Germany 6-1 Ireland: Reus stars as Low's men produce ruthless display
Berlin: Germany were simply too strong for the Republic of Ireland, as they ran out 6-1 winners in their World Cup Qualifier at the Aviva Stadium on Friday to solidify their position atop of Group C.
Sweden`s earlier 2-1 win over Faroe Islands had put some pressure back on Joachim Low`s men, but any suggestions of an upset were put to rest during a rampant display where the visitors scored almost at will.
Marco Reus set Germany on their way with the opener after 32 minutes before adding a well taken second five minutes before half time.
A Mesut Ozil penalty, a clinical Miroslav Klose finish and a pair of long-range strikes from Toni Kroos piled further misery on the Irish, whose only response came from an Andy Keogh header with the last kick of the game.
Bastian Schweinsteiger made his return to the Germany squad for the first time since the Euro 2012 semi-final loss to Italy, while Per Mertesacker started in the centre of defence in place of Mats Hummels, who missed out through injury.
Seamus Coleman began at right-back to mark his first competitive start for Ireland, as Jonathan Walters was chosen ahead of Shane Long to replace the injured Robbie Keane in attack.
Germany threatened first during the initial stages, as Thomas Muller headed just over from a well-placed clip from Reus, who was set up in space by Ozil.
But Walters was proving himself to be a handful as the hosts looked to attack through the long ball early on, and the Stoke City forward nearly broke free on more than one instance, but the close attentions of Jerome Boateng and Manuel Neuer were enough to stop him in his tracks both times.
Germany soon came to terms with Ireland’s direct approach though, and their superior passing and movement on the ground slowly wrested control of the game back into their favour.
The visitors thought that they had a penalty on the half hour mark as Reus went down under pressure from John O’Shea, who had initially lost the ball, but instead, the referee decided to show the Dortmund forward a yellow card for diving.
But Reus would not let that decision faze him, and two minutes later, he drove Germany into the lead after latching on to a loose ball in the box and driving his finish right into the roof of the net.
Ireland struggled to recover from the setback, and their task was made that much harder five minutes before the interval as Germany hit them for a second, as Reus came up with the goods once again.
A fantastic counterattack saw Ozil lead the charge, spreading the ball wide to Boateng, who in turn swept to Reus on the edge of the box, and the 23-year-old forward arrowed a precise finish into the far corner.
Any hopes of an Irish comeback were put to rest once and for all during a blistering 15 minute spell to start the second half. With 55 minutes gone, Klose was brought down by Darren O`Dea inside the area, and Ozil stepped up to calmly send Keiren Westwood the wrong way from 12 yards out.
It was 4-0 three minutes later, as Klose latched onto a through pass from Schweinsteiger, rounded Westwood and slotted home despite the angle diminishing by the second.
Kroos added a fifth almost instantly, volleying home from outside the box after O’Shea had failed to properly clear a clipped ball into the area.
By that point, Ireland were battered into submission, as Germany took their foot off the gas, meeting little resistance when they leisurely probed in the opposition half.
Kroos put the icing on the cake with seven minutes remaining as he drilled a well placed shot in at Westwood`s near post from outside the area as the visitors looked to finish completely in control.
But a small crumb of comfort spilled Ireland`s way at the death, as Keogh forced Neuer to tip around the post, then headed home the resulting corner to finally give the home fans something to cheer.