What to watch out for in Monday's EURO qualifiers

Northern Ireland stand at the gates of history as the intrigue continues on Monday with Germany back in the groove and Albania out to upset Portugal yet again.

Northern Ireland could have plenty to celebrate on Monday
Northern Ireland could have plenty to celebrate on Monday ©AFP/Getty Images

Group D
Things looking up for Löw
A run of five wins in ten matches since Germany became world champions had built some pressure around Joachim Löw's team – but according to German newspaper Bild "the fun is finally back" in the wake of Friday's win against Poland. That 3-1 success in Frankfurt has taken the new Group D leaders a further step towards qualification and allowed coach Löw to look on the bright side ahead of Monday's trip to fourth-placed Scotland. "Poland had maybe two, three good chances, but they all materialised from our mistakes. It is positive that we managed to create so many chances, but on the other hand we should have put things beyond doubt earlier."
Scotland v Germany – 20.45CET

Highlights: Germany 3-1 Poland
Highlights: Germany 3-1 Poland

Points paramount for Poland
Having slipped off the Group D summit on Friday, Adam Nawalka's men need an immediate response to keep their campaign on track. Poland round off their qualifiers against chasing duo Scotland and Ireland next month, so there is no time to lick wounds following their Germany reverse. Łukasz Piszczek and Karol Linetty have pulled out of the squad, but the Poles retain fond memories of their last meeting with Gibraltar – a 7-0 win a year ago to the day which featured four Robert Lewandowski goals.
Poland v Gibraltar – 20.45CET

Team honour over personal glory for Keane
Robbie Keane took his tally to an incredible 67 international goals in Friday's 4-0 victory over Gibraltar, and only four Europeans have ever managed more. He broke Ireland's national record 11 years ago. His next target is Gerd Müller, who struck 68, but the forward says his thoughts are not straying beyond an Ireland win. "To be up there with those names is incredible but I don't think about it too much, it is one of those that when I hang up the boots and look back I will give myself a pat on the back but at this moment in time I am just looking for the next goal." He always is. Georgia know what is coming but can they stop him?
Republic of Ireland v Georgia – 20.45CET

Highlights: Faroe Islands 1-3 Northern Ireland
Highlights: Faroe Islands 1-3 Northern Ireland

Group F
Northern Ireland nearly there
History beckons for Northern Ireland as they take on Hungary knowing a win will earn them a first ever UEFA European Championship berth – and their first major finals appearance since the 1986 World Cup. Given the stakes, a dose of nerves would be understandable, but manager Michael O'Neill is confident his troops will rise to the occasion. "We've got all the characteristics to see this game through and see this campaign through," he said. "I don't think there's a nervousness in the players; there's an excitement, a really strong belief."
Northern Ireland v Hungary – 20.45CET

Greece can still have a say
Out of the running since very early on, Greece have endured a painful campaign that has already accounted for two coaches in Claudio Ranieri and Sergio Markarián. The section stragglers can nonetheless play the role of spoilers in their last three games as they tackle each of the Group F frontrunners – starting with second-placed Romania. "We will be motivated in the remaining three matches to show that we can recover our winning mentality," said caretaker coach Kostas Tsanas following Friday's loss to Finland. "Even in defeat, a coach needs to find something to build on for the future."
Romania v Greece – 20.45CET

Highlights: Greece 0-1 Finland
Highlights: Greece 0-1 Finland

Faroes chasing record haul
For so long considered a soft touch, the Faroe Islands stand on the verge of a record qualifying points tally thanks to home-and-away wins against Greece. With three games to go, Lars Olsen's side need a point to equal their best ever haul – ahead of the 2002 FIFA World Cup – and two to surpass it, and they travel to Finland having conceded just three away goals in the section. True, they have lost all four previous meetings with the Finns, but their hosts are by no means in fearsome shape, with a solitary point at home in the bag thus far.
Finland v Faroe Islands – 20.45CET

Group I
Denmark cannot afford another slip
Only a win will do for Denmark in Yerevan. The Scandinavian side were in control of their own destiny before Friday's 0-0 draw with Albania, but their opponents' attacking approach caught them on the hop early on and then when Morten Olsen's side did get a grip on the game, they could not take their chances. Denmark cannot afford such profligacy now, so expect Yussuf Poulsen to start after the Leipzig forward's bright cameo last time out. They will once again be without the injured Christian Eriksen but should have enough against a side propping up Group I.
Armenia v Denmark – 18.00CET

Highlights: Denmark 0-0 Albania
Highlights: Denmark 0-0 Albania

Albania punching above their weight
UEFA EURO 2016 qualifying has been one for the dark horses: Wales, Iceland, Slovakia, Austria, Northern Ireland. Albania too. Against Denmark on Friday they were without first-choice defenders Mërgim Mavraj and Elseid Hysaj; in came Zürich youngster Berat Djimsiti and Arlind Ajeti, currently without a club – they kept a clean sheet. A 0-0 draw left them a point behind Portugal and level with the Danes who have played a game more. Right-back Djimsiti is likely to retain his place in Elbasan as Albania come up against … Cristiano Ronaldo and Co, whom they stunned 1-0 last September.
Albania v Portugal – 20.45CET

Top