A 4-0 defeat of North Macedonia officially puts the German national team through to the coming World Cup.
Timo Werner scored a crucial brace in the victory. Jamal Musiala also registered his first German national team goal.
|Timo Werner.||Photo: Steffen Prößdorf, CC BY-SA 4.0|
On a cold and rainy night in Skopje, the German Nationalmannschaft officially secured qualification for the coming World Cup in Qatar while also ensuring that the maximum points start to the Hansi Flick Era stretches to 15 points from five matches.
Flick made five changes to the XI that started against Romania on Friday evening. Manuel Neuer returned to take his place between the sticks. Defenders Lukas Klostermann and David Raum replaced Jonas Hofmann and Antonio Rüdiger. Thomas Müller and Kai Havertz came on for Leroy Sané and Marco Reus.
The Bundestrainer maintained his 4-2-3-1 formation, albeit with at least one altered position. Thilo Kehrer scooted inward to partner alongside Niklas Süle, ceding the left-back role to Raum. Havertz took Sané's place on the left wing with Müller taking over the ten spot from Reus. Klostermann worked as the right-fullback.
The DFB-XI generated their first chance of the match in the 2nd minute. Havertz hit Joshua Kimmich with a cross at the far post. The Bayern midfielder got a good header in, but North Macedonian keeper Stole Dimitrievski was ultimately able to parry. There were few highlights to follow during a first half in which the Germans mounted plenty of attacks, but were ultimately boxed out by a deep seated North Macedonian defense.
Flick's men looked a little more promising on the counter. Some unfocused play on behalf of Gnabry and Havertz nevertheless meant that link up play with Müller and lead striker Timo Werner ultimately got too sloppy. Werner, subject of some talk in German footballing circles over the weekend, found bad luck still stuck to his boot. The Chelsea man whiffed on a chance shortly before the end of normal time and hit the post at 45+2.
The heavy rain that had mostly relented during the first-half picked up again shortly before the restart. There were some more misplaced passes from the German team during the initial few attacks. Gnabry still saw an excellent opportunity four minutes in. Gnabry hit teammate Müller with a long telegraphed ball out of his own half. The onrushing Müller and Havertz had their lone defender outnumbered and the latter finished easily for the 1-0.
Both teams struggled with their passing amid the slick conditions thereafter. Werner again couldn't get a handle on a proper finish when intended cross from Gnabry bounced off his knee at the hour mark. The German center-forward then couldn't connect properly with a Müller cross in the 69th. Fortunately for the Stuttgart native, Müller touched through him beautifully after a kick free kick less than a minute later.
This time Werner would finish emphatically for the 2-0. Less than three minutes after that, the recently questioned Stuttgart native had a brace. Werner settled a ball just inside the left on the 18. With cool and aplomb, he then belted in a beautiful effort into the far corner. It looked exactly like a practice shot on the training pitch. With the 3-0, matters were settled.
Substitute Karim Adeyemi narrowly missed the 4-0 moments later. Jamal Musiala made no such mistake with Adeyemi played him ahead in the 83rd. After two deft touches and a clinical finish, Germany's much heralded next Wunderkind had his first national team goal.
Romania's defeat of Armenia means that Germany have now officially punched their ticket for next Winter's World Cup in Qatar.
|13||Stefan Ristovski (C) ↩77|
|21||Tihomir Kostadinov ↩77|
|5||Arijan Ademi ↩29|
|16||Boban Nikolov ↩58|
|18||Adis Jahović ↩58|
|23||Bojan Miovski ↪58|
|3||Stefan Ashkovski ↪77|
|4||Kire Ristevski ↪77|
|17||Erdal Rakip ↪58|
|20||Stefan Spirovski ↪29|
|1||Manuel Neuer (C)|
|8||Leon Goretzka ↩61|
|10||Serge Gnabry ↩74|
|13||Thomas Müller ↩80|
|7||Kai Havertz ⚽ ↩61|
|9||Timo Werner ⚽⚽ ↩74|
|22||Marc-André ter Stegen|
|18||Jonas Hofmann ↪74|
|20||Karim Adeyemi ↪61|
|14||Jamal Musiala ↪74 ⚽|
|17||Florian Neuhaus ↪80|
|23||Florian Wirtz ↪61|