A German football fan has used Facebook to be reunited with the Northern Ireland fan he befriended over a bottle of Bushmills whiskey when the teams met in Paris last year.
The world champions’ fan – Werner Brandt – got his hands on tickets for the Windsor Park World Cup qualifying showdown between the two teams, and put an appeal on social media to find the Northern Ireland fan he hit it off with at Euro 2016.
He posted a photo of the pair joking around on a Paris street bench, and said he knew his Ulster friend lived at Bushmills.
The appeal was shared widely on Facebook and soon his Co Antrim friend was identified as 60-year-old Neil Fenn.
The two met up at the Empire pub in Belfast just before the rematch to relive their Paris trip – and discuss whether Northern Ireland had any chance of inflicting a huge upset over the world champions.
“We only met last year,” Neil said. “We had a good meeting again this afternoon [in Belfast] and are enjoying the pub in Elmwood Avenue.
“There are a lot of German people here who have come and joined us.
“I think Werner said we might win 2-1, though I said we would be happy for a draw.
“I told him I put a bet on for us to win 2-1, with Gareth McCauley scoring the first goal. That was at odds of 360-1 so I put my pocket money on that.
“But the Germans have never lost an away game in 86 years, so any chance of us winning is very slim.”
However, once the whistle blows the two fans will be split up.
“Werner will be on the German side and I will be on top of the dug outs. I will be shouting down all my football knowledge to Michael O’Neill.
“Last year he told me to get my shorts on just in case Northern Ireland needed me.”
Neil said he has been hard in training.
“I was playing walking football just last week. I can play any position so long as there is some oxygen and a defibrillator somewhere nearby. Werner might also be lined up for Germany, just in case.”