The German national team’s sixth game under Hansi Flick saw a win against Liechtenstein and with it came a record – Flick is the first Germany coach to win his opening six games. The World Cup qualifier in Wolfsburg ended with a 9-0 victory for Germany, the goals coming from Ilkay Gündogan (11’, Pen.), Leroy Sané (22’, 49’), Marco Reus (23’), Thomas Müller (76’, 86’) and Ridle Baku (80’), as well as own goals from Daniel Kaufmann (20’) und Maximilian Göppel (89’).
Before the game, Flick’s predecessor Joachim Löw officially said his goodbyes, with a guard of honour from former Germany internationals. Straight from kickoff, the game against an extremely defensively set-up side went in one direction. Flick’s starting XI consisted of captain Manuel Neuer in goal, with a back four of Jonas Hofmann on the right, Antonio Rüdiger and Thilo Kehrer in the centre, and Christian Günter on the left. Defensive midfield was occupied by Gündogan and Leon Goretzka, with Baku, Reus and Sané in attacking midfield behind a lone striker of Müller.
Nine minutes in, Croatian referee Ivana Martincic awarded a penalty for a foul by Jens Hofer on Goretzka. Luckily, Goretzka was able to carry on, but Hofer was sent off (10’). Gündogan dispatched the penalty to give Germany the lead (11’). Three minutes later, Reus’ shot from the angle was well handled by Liechtenstein goalkeeper Benjamin Büchel, as was Baku’s impressive effort (16’).
Time and again the ball found its way into the Liechtenstein penalty area, the best chance being a Gündogan header on 18 minutes. 2-0 was not far away, though, as an attempt to clear by Daniel Kaufmann unluckily ended up in his own net. The attacking did not stop – a wonderful bit of combination play by Reus and Goretzka saw Sané rifle home into the far corner. Then, Reus cleaned up after Büchel saved from Sané to make it 4-0.
Germany combined again and again and looked to stretch their lead. Gündogan shot at Büchel from close range (25’), before Sané went close from both the edge of the box (27’) and a header (34’). Gündogan then just missed a chance to double his personal tally from Günter’s cross (38’), and then from a volley (41’).
The start of the second half saw U21 European champion Lukas Nmecha make his senior debut, as Florian Neuhaus also came on in place of Goretzka and Hofmann. The momentum of the game did not change, however – Sané and Reus had the first double chance (48’), before the former netted his brace to make it 5-0 (49’). Nmecha also almost scored his first chance as a senior international, but could not find the mark (55’).
Just a minute later, Gündogan forced Büchel into yet another save from distance, before the Liechtenstein goalkeeper denied Sané twice (58’). The chances were coming thick and fast – Baku’s cross came to Neuhaus who shot past the far post (61’).
Flick made two more changes on 64 minutes, with Maximilian Arnold and Kevin Volland coming in for Gündogan and Sané, as well as Matthias Ginter replacing Kehrer (72’). The pressure from “Die Mannschaft” increased in the closing stages, another goal coming from Müller as he stabbed home from Neuhaus’ header.
Volland then headed onto the woodwork (79’) before Baku scored the goal of the night: His curling, dipping effort from just inside the box found the inside of the post in the top-left corner before rippling the net for the 7th time of the night. Rüdiger had a low fizzing effort from range which just missed (85’), before Müller bagged his second of the night with a degree of luck, as his effort was heavily deflected onto the underside of the crossbar and in. The scoring wasn’t done yet, as Büchel and Co. made brilliant last-minute blocks from Reus and Arnold (88’) before a ninth went in. Baku’s cross, was deflected off Göppel’s head, and it looped over everyone and into the corner.###more###