Seven games, seven wins! National coach Hansi Flick extended his record in charge of Germany by beating Armenia 4-1 to successfully end the qualification campaign for the 2022 World Cup on 27 points, having already secured a place in Qatar back in October.
The goals in Yerevan were scored by Kai Havertz (15’), Ilkay Gündogan (45’, 50) and Jonas Hofmann (64’), with Henrikh Mkhitaryan netting a consolation goal for the hosts from the penalty spot (59’). The only time Germany dropped points in Group J was in a home defeat to North Macedonia back in March.
Flick rotated his team for the final group game in Armenia. Marc-André ter Stegen replaced Manuel Neuer in goal, as the Bayern man had already travelled back to Munich. The defence consisted of Thilo Kehrer, Matthias Ginter, Jonathan Tah and David Raum. Florian Neuhaus came into the side for the injured Leon Goretzka, playing alongside Ilkay Gündogan in the centre of midfield. Ahead of them, Hofmann, captain Müller and Leroy Sané were selected, and Kai Havertz was named as a centre forward.
Striker Havertz was involved right away, hitting the outside of the post with the first chance of the game from a Sané cross from the left (5’). In the 15th minute, he went one better and broke the deadlock with a similar chance, the cross this time coming from Hofmann on the right. Armenia goalkeeper Stanislav Buchnev then tipped a Sané shot wide (26’).
It took 27 minutes for the hosts to threaten, though Eduard Spertsyan cleared the bar with his effort. As the first half drew to a close, the four-time World Cup winners combined well to win a penalty. Müller’s lovely one-two with Neuhaus resulted in the Gladbach midfielder being brought down in the box, and after consulting VAR, Francois Letexier pointed to the spot. Ilkay Gündogan stepped up and doubled Germany’s advantage in the fourth minute of added time (45’).
The second half began well for Germany thanks to a mistake from the home goalkeeper. A seemingly harmless Gündogan shot from outside of the box slipped through his arms and rolled into the back of the net (50’). However, the hosts were given some hope shortly later. Neuhaus trod on Davit Terteryan’s foot and the referee again awarded a penalty. Henrikh Mkhitaryan smashed it down the middle to reduce the deficit (59’).
Germany quickly had their three-goal advantage back though. Jonas Hofmann pressed the Armenia defence and won possession in the final third, beat a defender and then slotted it into the bottom corner (64’). With the game effectively decided, Flick used all his substitutes, bringing on Julian Brandt, Lukas Nmecha, Maximilian Arnold (all 60’), Kevin Volland (73’) and Ridle Baku (84’).
Although the away side took their foot of the gas, chances did still come. Arnold’s low shot was spilled and then Volland had his rebound blocked (80’), and Nmecha dragged one wide in search of a maiden international goal (83’).