work cut out against a country who have yet to be beaten in a World Cup qualifier away from home. It will be a big ask for Ireland to get their first win over Germany in 18 years but they might draw inspiration from Irish players who have excelled against Germany in the past like Paddy Moore, Noel Cantwell and even 2002 hero Robbie Keane.
Macdara made his debut as a football supporter in Lansdowne Road watching Ireland defeat Liechtenstein. He still believes one day he will see his club Shamrock Rovers win an FAI Cup. You can follow Macdara on twitter @macdarabueller