Germany remain right on track in 2014 World Cup qualifying after a third win in their third fixture. Coach Joachim Löw's team thrashed Ireland 6-1 in Dublin on Friday evening and maintained their three-point lead at the top of Group C, with second placed Sweden due in Berlin next Tuesday.
Marco Reus scored twice before the break, before Mezut Ozil effectively killed the game as a contest with a 55th-minute penalty. Miroslav Klose made it four on the hour, and Toni Kroos blasted home two superb long-range efforts to round it off. The visitors were superior in every respect and translated almost every clear-cut chance into a goal. The Irish finally pulled one back through Andrew Keogh in stoppage time, but it was hollow consolation in front of the restless Dublin crowd.
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“We turned in a very focused display tonight. Everyone did a good job. Overall, we're heading in a very good direction," commented Bastian Schweinsteiger afterwards, “but I’d like to say that we have to take another step if we're to win trophies. We have to be perfect in every tiny detail if we’re to beat the great Spanish side at some point."
Philipp Lahm missed out in Dublin with suspension, Jerome Boateng deputising at right-back, with Schweinsteiger taking over the captain's armband in his first outing for his country since Euro 2012. Manuel Neuer kept goal, Holger Badstuber was at centre-half and Thomas Müller on the right of midfield. Kroos was a half-time substitute.
Reus brace before the break
Against the injury-hit side sent out by former Bayern boss Giovanni Trapattoni, the Germans initially struggled for chances against the ultra-defensive Irish. Löw’s men dominated possession, but were unable to find gaps until Reus broke the deadlock after 32 minutes, crashing home from six yards off the underside of the crossbar following a Marcel Schmelzer knock down.
Dortmund star Reus followed up before the break with a precise 16-yard drive from Boateng's delivery on 40 minutes. It was a comforting lead, and also forced the Irish to come out after half-time with slightly greater attacking intent. That opened up space for the visitors, who promptly used it ruthlessly.
Toni on the volley
A foul on Klose in the box allowed Ozil to extend the advantage from the spot after 55 minutes, before former FCB man Klose himself accepted Schweinsteiger's diagonal pass, rounded the keeper and squeezed home the fourth after 58 minutes from the tightest of angles. Kroos took over the starring role after that, smacking home the fifth with a superb 18-yard volley after 61 minutes, and bringing up the half-dozen with another long-range effort seven minutes from time.
Neuer was largely a spectator, although he made one excellent save with his foot five minutes after the restart and brilliantly kept out Keogh's initial stoppage time effort. However, the keeper was finally beaten from the ensuing corner, as the unmarked Keogh nodded home.