Focus switches to internationals this week, as qualification for Euro 2020 resumes.
This game should go a long way to determine who will qualify for the European Championships next summer. Ireland have started the campaign well with 10 points from the first possible 12, although two of the wins did come against whipping boys Gibraltar. This will be a real challenge for the Irish against a solid Swiss outfit that regularly qualify for the big events. If Ireland do make the Euros, they will get to play at least one match at the Aviva in the finals, which would be a great occasion and create a real buzz around the country. This will surely bring extra incentive, and that could spur the team on to put in a big performance on Thursday.
Switzerland are a tough team to break down and Ireland lack in attacking threat (none of the strikers in the current squad have scored an international goal between them). This suggests a low-scoring game and possibly a cagey affair. A draw would be a decent result for both sides in their pursuit to finish in the top two in the group ahead of Denmark.
Always an interesting battle between these two rivals who share plenty of history. Holland have struggled for form in recent years, not appearing at the last Euros and also missing out on a World Cup place in Russia last year. They were a big miss, as they are known for their entertaining brand of football. However, there are signs lately that they are on the comeback with exciting young players breaking through. Germany have also been through a bit of a transitional stage, with many of their legendary players retiring since winning the World Cup in 2014, and they too have turned to youth. Both sides are still a bit of an unknown quantity, they have met each other three times in the last year and they were all unpredictable games. They won one each, the other was a draw. Northern Ireland lead this group having won all four of their games so far, which means there is extra pressure to win this game or they could be in trouble to qualify. The Germans could use home advantage and a bit of extra experience to edge a victory.
Elsewhere, England should comfortably see off Bulgaria at home on Saturday, to move a step closer towards certain qualification. World Champions France host Albania in Paris, and should collect an easy 3 points. Spain go to Romania, and Portugal have a tough test in Serbia.
Written by Matthew Drew