Much-improved Germany put six past Armenia and go top in qualifying

General

Stuttgart, Serge Gnabry scored a brace as rampant Germany thrashed Armenia 6-0 on Sunday in World Cup qualifying and dethroned them at the top of their group.

 

Germany were vastly improved after a widely criticised performance Thursday, a meagre 2-0 over minnows Liechtenstein in what was the debut for new coach Hansi Flick, dpa reports.

 

There was plenty of attacking power and efficiency in front of goal as Gnabry scored twice inside 15 minutes in his birth town, with Marco Reus, Timo Werner, Jonas Hofmann and debutant Karim Adeyemi also on target in front of 18,000 euphoric fans in Stuttgart.

 

The big win saw the hosts go top of Group J two points ahead of Armenia who lost for the first time in the campaign. Only the group winner qualifies directly for next year’s finals in Qatar.

 

The result will give Flick and his men plenty of confidence for the final game of the triple header on Wednesday in Iceland who earlier Sunday were held 2-2 by North Macedonia.

 

“I enjoyed it. It was the next step but we have another game on Wednesday. The team can be happy with its performance and then concentrate again from Tuesday,” Flick told broadcasters RTL.

 

“We saw that we have a lot of quality in the team. It is important to deliver when it matters and that’s what we did. The atmosphere was fantastic.”

 

Flick made six changes compared to the line-up against Liechtenstein with captain Manuel Neuer returned into goal from an ankle problem, Gnabry joined Leroy Sane and Werner up front, Leon Goretzka teamed up with Joshua Kimmich in midfield, and Reus was play-maker.

 

Germany got the early goal they didn’t manage on Thursday when Gnabry volleyed into the top far corner from a right angle, set up brilliantly by Bayern Munich team-mate Goretzka.

 

Gnabry struck again in the 15th for 2-0 from almost the same position, this time with a low shot, after Werner had missed a low cross from the left by Goretzka.

 

Germany kept up the pressure as Sane smashed against the crossbar before Reus drove home the third in the 34th for his first international goal in two years, after a chipped pass from Gnabry was laid back superbly to the Borussia Dortmund captain by Werner.

 

It was 4-0 at half-time after Werner joined the scoresheet, and the rampant hosts continued in this way after the break with Hofmann drilling home a low long-range volley after a poorly executed corner-kick for his first Germany goal in the 52nd.

 

Substitutes included teenagers Florian Wirtz from Bayer Leverkusen and Salzburg striker Adeyemi plus Hoffenheim defender David Raum who all earned their maiden cap – with Adeyemi wrapping up matters after a classy one-two with Wirtz in stoppage time.

 

“It was a good win and we will keep up the euphoria,” Gnabry said.

 

Source: Bahrain News Agency