It was all business for Joachim Löw’s Germany side Tuesday night in Hannover against Northern Ireland, as they cruised to a 2-0 victory. GGFN’s Jack Grimse looks at what we learned from the match.
Julian Draxler is here to stay
He may not be happy at Wolfsburg, but Draxler is finding form for Die Nationalmannschaft. Draxler opened the scoring less than a quarter of an hour into the match, finding the back of the net with a low strike from just outside the penalty area. With Draxler on the left and Thomas Müller on the right, this team doesn’t need to rely on a traditional out-and-out striker for goals like some of their rivals.
Don’t change a winning team
While matches against the Czech Republic and Northern Ireland offered Löw a chance to work some new names into the lineup, you have to commend him for sticking with what works. Just three minutes after Draxler’s goal, Sami Khedira doubled the lead with a header following a well-worked short corner kick routine. Despite having Ilkay Gündogan and Julian Weigl available, Löw’s trust in the midfield pairing of Khedira and Toni Kroos really paid off. However, the two-goal lead his side held allowed for Gündogan, Shkodran Mustafi and Kevin Volland to get some much-needed playing time in the second half.
Germany are in the driver’s seat in Group C
Three wins from three matches keeps Löw’s men atop Qualifying Group C in UEFA. Coming into Tuesday’s fixture, Germany were edging Azerbaijan only on goal difference, but a draw for Azerbaijan against the Czech Republic leaves them two points behind the Nationalmannschaft. The rest of the group is fairly wide open, as Norway defeated San Marino to take their first points in qualification.
Germany: Draxler (13′), Khedira (16′).
Northern Ireland: none.
Germany (4-2-3-1): Neuer; Kimmich, Boateng (Mustafi 68′), Hummels, Hector (Volland 80′); Khedira, Kroos; Müller, Özil (Gündogan 46′), Draxler; Götze.
Northern Ireland (5-4-1): McGovern; Hodson, Hughes, McAuley, J. Evans, Ferguson; C. Evans, Norwood (McNair 73′), Davis, Ward (McGinn 61′); Magennis (Lafferty 77′).