Ireland can′t get enough of Germany | NRS-Import | DW | 08.10.2015
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Ireland can't get enough of Germany

On a night of history for the Republic of Ireland, Joachim Löw's Germans will be kicking themselves to the song of the Dublin night. It was the same a year ago in Gelsenkirchen, and the Irish just could not get enough.

As the sun broke out across Dublin on Thursday afternoon, David, the host at my guesthouse, turned to me and said, "It's a cracking day to beat the Germans!" A point would have been enough, but it was indeed to be an evening that ended in three.

There was a real sense in the city that Irish football was returning to the glory decades of the 1990s. Green was strewn across Dublin, in the form of parks, pubs, and of course shirts. But it felt as though something different was in the air.

Once inside the Aviva stadium, I grew claustrophobic with the green that surrounded me. The noise rippled around the three looming sides of the arena, leaving the humble stand that backs onto Bath Avenue - an extra out of Darmstadt's stadium - which was fittingly full of Germany fans.

It took two minutes for Ireland to touch the ball, but the cheers that met the change in possession were deafening. The epicenter came from the stand on the famous Lansdowne Road. Every successful pass, every move into the final third, every time Germany was forced to play backwards - all accompanied by the kind of roar you normally hear at an Irish rugby game.

Ilkay Gündogan came close. Mesut Özil went one better but was offside, much to the delight of the home crowd. Soon after, the football version of "I Just Can't Get Enough" rang out. Patches of quiet accompanied German possession, but the roar returned every time Ireland got involved.

UEFA Euro 2016 Qualifikation Irland Deutschland

Germany could only watch as the Irish bounced

Corner to Germany. Cleared. Cheers rippled around the stadium once more. Cyrus Christie, Ireland's right back, burst down the right flank, couldn't get the cross in but won a throw-in. More cheers. After 30 minutes, a roar accompanied every completed pass before eventually morphing into applause. Once again, it ended in nothing but all the while, there was a lingering sense it could do - eventually.

Özil trickled a shot wide. With every passing minute of the 0-0 scoreline, the steeper the three sides of the Aviva stadium seemed. There was almost nothing but crossed arms and furrowed brows from Germany's fans. I thought of Sören - a German student I had met in town earlier on in the day. He had organized for a group of around 200 German Erasmus students to fill out Diceys bar for the game. They must have been sipping nervously by now.

Nearly an hour gone. Manuel Neuer set up a fantastic counterattack, but Andre Schürrle (subbed on in the first-half for an injured Mario Götze) stayed true to his club form and fired over. Still no breakthrough.

Neuer miscued a kick. Throw-in Ireland. An even greater roar from the home crowd. They could sense Germany was there for the taking. Ireland came forward and the ball fell to Daryl Murphy. He shot for goal. Wide. A sea of hands leapt onto heads. Marco Reus' low cross evaded everyone, but spurred the visiting fans back into life. Perhaps Ireland's chance had gone?

No. Shane Long came off the bench, latched onto a long ball and fired past Manuel Neuer. The noise that hit me - and hit me it did - was so loud it had me bouncing up and down on my seat. All that hope had been worth having.

Mats Hummels headed wide. "Come On You Boys In Green" reverberated around the stadium. Fifteen minutes left. On came Karim Bellarabi. Surely Müller would save the day? His chance came, but unbelievably, the Bayern man fired over the bar.

The journalist next to me had his head in his hands. The Irish players were throwing themselves in front of everything. Nothing was going right for Germany. Four minutes of injury time. Two successive corners were cheered like a World Cup win. And then it was done. History had been made. And back came the music. And even more than in Gelsenkirchen this time last year, Irish football will certainly never get enough of this.

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