Three games, nine points, zero goals conceded: After a 2-0 win against Liechtenstein and a 6-0 win over Armenia, Germany rounded off the current international phase in front of 3600 spectators in Reykjavik with a 4-0 win against Iceland.
Once again it was Serge Gnabry who got things underway with an early goal. Antonio Rüdiger (24’), Leroy Sané (56’) and Timo Werner (89’) added the second, third and fourth on a cold night in the Icelandic capital.
Hansi Flick made just one change to the team that started the 6-0 win over Armenia. The injured Marco Reus did not travel to Iceland with the team and was replaced in the starting XI by Ilkay Gündogan. Captain Manuel Neuer’s backline from right to left was Jonas Hofmann, Niklas Süle, Antonio Rüdiger and Thilo Kehrer. In front of them, Joshua Kimmich and Leon Goretzka started at holding midfield, with Serge Gnabry, Gündogan and Leroy Sané acting as the attacking midfielders behind lone-striker Timo Werner.
Flick’s men got straight to work and took the lead after less than four minutes thanks to a goal made in Bayern: Sané’s firm cross from the left was tapped into an open net by Gnabry. Germany’s second major chance of the half was snuffed out by Hannes Halldorsson in the Iceland goal, catching Gündogan’s square pass for a dangerously-positioned Werner (12’).
The hosts didn’t go hiding after their early setback and put Neuer to the test on 17 minutes. Germany’s number one made light work of Albert Gudmundsson’s effort on goal, however. Back at the other end, another Gündogan cross might have opened up for Werner, but this one floated out of play (18’).
As Iceland began to find their feet and become hopeful of an equalizer, Kimmich chipped a free-kick from the right swinging outwards towards the back post where Rüdiger had crept away from the crowd. The Champions League winner provided the suckerpunch with a thumping header back across goal and past the goalkeeper. A move seemingly straight off the training ground.
Germany remained dominant, but struggled more and more to create clear-cut chances in the first half. A long-range effort from Rüdiger and a free-kick from Sané didn’t trouble the Iceland goalkeeper, whose outfield teammates made it hard for Germany and enjoyed the odd attack of their own. The teams went in for half time with Germany two goals up.
Flick made two changes before sending his team out for the second half: Gnabry and Hofmann stayed in the dressing room and were replaced by Lukas Klostermann and Kai Havertz, who had recovered from a flu-like infection. Werner almost added a third shortly after the restart, but his first-time effort was not powerful enough and was held by Halldorsson. Soon after, Iceland came within inches from pulling a goal back: Captain J. Gudmunsson’s beautiful effort from 18 yards struck the post and fell to the feet of A. Gudmunsson, who pushed the ball into the goal, only to be flagged offside.
Iceland’s disallowed goal was something of a wake-up call for the Germans, whose concentration levels increased. Havertz should have made it three in the 55th minute, but pulled his one-on-one effort wide of the goal. One minute later, Leroy Sané found himself in on goal at a tight angle following a slick move with Leon Goretzka. The winger rifled the ball into the roof of the net with his left foot to finally give Germany the three-goal cushion. Sané celebrated his goal and immediately made way for Jamal Musiala. Robin Gosens also joined the party in place of Niklas Süle.
The chances kept coming for the Germans. Klostermann ran down the right before crossing for Werner, but the ball was slightly behind him and he scooped the ball over the empty net (61’). Two minutes later, the ball did end up in the net after Goretzka volleyed in, but Musiala was in an offside position, and was deemed to be blocking the view of the Icelandic goalkeeper by referee Andreas Ekberg (Sweden). It was as if the ball itself didn’t want to go in! Werner and Havertz wasted the next two good opportunities within seconds of each other (66’).
Meanwhile, Halldorsson was turning into Iceland’s best player on the pitch. He wasn’t called into action by Gosens’ header (69’), but was tested three minutes later. Havertz gave it to Gündogan on the counter, who saw his shot saved well by the keeper from just inside the box. Flick made his final change in the 80th minute, bringing on Florian Wirtz for Goretzka. Shortly before the final whistle, Werner did have his moment and made it 4-0.