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Germany ease aside Gibraltar

Germany 4-0 Gibraltar
Thomas Müller scored twice in the first half-hour as the world champions returned to winning ways in qualifying Group D.

Highlights: Germany v Gibraltar

Germany, after two games without a win, register their second Group D victory
Thomas Müller strikes twice before the half-hour mark in Nuremberg
Müller's FC Bayern München club-mate Mario Götze adds the third
Gibraltar, for whom Yogan Santos scores an own goal, are still awaiting their first point
Next games: Georgia v Germany, Scotland v Gibraltar (29 March)

Following defeat by Poland last month and a home draw with the Republic of Ireland, Germany returned to winning ways in UEFA EURO 2016 qualifying Group D with a routine victory against Gibraltar.

Within minutes the visitors had been forced onto the edge of their penalty area as the Nationalmannschaft quickly gained a monopoly on possession. The challenge for the world champions was how to negotiate a way through the eight, sometimes nine, Gibraltarian players massed on the edge of the box, something they did in the fourth minute when Sami Khedira's flick found Thomas Müller, who dragged his shot wide.

Toni Kroos hit the side netting and goalkeeper Jamie Robba parried Karim Bellarabi's angled drive before Müller fired Germany ahead, finishing from close range after the overlapping Shkodran Mustafi's cross struck the near post and rebounded against David Artell.

Kroos and Jérôme Boateng elicited smart saves from Robba, who was doing his best to keep the hosts at bay, but the second goal was not long in coming. Mario Götze switched play to the left and the feet of Lukas Podolski, whose low delivery was turned in by the unmarked Müller.

Götze made it three before the break following a neat exchange of passes with Max Kruse. Gibraltar, though, very nearly had the final say of the half. A long throw down the line took Boateng and Mustafi out of the equation and, after a brief look up, Liam Walker unleashed an audacious long-range effort that the backpedalling Manuel Neuer pushed wide.

The second period started like the first – with Joachim Löw's men on the offensive and hunting another goal. It was not immediately forthcoming, however, as the home team, faced with a sea of red shirts in front of them, were restricted to long-range attempts.

When they did make the breakthrough in the second half it came via the outstretched boot of Gibraltar's Yogan Santos, who turned Podolski's low pass across goal past Robba. With 18 minutes remaining and the contest petering out, Löw sent on 1. FC Köln defender Jonas Hector, 24, for his debut.

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