After the embarrassment in the first leg against North Macedonia, the DFB-Elf made amends in Skopje. After a dream pass from Serge Gnabry, Timo Werner’s accurate minutes follow. Because the competition is playing in the World Cup qualifying, the world’s first ticket for the World Cup goes to Germany.
First! The German national soccer team has easily and easily bought the world’s first ticket to the desert World Cup in Qatar. The 4: 0 (0: 0) against the initially uncomfortable outsider North Macedonia was a convincing last step to the final round in winter 2022. This also made revenge for the 1: 2 embarrassment in the first leg in Skopje. Kai Havertz (50th) released the four-time world champion after tough minutes with the opening goal, Serge Gnabry had initiated dreamily with a sensational through pass. Then there were no more doubts, Timo Werner shot himself twice more frustrated (70th / 73rd). Then substitute Jamal Musiala scored his first international goal (83rd).
Hansi Flick was also pleased about the start record for national coaches: only his predecessor Joachim Löw had previously achieved five wins in a row. Germany has not lost any of 50 World Cup qualifiers away.
The North Macedonian capital has sunk into continuous rain since the arrival of the German national team, and it also poured through the holes in the roof in the Toše Proeski Stadium on the Vardar until just before kick-off. The lawn was deep, loosened with pitchforks. Nevertheless, after the tedious 2-1 win against Romania last time, Flick demanded a team “that is even more there for each other, is enthusiastic and pulls everyone along. We want to improve without giving up.”
First Werner shakes his head
Joshua Kimmich wanted to do this right away: Goalkeeper Stole Dimitrievski punched his header off the line in the second minute. Flick’s five changes – captain Manuel Neuer and Thomas Müller returned, David Raum from TSG Hoffenheim made his starting XI debut – did not disturb the flow of the game. The test of patience usually began 30 meters in front of the opposing goal. The German attacks then ran briskly and specifically via the outside, preferably via Havertz, Müller or Gnabry, who were looking for customers in the center. Gnabry’s deflected cross from the left and a decrease from six meters were extremely dangerous (17./30.), Werner also failed from a very short distance to Dimitrievski (26th).
Seconds later, Neuer was challenged for the first time against a low shot by Eljif Elmas, while North Macedonia played at least occasionally in counterattacks. Kimmich acted as the German chief organizer, but the interaction with Leon Goretzka in the control center did not yet provide the big impetus. Since the outsider defended more vigorously, it sometimes seemed tough, although the German team was clearly superior: Flick was slowly getting nervous, and even central defender Niklas Süle stormed with them. Werner shot at the post from seven meters and shook his head in disappointment (45th + 2).
Amazingly, a very rare German counterattack then brought the lead. From his own half Gnabry fit perfectly into the interface from the right after the opponent lost the ball, Müller briefly put down on Havertz – goal. This freed the DFB selection from the impatience that had arisen in the meantime, Gnabry and the shot Werner gave a double chance (60th).
Werner’s deep right-footed shot to the German 2-0 was then a personal exemption for the striker from Chelsea, who had previously struggled again and again with teammates and himself. With a new looseness, he flicked the ball into the goal shortly afterwards from the half-left unsustainable. The game against increasingly tired North Macedonians in the second half was like a piece. In November the national team will continue with little sporting importance against Liechtenstein (in Wolfsburg, without the yellow-blocked Havertz) and in Armenia.