Germany edge Northern Ireland 2-0 to restore Euro 2020 order
The win put Germany on 12 points from five games, ahead on goal difference of second-placed Northern Ireland.
Germany beat hosts Northern Ireland 2-0 on Monday to get their Euro 2020 qualification on track as they bounced back from last week`s loss to the Netherlands to take over top spot in Group C.
Defender Marcel Halstenberg drilled the ball in three minutes after the restart following a lacklustre first half by the Germans, who lost 4-2 at home to the Dutch on Friday, and Serge Gnabry added another goal in second-half stoppage time.
The win put Germany on 12 points from five games, ahead on goal difference of second-placed Northern Ireland, who suffered their first loss of the campaign as captain Steven Davis became their most capped outfield player with 113 appearances.
The third-placed Netherlands, 4-0 winners away to Estonia on Monday, are on nine points from four matches.
The Germans, missing half a dozen injured players, seemed to lack a clear game plan in the first half with plenty of passing but struggling to find ways to open up the Irish defence.
Joachim Loew`s young team, looking to recover from last year`s shock first-round World Cup exit and Nations League relegation, have not had enough match practice and it showed.
Conor Washington had a golden chance to put the hosts ahead in the seventh minute when he pounced on a rare Toni Kroos mistake but fired straight at charging goalkeeper Manuel Neuer.
Timo Werner had the visitors` best chance before the break but his close-range effort was saved by Bailey Peacock-Farrell.
Germany looked to be feeling the effects of Friday`s loss with the Irish working hard to stifle their attacks early.
Halstenberg eventually settled German nerves, timing his half-volley to perfection as he angled Julian Brandt`s cross into the far corner just after the break.
They should have scored again in a scintillating start to the second half but instead had to wait until deep into stoppage for Gnabry to make sure of the three points.