Germany marked Hansi Flick’s first home game in charge in style as they thumped Armenia 6-0 in World Cup qualifying to go top of Group J.
Having suffered a shock 2-1 defeat to North Macedonia in the last round of qualifiers back in March, Germany had found themselves looking up at their less illustrious opponents in the group.
Armenia were unbeaten with 10 points from four games ahead of Sunday’s clash in Stuttgart, but Germany, coming off a 2-0 win over Liechtenstein on Thursday, changed that situation in emphatic fashion, Serge Gnabry the undoubted star of the show.
Gnabry scored twice in the opening 15 minutes and Marco Reus and Timo Werner put the result beyond doubt before half-time, with Jonas Hofmann’s long-range effort and Karim Adeyemi’s goal on his senior debut rounding off a rout.
The players took to the centre circle for a pre-match tribute to Gerd Muller following the Germany legend’s death last month, and ‘Der Bomber’ would surely have been delighted by the attacking football displayed by Flick’s side.
A well-worked move on the right concluded with Gnabry lashing home at the near post after latching on to Leon Goretzka’s superb pass to open the scoring, and he netted his second from almost the same spot.
Reus’ ball in was missed by Werner but Gnabry beat the outstretched leg of David Yurchenko and that trio were too the fore again to make it 3-0 after Leroy Sane’s wicked long-range effort clattered the crossbar.
Gnabry lofted a wonderful ball from the right wing towards Werner, whose clever flick was met with a confident first-time finish from Reus.
Goretzka’s header across goal teed up Werner for a tap-in for 4-0 in the final minute of normal time in the first half, with more pain for the visitors coming seven minutes after the restart when Hofmann powered home a fifth from outside the box.
Hofmann was only denied his second through a goal-line clearance and Werner was correctly thwarted by the offside flag late on, before Adeyemi capped off another superb attack to make it a debut to remember for him on a night Armenia will quickly want to forget.
2/2 – Hansi Flick has won his first two matches in charge of Germany, registering a +8 goal difference; the best start amongst all Germany managers after their first two games. Historic. #GERARM pic.twitter.com/1JYQT2zZgs
— OptaFranz (@OptaFranz) September 5, 2021
What does it mean? Flick’s men come out firing
The surprise leaders of the group through four games, Armenia might have been expected to present a stiff test for Die Mannschaft.
Any such prospect was removed from the equation within a quarter of an hour and, by half-time, Germany were out of sight.
In UEFA qualification for the 2022 World Cup, only Belgium (10) have scored more first-half goals than Germany (eight), and Flick’s side will surely have no problem progressing if they continue to start hot.
Gnabry sparks Germany surge
With a hand in each of the first three goals, Gnabry once again proved his worth to Germany. On a night when they could have scored even more, it was the Bayern Munich man who shone brightest, registering a passing accuracy of 96.3 per cent in the opposition half – higher than any of his outfield team-mates.
Armenia fail to show
Armenia never really had a chance to lay a glove on Germany and posed no threat to fight back after falling behind. They had three shots to Germany’s 23, just one of which hit the target.
Now two points clear at the top of the group, Germany visit an Iceland side who have won only one of their five qualifiers on Wednesday, when Armenia will hope to get back on track against Liechtenstein.
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