A convincing second-half performance in Skopje saw Germany defeat North Macedonia 4-0 to secure their place at the 2022 World Cup in Qatar. Kai Havertz (50’) opened the scoring, with Timo Werner (70’, 73’) and Jamal Musiala (83’) sealing the three points on Monday evening.
Captain Manuel Neuer returned in goal to replace Marc-André ter Stegen after his adductor issues ruled him out of the Romania game. Hansi Flick was also without Antonio Rüdiger, who had back problems. His place at the centre of defence was taken by Thilo Kehrer alongside Niklas Süle. The back four was completed by Lukas Klostermann and David Raum, the latter making his first start for Germany. The Bayern duo of Joshua Kimmich and Leon Goretzka played in central midfield, with Thomas Müller and Havertz starting next to Gnabry in attacking midfield. That meant Timo Werner again led the attack.
The match began with Germany seeing lots of the ball, including a good chance extremely early on. Kai Havertz chipped a ball to the back post and found Joshua Kimmich, whose header from close range was punched away by home goalkeeper Stole Dimitrievski (2’). The next chance came from another Havertz delivery, this time Müller directed his header wide (13’). Germany continued to remain patient in search of a goal, and nearly found it thanks to a fortuitous deflection from a Serge Gnabry cross, which Dimitrievski had to acrobatically tip over the bar (17’).
North Macedonia’s first notable chance came after 27 minutes when Eljif Elmas cut back inside and produced a low shot. Manuel Neuer though, was able to get down and easily hold it. At the other end, Gnabry couldn’t direct a decent cross goalbound from David Raum (30’). In a somewhat frustrating first half, Germany often lacked that final pass or shot to take the lead. The closest they came was a Timo Werner strike on the stroke of half time that hit the post (45’).
Both sides made no changes for the second half, as Germany remained in control and the hosts looked to play on the break. Unlike the first period though, Flick’s team were clinical. Gnabry played a brilliant through ball to Müller, and he had the awareness to square it for Kai Havertz, who only needed to convert into an empty net for the opening goal (50’). The goalscorer was again involved in the next move, playing a sublime ball to Gnabry. The winger’s cross was then almost turned home by defender Darko Velkovski (59’).
Hansi Flick’s first changes saw Karim Adeyemi and Florian Wirtz come on for Havertz and Goretzka with 61 minutes played. As the game became somewhat disjointed, Germany doubled their lead. Müller brilliantly directed a ball through to Werner and he hammered it past the ‘keeper for his 20th international goal.
The goals soon started to flow for Flick’s men. Gnabry’s cross ended up at Werner via Wirtz, and the striker beautifully bent it into the far corner for his second and Germany’s third (73’). Werner, along with Gnabry, was then replaced by Jonas Hofmann and Jamal Musiala (74’). Adeyemi skewed a chance wide from a Müller pass (76’), before the substitute provided the fourth goal for Jamal Musiala (83’). The FC Bayern youngster slotted the ball past the goalkeeper for his first senior goal. With Romania beating Armenia 1-0 at the same time, Germany were able to book their place at the World Cup next year with two games to spare.