Julian Draxler and Sami Khedira provided the goals in a thoroughly dominant 2-0 win for Germany over Northern Ireland at the HDI Arena in a World Cup qualifier on Tuesday night.
- Germany 2 Northern Ireland 0
- Draxler opens scoring
- Khedira doubles lead
- McGovern has game of his life
After the visitors nearly grabbed a surprise early lead, Germany broke the deadlock on 13 minutes through Draxler before Khedira made it 2-0 just four minutes later.
The hosts continued to dominate for the remainder of the match but were kept at bay by the excellent Michael McGovern and will be bitterly disappointed in their inability to add to the scoreline.
To the surprise of almost everyone watching the game Northern Ireland nearly grabbed the lead less than three minutes into the game. Josh Magennis beat Mats Hummels with a neat bit of skill forcing Manuel Neuer to come out of his box to make a sliding challenge. The ball flew to Jamie Ward near the halfway line, but he couldn't control the ball in time to get a decent shot at the empty net.
Germany were considered heavy favourites before the match kicked off and, after the early scare, they showed why.
They responded instantly with Mario Gotze forcing a save out of Michael McGovern less than 60 seconds later.
The hosts continued to pressure and starve Norn Iron of the ball. They found an almost inevitable breakthrough in the 13th minute through Draxler, who was left with too much time on the edge of the area and he picked his spot in the bottom corner of the goal and finished with aplomb.
The Northern Irishmen's night went from bad to worse less than four minutes later as Hummels rose above the defence to head the ball toward Khedira at the far post to nod home from point-blank range.
Perhaps unsettled by the visitor's early chance, the Germans did not sit back on their two-goal cushion and Thomas Muller forced a good save out of McGovern shortly before half time.
The Germans continued to pressure after the break with Joshua Kimmich causing havoc down the right flank from his fullback position.
He teed up Ilkay Gundogan perfectly just three minutes after the restart, but the midfielder's volleyed shot was well blocked.
Jerome Boateng and Gotze then combined beautifully for the latter to head the ball into the box for Muller, but Lee Hodson got across fantastically to clear the ball just ahead of the Bayern Munich man.
Khedira should have finished the game off in the 68th minute when he was presented with a completely free header on the edge of the six-yard box, but he somehow sent the ball over the bar.
McGovern then denied a low drive from Gotze before Gundogan flashed a chance well over the bar as the visitors clung on. Unfortunately, that was all they were physically able to do. They could barely make a foray out of their own half and Germany cruised to a comfortable 2-0 win, but will be disappointed they were able to score more.