It’s a cool but dry evening in Dublin, and the home side take to the field in their traditional green and white ensemble with Germany in their familiar Schwarz und Weiß.
There are no last-moment surprises from the German Nationaltrainer, with the expected starting eleven lining up for the Mannschaft. In fact, it is probably one of the most easily predictable starting elevens for a while.
Between the sticks, Manuel Neuer. A solid enough back four with Jérôme Boateng coming in for the suspended Philipp Lahm at right back and Per Mertesacker replacing the injured Mats Hummels in the centre. Alongside them, Holger Badstuber and Marcel Schmelzer. The first-choice defensive midfield duo of the returning Bastian Schweinsteiger and Sami Khedira. The now familiar attacking midfield trio of Thomas Müller, Mesut Özil and Marco Reus. Then the one man up front, Miroslav Klose – making his 125th international appearance.
After a couple of formal announcements from the two team captains we have the national anthems, which are made to sound slightly bizarre by a suited and kilted Dudelsackband. It must be one of the strangest renditions of the Nationalhymne I have ever heard: I like the sound of the bagpipes, but Joseph Haydn’s wonderful composition was clearly not written with that instrument in mind.
1 min. The home side get things under way and are immediately on the attack as German left-back Marcel Schmelzer concedes a corner which comes to nothing. The men in green should have won another corner seconds later but the officials don’t see the ball deflect off Jérôme Boateng.
4 mins. A long punt up from Irish ‘keeper Keiren Westwood, and after Jonathan Walters holds the ball up well Keith Andrews sends a shot well wide of the target. It has been a bright start by the home side.
5 mins. Walters finds space out on the left and pulls the ball into the German box, but cannot find a green shirt. Per Mertesacker collects and clears.
6 mins. Germany finally put a few passes together as Miroslav Klose finds Thomas Müller who wins a throw out on the left. Moments later Müller sends a cross into the Irish box where it is hacked away by Darren O’Dea. The resulting corner comes to nothing.
9 mins. The Mannschaft put a few close passes together just outside the Irish box, but it’s a case to too many touches as the move breaks down and the home side punt the ball up the field.
12 mins. Germany break swiftly up the field, and a promising move comes to a disappointing end as Boateng fails to communicate effectively with Klose.
15 mins. Finally, Joachim Löw’s side are able to relax a little on the ball, and Marco Reus works his way down the left before sending a looping ball into the Irish penalty area. The cross is a little too high for Müller, who heads the ball over the bar.
17 mins. Bastian Schweinsteiger is starting to impose himself on the game, and is starting to get involved in upping the tempo. He breaks down the right and plays the ball into the opposition box, but Müller’s first touch is too heavy.
18 mins. Good possession from the Mannschaft, but once again it’s far too intricate and the ball is once again given away. Klose is looking sharp, Mesut Özil is starting to find some space in midfield and Müller is getting plenty of the ball.
20 mins. The home crowd are starting to get impatient as Germany slow things down with a little keep-ball.
21 mins. The Irish are packing the defence and playing one man up front, and are looking to punt the ball forward at every opportunity. Walters is left to chase, but Manuel Neuer is alert as he hares out his area to head the ball back into the Irish half.
23 mins. Schmelzer looks slightly uncomfortable on the ball as he attempts to run clear, and is saved by the referee who blows for a foul on the Borussia Dortmund left-back.
25 mins. Yet another elaborate and over-complicated move by the Germans breaks down, and the Irish run the ball clear. Sometimes you want a Michael Ballack on the pitch.
27 mins. A long-range potshot from Khedira takes a deflection for a corner. In keeping with the recent fashion, the Eckball is awful. The only upside is that Germany are able to keep possession of the ball.
30 mins. Germany look to break through the middle of he field, but Reus’ pass is overcooked. Moments later, the Borussia Dortmund man is put through and seemingly fouled by John O’Shea. It looks as though the Italian referee is awarding a penalty, but he inexplicably books Reus for diving. An awful decision by the official: that could very easily have been a penalty and a red card for the Irish defender.
32 mins. Not to worry. After some good close possession play on the left, Schweinsteiger flicks the ball into the box where it is picked up by Schmelzer, who chests the ball down nicely before mis-kicking. Aiden McGeady fails to clear the danger, and the fleet-footed Reus breezes in to skip past Seamus Coleman and lift the ball neatly over Westwood and in off the underside of the crossbar with his right foot. A clinical finish, and justice has clearly been done. 1-0.
35 mins. Having taken the lead the visitors are now looking comfortable. Müller cannot find Klose in the box, and Boateng is causing trouble for the green-shirted defence on the right.
38 mins. Plenty of space now for Germany, and after a series of passes Müller launches a long-range effort that flies over the bar.
40 mins. Germany are under pressure at the back, but break beautifully. After some good defensive work by Schmelzer Özil makes the initial break away, spreading the ball wide to Boateng who sends it across the width of the pitch to find Reus in space. The Dortmund man doesn’t need a second invitation as he moves the ball forward before crashing a lovely left-footed shot past Westwood into the bottom right-hand corner of the Irish net. 2-0.
43 mins. It’s easy now as half-time is approaching. Patient build-up play, looking for the killer pass.
45 mins. The referee blows his whistle, and the two teams make their way off the field. After looking ordinary for the opening period, Germany have come alive through the magnificent Rolls Reus. Sharp, clinical, and great to watch.
There’s a change at half-time as Toni Kroos is on for Sami Khedira. The German number six was slightly quiet, and it is revealed that he has a slight hamstring twinge. Germany get things under way.
47 mins. Kroos is fouled out on the left by O’Dea, resulting in a free-kick for Germany and a booking for the Irish centre-back. Reus deftly lifts the ball into the box and it is put behind by a green shirt. The corner from Özil is better than anything that was produced in the first half, and Klose’s header goes wide.
50 mins. The home side are trying to get back into the game, and are having their best spell since the opening minutes. Having been allowed to relax for most of the first half, Neuer responds well to a good shot by Simon Cox.
51 mins. The Irish make a change as Shane Long is on for Keith Fahey.
54 mins. Germany break, and as Klose looks to collect Müller’s pass he is hacked down by O’Dea. This time the referee does point to the spot, but having already picked up a yellow card O’Dea is slightly lucky to still be on the field. Özil steps up to coolly send the penalty into the right side of the net with his left foot. No run up, a slight pause, and a clinical finish. It’s Özil’s fourth strike in three games. 3-0.
58 mins. Jogi’s Jungs are running riot now. Another swift break, a pin-point through-ball from Schweinsteiger to Klose, who rounds Westwood before finding the target from the tightest of tight angles. Miro silences his critics, and edges ever closer towards Gerd Müller’s record. 4-0.
61 mins. It’s turning into a walk in the park for the Mannschaft now. More trickery from Özil, the Irish are once again at sixes and sevens, and the ball falls to Kroos who cracks a stunning low left-footed volley past Westwood. 5-0.
65 mins. Müller’s pass across the Irish box to Reus leaves the Dortmund man with a little too much to do.
67 mins. Jogi Löw makes a second change, with two-goal hero Reus making way for Lukas Podolski.
68 mins. Boateng bustles forward and looks to find Klose, but a green shirt gets there first to send the ball behind for a corner.
70 mins. McGeady is off for Andy Keogh as Trappatoni makes his second change. There are no tactics here, as Keogh is making his first appearance in two years. With this in mind, might Heiko Westermann be given a few minutes game time?
72 mins. No Westermann, as André Schürrle is on for Klose. With just inder twenty minutes remaining, there’s plenty of time for more. Even Schmelzer is looking comfortable on the ball.
75 mins. There’s a small moment for the Irish as Keith Andrews gets one more shot off target on the stats list. Some of the home crowd are leaving already. What a contrast to the last visit to Dublin, and that tedious goalless draw at Croke Park.
78 mins. Germany are walking the ball around the park, and Shane Long gets a booking for a desperate challenge on Kroos.
79 mins. Özil sashays nonchalantly to the edge to the Irish box, and rolls the ball inside to Boateng, whose firm shot is on target but safely collected by Westwood.
83 mins. It’s like being out on the training field for Jogi Löw’s side. It’s pass after pass after pass, and Kroos finds space some twenty yards out before drilling a right-footed shot that slams into the back of the Irish net. It’s a nice round half-dozen for the Mannschaft. 6-0.
84 mins. Robby Brady is on for Simon Cox for the Irish.
86 mins. Badstuber finds his way into the referee’s notebook for a needless challenge on Walters.
90 mins. The ground is emptying fast now, as the touchline official signals two minutes of additional time. More nice passing, and Kroos gets a shot on target. There’s no hat-trick however as Westwood collects.
90+1 mins. Keogh forces a fine save from Neuer as the Irish finally get a shot on target, but the German ‘keeper is unable to stop the Irish from getting their consolation. Brady’s right-sided corner is swung in, and Keogh arrives unmarked at the far post to head home from the edge of the six-yard box. It’s yet more poor defending from a corner. 6-1.
90+2 mins. The Italian official puts the Irish side and the remaining home supporters out of their misery.
It’s a record home defeat for the Irish, and after sluggish performances against the Faroe Islands and Austria Joachim Löw’s team have been able to once again find the opposition goal at will. The inability to take and defend corners still remains a problem however, and there will be some annoyance at the Republic’s last-gasp consolation effort.
It’s three from three, nine points in the bag, and eleven goals in three games – with Sweden to come next Tuesday.
v Republic of Ireland, Aviva Stadium, Dublin, 12.10.2012
Reus 32., 40., Özil pen 55., Klose 58., Kroos 61., 83. / Keogh 90.+2.
Germany: Neuer – Boateng, Mertesacker, Badstuber, Schmelzer – Khedira (46. Kroos), Schweinsteiger (c) – Müller, Özil, Reus (66. Podolski) – Klose (72. Schürrle)
Republic of Ireland: Westwood – Coleman, O’Shea (c), O’Dea, Ward – McCarthy, Andrews, Fahey (51. Long) – Cox (84. Brady), McGeady (69. Keogh) – Walters
Referee: Nicola Rizzoli (Italy)
Assistants: Renato Faverani, Andrea Stefani (Italy)
Fourth Official: Luca Banti (Italy)
Yellow Cards: Reus 30., Badstuber 86. / O’Dea 47., Long 78.
Red Cards: – / –
Attempts on Target: 11 / 4
Attempts off Target: 3 / 2
Corners: 6 / 3
Fouls Committed: 9 / 9