After their World Cup triumph this summer in Brazil, it was fair to expect Germany would just keep cruising along. However, Joachim Löw's side has collected just four points from three matches so far in qualifying for Euro 2016, putting them third in Group D. Friday night's match with Gibraltar might have been just the match they needed to get the qualifying campaign really rolling.
It didn't really matter how well or poor they were going to play, as Germany knew they would get the win over Gibraltar. The only question for the current world champions would be the margin of victory. Coming into the match, Gibraltar knew they would be massive underdogs, but had the mentality that if they conceded fewer than seven, they were a better side than Brazil. They did just that, losing 4-0.
An attacking 3-4-1-2 lineup featured Mario Götze behind Thomas Müller and Max Kruse, with Karim Bellarabi and Lukas Podolski out wide.
Müller got the first goal in a night of many. Shkodran Mustafi crossed from the left side, and the ball took a deflection right into the path of Müller, who finished past a helpless Jamie Robba. Normally a fireman, Robba wasn't really at fault for this one, due to the unlucky bounce it took off the defender before getting to Müller.
A great ball down the left wing from Götze allowed Podolski to whip in a ground cross that eluded two Gibraltar defenders before finding Müller at the back post for his second of the day.
The third of the day for Die Mannschaft was an excellent piece of team play, led by a mesmerizing combination of passes from Kruse, Götze, and Müller just outside the area closer to the far touchline. Three Gibraltar defenders attempted to close the ball down, but the Germans' quick ball movement escaped the attempted tackles, and Götze was able to finish to the far post after getting through.
Forty minutes in, the lead was only three, but the stats showed the true one-sidedness of the affair. Germany had completed 28 crosses and 91 percent of their passes, compared to just one cross and 44 percent pass completion by Gibraltar.
Understandably and rightly so, Germany didn't really turn up the heat in the second half. They still would add to their lead, albeit only once, in the 67th minute. Podolski's ball in from his left-wing position didn't make it to Müller this time, but the final touch came off of Yogan Santos and the ball went in to Robba's net for the fourth time of the day.
Germany: Manuel Neuer; Shkodran Mustafi, Jerome Boateng, Erik Durm (Jonas Hector 71'); Karim Bellarabi, Toni Kroos (Lars Bender 79'), Sami Khedira (Kevin Volland, 60'), Mario Götze, Lukas Podolski; Thomas Müller, Max Kruse.
Goals: Müller (12', 29') Götze (38'), Santos (67' OG)
Gibraltar: Jamie Robba; Jean-Carlos Garcia, David Artell, Scott Wiseman, Ryan Casciaro, Joseph Chipolina; Roy Chipolina, Jack Sergeant (Yogan Santos, 58'); Brian Perez ( Adam Priestley, 91'), Liam Walker; Lee Casciaro (Kyle Casciaro 71').