5 things we learned from Northern Ireland's defeat to Germany

Michael O'Neill's men are on the brink of securing a place in the World Cup play-offs

Crisis? What crisis? Germany proved that they are impervious to the struggles of their club sides as they ended Northern Ireland's four-year unbeaten home qualifying record to book their ticket to Russian Federation last night. But with the margins for qualification so fine and resources limited, O'Neill admits he can not jeopardise Northern Ireland's chances in Norway.

They will be assured of a two-legged November tie prior to meeting Norway on Sunday if both Bosnia and Herzegovina and Greece fail to win 24 hours earlier.

"There is a real importance to the fact that we make sure of the result in Norway because obviously we want to try and get three points, and we certainly want to make sure we're not beaten. We are on a tightrope with bookings". We dominated the game; our opponents were somewhat passive and let us play our way.

The Northern Ireland team is boosted by the return of defender Gareth McAuley, who missed his previous global matches because of injury. players George Saville and Jordan Jones are in the squad for the first time. We'd like to get to 20 points but it would be fantastic to get to 22.

'Ultimately, whatever happens in the playoff, it's a home and away tie. If the result goes against us, I don't think we would go into the playoff with any less confidence.

"We are more than confident going into Oslo despite this defeat".

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His fourth goal in this qualifying campaign, and the goal will help further stake his claim to be Germany's staring striker in Russian Federation next year. He went on to say. "The biggest thing is to set a team up that's hard to beat".

Germany again looked menacing at the start of the second half with Wagner's cross met by Muller but McGovern scrambled across his goal to turn the ball behind for a corner.

"It never gave us a chance to settle into the game". In the second half, we couldn't have asked for any more.

It is hard to believe after seeing how awesome they were, again, in Belfast, but Joachim Low insisted Germany "need to improve in many more areas" before they begin their World Cup title defence in Russian Federation.

Already out of contention, the Czech Republic defeated Azerbaijan 2-1 in Baku to move to third, and Mohamed "Moi" Elyounoussi scored a hat trick in Norway's 8-0 rout of San Marino.

However, they can still look forward to a place in the playoffs and a possible trip to Russian Federation.

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