It has been a long and at times frustrating season for the Nationalmannschaft, and the World Champions end 2015/16 with a trip to Faro in Portugal to take on group minnows Gibraltar. After the disappointing 2-1 home defeat against the United States earlier in the week Nationaltrainer Jogi Löw will be after a much better showing from his side at the Estádio Algarve before they head off for a well-earned summer break.
Following Poland’s 4-0 win over Georgia in Warsaw earlier in the day the Mannschaft will be certain not the top the group at the end of the evening, but they will almost certainly be looking to bag the three points and bolster their goal difference. The German coach has gone for an attacking line-up with only three men at the back, with Borussia Dortmund ‘keeper Roman Weidenfeller coming into the side for what might possibly be his final international outing.
Jérôme Boateng is back in the starting lineup alongside Sebastian Rudy and Jonas Hector, while in midfield skipper Bastian Schweinsteiger sits behind Mesut Özil and İlkay Gündoğan. There’s a dynamic-looking offensive unit with speedy wingers Patrick Herrmann and Karim Bellarabi out on the flanks with André Schürrle in the centre, and World Cup final goalscorer Mario Götze slots into the front-man role. Meanwhile, Gibraltar have just one full-time professional in two policemen, a firefighter, a PE teacher, a lawyer and a labourer.
1 min. Germany, all in white, get things underway. The home side are in an all-red outfit. The temperature is just over twenty degrees Celsius, and the crowd of just under seven thousand are all in food voice.
4 mins. It has been a slightly scrappy start, but Rudy gets the first shot at Gibraltar ‘keeper Jordan Perez. The keeper makes the stop, but looks slightly uncertain.
5 mins. Gibraltar get their first shot in, as Liam Walker fires just wide of the target after Götze is dispossessed.
6 mins. Bellarabi breaks fast down the left and looks to find Schürrle in the centre, but his cross is turned behind for the corner. Little is made of it though as the kick is straight into the hands of ‘keeper Perez.
8 mins. Özil bursts down the middle and looks for Herrmann at the far post, but overhits his pass.
9 mins. Bellarabi taps the ball into the box to find the advancing Hector, who is brought down by Jake Gosling and with little hesitation the Maltese referee points to the penalty spot. It’s the perfect opportunity to kick-start the evening, but Schweinsteiger’s kick is badly telegraphed and slightly scuffed, and Perez dives well to his left to make the save.
15 mins. Schürrle has a short blocked at the edge of the box and Germany as expected are bossing the possession, but Gibraltar have been solid at the back.
17 mins. Gibraltar make a bold foray forward, and PE teacher Adam Priestley gets a shot on goal which Weidenfeller collects.
18 mins. Bellarabi finds Götze who makes his way to the edge of the opposition box, but the FC Bayern man flagged offside. The replay shows that it is a marginal decision.
19 mins. There’s a little bit of panic among the men in red as German look to fashion a shooting chance, and Gündoğan sends an effort just wide of the right post.
21 mins. Gibraltar win a free-kick just outside the German penalty area, and Aaron Payas’s curling effort is on target but collected at the second time of asking by Weidenfeller.
24 mins. The game has now passed the quarter-way mark, and Gibraltar are still holding out. It hasn’t just been the big red bus parking exercise though – they have looked to attack too. Meanwhile Joachim Löw’s side continue to look the same as they have done since the World Cup – rich in possession, but laboured and clueless when it really matters.
26 mins. According to the Sky Sports commentator, this is the longest Gibraltar have gone so far in an international fixture without conceding a goal.
28 mins. Finally. Ryan Casciaro should be looking to hoof the ball clear, but is instead robbed by Schürrle who advances into the box before beating Perez and finding the bottom-right hand corner of the net with his right foot with a neat angled shot. 1-0.
André Schürrle breaks the deadlock to score Germany’s opening goal
31 mins. A chance for Gibraltar! A great cross from Joseph Chipolina finds the German defence all over the place, and Gosling’s shot from inside the six-yard box is hammered straight at Weidenfeller. How did that not go in?
34 mins. If just to sum up the visitors’ sluggishness, Özil is robbed of possession and then gives away a free-kick in trying to win the ball back.
36 mins. having taken a slight knock, Götze is off and in his place comes Max Kruse.
38 mins. Bellarabi gets plenty of strength behind another effort that is on target but well blocked. The men from the rock are really living up to that reputation and defending like Trojans.
40 mins. A sweeping ball across the Gibraltar box from Özil finds Hermann free out on the right, but the Mönchengladbach man’s first-time effort is woeful.
43 mins. Gibraltar venture into the German half, and Lee Casciaro gets a shot in from distance which Weidenfeller collects.
44 mins. Three fantastic chances now. Schürrle scuffs a shot straight at Perez, Özil finds the ‘keeper’s legs when a simple tap to the unmarked Schürrle would have been a better option, and Kruse’s looping pass sets up Herrmann whose shot is brilliantly parried by Perez.
45 mins. Right before the break Herrmann is on target from inside the six-yard box, but Perez pulls off yet another brilliant save. Germany have been like the big bad wolf huffing and puffing against the brick house, but the man in between the sticks for Gibraltar has been nothing short of brilliant.
While it’s true that the German players are probably desperate to pack their bags and enjoy their summer holiday, this has been a less than stellar performance against, let’s be honest, a team of amateurs. There’s no doubt that Löw’s team will return with the three points, but we really do want to see a few more goals in the second half – and a little more vision in the final third.
46 mins. The home side kick off the second half.
47 mins. Boateng sends a lovely floated ball into the box, and this time Özil is unselfish as he taps his pass across the face of the goal for Kruse to execute the easiest of finishes with his left foot from right on the goal line. 2-0.
Max Kruse has an easy finish to double the Mannschaft’s lead
50 mins. Another half-chance for Gibraltar, as fullback Juan Carlos Garcia sends a looping shot high over the bar.
51 mins. Have the floodgates finally opened? Gibraltar are robbed of possession just inside their own half, and Max Kruse picks out Gündoğan. The Dortmund midfielder strolls straight down the middle before drilling a low right-footed shot past Perez. 3-0.
Hungry for more goals, İlkay Gündoğan makes his way back to the centre circle after scoring Germany’s third
53 mins. Joseph Chipolina is booked for a crunching tackle on Gündogan.
55 mins. Bellarabi has the ball in the back of the net, but it is flagged for offside. Looking at the replay, it was a poor flag and the Leverkusen winger is denied a first international goal.
56 mins. There’s a second change for the Mannschaft as Herrmann makes way for Lukas Podolski.
57 mins. Moments after having what was a legitimate goal disallowed, Bellarabi collects Özil’s cutback and gets off the mark with a perfectly executed right-footed strike. Playing like this, we could end up with a good result here. The Bayer Leverkusen winger’s celebration is low-key, but not as nonchalant as Jogi Löw, who is seen filing his nails in the dugout. 4-0.
Karim Bellarabi scores number four, his first goal for the senior Nationalmannschaft
60 mins. Walker finds some space out on the left to get a shot at the German goal, but his effort skids wide.
61 mins. Gibraltar make their first change as Jamie Coombes replaces Priestley.
62 mins. There’s another tight – and very late – offside decision against Özil who collects Gündogan’s perfectly-weighted pass. Schürrle has the ball in the back of the net, but it’s not going to count. This time, it looks like a correct decision.
65 mins. It’s pinball time in the Gibraltar box. Bellarabi makes the initial move down the left, Gündoğan’s dance into the box results in another good stop from Perez, and Podolski unselfishly stands clear to allow Schürrle to smack the ball home from the rebound with his left foot. 5-0.
Schürrle celebrates his second goal of the evening with fellow goalscorer Bellarabi
67 mins. It has been a good game for Gündogan, who now makes way for Sami Khedira.
69 mins. Perez makes another save, this time from Özil.
71 mins. Gibraltar are tiring badly now. A lovely sweeping pass from Podolski finds Özil, who calmly rolls it inside to his right for Schürrle who completes his hat-trick from close range. 6-0.
Creator Mesut Özil and hat-trick hero Schürrle celebrate the Mannschaft’s half-dozen
72 mins. Podolski shows some good control as he dances into the Gibraltar penalty area, but has the ball cleared from his feet by Roy Chipolina just as he is about to pull the trigger.
75 mins. Schürrle lines up a shot from distance, but his shot crashes against Podolski before going wide. It’s wave after wave now, and Perez is behind Khedira’s shot as the substitute tries to pass the ball into the net.
78 mins. Another change for Gibraltar as Jimmy Bosio comes on for Kyle Casciaro.
79 mins. Podolski plays a neat one-two with Kruse, and the Mönchengladbach man blasts his shot high over the target. That should be been Germany’s seventh there.
81 mins. Kruse makes up for his earlier miss, striking a firm low volley from just inside the penalty area with his right foot after some excellent build-up play from Özil and Schürrle. Perez is slightly wrong-footed, and despite getting a touch on the ball is unable to keep it out. 7-0.
Kruse is in seventh heaven as he celebrates his second goal with Schürrle and Özil
83 mins. Jack Sergeant is on as Gibraltar make their final chance, replacing Payas.
84 mins. Bellarabi gets in another shot, and is denied by the woodwork.
89 mins. Germany keep up the pace as the final whistle approaches. Bellarabi’s low cross is well met by Perez, and Roy Cipolina turns Podolski’s cross-cum-shot behind for a corner.
90+2 mins. Lee Casciaro is needlessly booked after booting the ball away.
90+3 mins. Despite being well beaten the Gibraltar fans have had an enjoyable evening against the World Champions, and it almost gets better right at the death when Walker’s curling effort is well saved to his right by Weidenfeller.
90+4 mins. The final whistle blows.
A much better show from the world champions sees them breeze to a result that at the start of evening would have been seen as par for the course. Gibraltar were brave and held out as best they could, but in the end they were just too weak for a German side that upped the ante in the second half after a disappointing first forty-five minutes. André Schürrle was the best man on the scoreboard with his second international hat-trick, but Max Kruse also weighed in nicely with a brace.
Elsewhere İlkay Gündoğan capped off a fine performance with a goal, while Karim Bellarabi finally got off the mark after an energetic performance where he never stopped running. Germany finish the season in second place a point behind Poland in their qualifying group, two ahead of third-placed Scotland – and after what has been a slightly off-key post-World Cup season can finally take a deserved summer break. Jogi Löw, meanwhile, will have plenty of time to file his nails.
v Gibraltar, Estádio Algarve, Faro, 13.06.2015
Schweinsteiger pen 10., Schürrle 28., 65., 71., Kruse 47., 81., Gündoğan 51., Bellarabi 57. / –
Germany: Weidenfeller – Rudy, Boateng, Hector – Schweinsteiger (c) – Özil, Gündoğan (67. Khedira) – Herrmann (56. Podolski), Bellarabi – Schürrle, Götze (36. Kruse)
Gibraltar: Perez – Garcia, R. Chipolina (c), R. Casciaro, J. Chipolina – Walker, Payas (83. Sergeant) – Gosling, K. Casciaro (78. Bosio) – L. Casciaro – Priestley (62. Coombes)
Referee: Clayton Pisani (Malta)
Assistants: Mitchell Scerri (Malta), Duncan Sultana (Malta)
Goal Line Assistants: Marco Borg (Malta), Adrian Azzopardi (Malta)
Fourth Official: Roberto Vella (Malta)
Yellow Cards: – / J. Chipolina, L. Casciaro
Red Cards: – / –
Ball Possession: 67% / 33%
Attempts on Target: 21 / 7
Attempts off Target: 10 / 3
Corners: 6 / 2
Fouls Committed: 9 / 6