Serge Gnabry made it 13 goals in 13 Germany games, and Leon Goretzka took his tally to 11 as the hosts won Group C.
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Germany sealed first place in UEFA EURO 2020 Group C with a comfortable win in Frankfurt, Serge Gnabry’s hat-trick – his second at senior international level – taking the in-form Bayern forward’s tally to 13 Germany goals in as many appearances.
Michael O’Neill’s men snatched a shock seventh-minute lead, thanks to Michael Smith’s first international goal, but Die Mannschaft hit back 11 minutes later through Gnabry, and were in front just before the break after Leon Goretzka’s close-range finish.
Gnabry got his second just 66 seconds after the restart and staked his claim to the match ball on the hour mark with a deft strike. Goretzka added another 17 minutes from the end, before Julian Brandt rounded off the scoring in added time.
State of play
- Germany have qualified as Group C winners.
- Northern Ireland will be in play-offs as next best-ranked team in League B.
Joachim Löw, Germany coach
“We did not get nervous after going behind. I liked what I saw very much. We were focused for the full 90 minutes and this makes me positive looking forward. We enjoyed it. Even when we were up by two or three goals, we continued attacking. We can be very pleased.”
Emre Can, Germany defender
“I wouldn't say that tonight has changed the fact that we don't belong among the big favourites at EURO 2020. We have a young team, but one with great potential: 6-1 tonight, though – that is quite a statement.”
Michael O’Neill, Northern Ireland manager
“It was a tough night especially the second half. They had lots of quality. The Germans were extremely clinical and it was a tough lesson. We had five, six players missing that were possible starters. For our player pool that's tough. Some goals were preventable, but Gnabry was undefendable tonight. We had to defend very deep because of their quality.”
Germany went behind early, but were never flustered, the midfield power trio of Kimmich, Kroos and Gündoğan always very much in control. Goretzka proved to be a good choice again on the right side of the attack, showing the presence and aerial prowess that hat-trick man Gnabry and Brandt perhaps lack. Can made a strong case for himself with a commanding performance in central defence on a night of many positives for Die Mannschaft, who had a good number of first-choice players absent. They may not start EURO 2020 as favourites, but no one should write them off on this form.
- Bayern’s Gnabry took his tally to 13 from 13 international games; he is the first German player to score 13 or more goals in his first 13 caps since Gerd Müller in 1969.
- Gnabry’s Germany hat-trick was his second, with his first coming three years ago this month against San Marino.
- Goretzka moved into double figures with his tenth and 11th goals for his country.
- Germany have won seven of their last nine matches (L1). They only won four of their previous 16 games.
- Northern Ireland forward Josh Magennis and defender Craig Cathcart both earned their 50th caps in Frankfurt.
- Northern Ireland conceded six goals in a qualifying match for the first time since their 9-2 loss to England in November 1949, ahead of the 1950 FIFA World Cup.
Germany: Ter Stegen; Hector, Tah, Emre Can, Klostermann (Stark 65); Kimmich, Kroos, Brandt, Gündoğan, Goretzka (Serdar 73); Gnabry (Amiri 80)
Out: Havertz (thigh), Reus (ankle), Süle (knee), Sané (knee), Draxler (match fitness), Rüdiger (groin), Kehrer (foot), Halstenberg (thigh), Trapp (shoulder), Waldschmidt (head)
Northern Ireland: Peacock-Farrell; Flanagan, Cathcart, McNair (Boyce 77); Ferguson, Saville, Davis, Evans (McLaughlin 65), Smith; Magennis (Lavery 83), Thompson