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Friday, December 13
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Nov 19, 2019 at 7.45pm UK
Germany
6-1
Northern Ireland
Gnabry (19', 47', 60'), Goretzka (43', 73'), Brandt (91')
FT(HT: 2-1)
Smith (7')

TIMELINE

/esi/1339/6_G_1_98849/index.html?art_id=379928&game_id=98849&sport_id=1&ESI

Result: Germany storm back to hit Northern Ireland for six

:Headline: Result: Germany storm back to hit Northern Ireland for six:
Michael O'Neill's side fell to their heaviest defeat since they lost 6-0 to Holland in 2012.
PA | 23d

Serge Gnabry's hat-trick condemned Northern Ireland to a 6-1 defeat to Germany in their final Group C fixture of Euro 2020 qualifying as outgoing manager Michael O'Neill suffered the second heaviest defeat of his eight-year reign.

Michael Smith's first international goal gave Northern Ireland a shock lead just seven minutes in at the Commerzbank Arena in Frankfurt, but it proved a false dawn.

Serge Gnabry failed to make the grade at Arsenal and even West Brom but is flourishing with Bayern Munich and he moved on to 13 goals in as many international appearances with a brilliantly-taken hat-trick, while Leon Goretzka scored a brace and Julian Brandt added a sixth late on.

It was Northern Ireland's heaviest defeat since they lost 6-0 to Holland in O'Neill's second game in charge back in 2012.

It was a painful way to end this campaign, though they can already look forward to next March as Wales' victory over Hungary means they are set to head to Bosnia in the play-offs.

O'Neill plans to remain in charge for that match alongside his duties as Stoke boss, and will hope a side that has gone toe-to-toe with Holland and Germany – in Belfast at least – in this qualifying campaign can improve on last year's 2-0 Nations League defeat in Sarajevo.

Getting a result in Frankfurt was always going to be a tall order.

Michael Smith (centre) celebrates opening the scoring for the visitors (John Walton/PA).

Northern Ireland had not beaten Germany since that famous night in Hamburg in January 1983 and their odds of ending that wait lengthened considerably before kick-off with news that Jonny Evans had been ruled out through illness, replaced by Sunderland's Tom Flanagan.

With Jamal Lewis already out with a knee injury, that left Northern Ireland with only one Premier League player in the side – Craig Cathcart who was, along with Hull's Josh Magennis, earning his 50th cap.

They got the ideal start when George Saville's hooked cross from the left was deflected by Toni Kroos and fell kindly for Smith and the Hearts right-back drilled it into the bottom left corner.

But Germany's response was swift. Bailey Peacock-Farrell was smartly off his line to deny Gnabry at point-blank range before Ilkay Gundogan headed against a post.

Serge Gnabry, left, celebrates one of his three goals (Michael Probst/AP).

The equaliser arrived in the 19th minute and in some style as Gnabry controlled Jonas Hector's cross before turning and firing into the top right-hand corner.

Northern Ireland continued to enjoy the odd foray forward, with Jordan Thompson's cross close to finding Magennis before Smith, clearly enjoying himself, beat two men to win a corner.

But Germany were in the ascendancy as they dominated play, and they had their second goal just before the break, albeit one that was somewhat more scruffy than the first.

Hector's cross from the left squirmed across the goal area before Goretzka just managed to beat Shane Ferguson to the ball, deflecting it on to a post and in.

Tom Flanagan reacts after Julian Brandt makes it 6-1 to Germany (John Walton/PA).

Gnabry needed only a minute of the second half to add to the lead, controlling Lukas Klostermann's pass before drilling the ball beyond the reach of Peacock-Farrell.

And his hat-trick arrived on the hour. Goretzka's angled pass found the 24-year-old's run and he out-muscled Flanagan before slipping the ball under Peacock-Farrell.

Germany showed no mercy and had their fifth when Goretzka collected his second 17 minutes from time, firing through a crowd of players to score from the edge of the area.

There was relief for Northern Ireland when Gnabry was withdrawn nine minutes from time, but it was not the end of their punishment as Brandt added a sixth in stoppage time.

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Premier League Table
TeamPWDLFAGDPTS
1Liverpool16151040142646
2Leicester CityLeicester16122239102938
3Manchester CityMan City16102444192532
4Chelsea169253124729
5Manchester UnitedMan Utd166642519624
6Wolverhampton WanderersWolves165922319424
7Tottenham HotspurSpurs166553023723
8Sheffield UnitedSheff Utd165741916322
9Arsenal165742424022
10Crystal Palace166461418-422
11Newcastle UnitedNewcastle166461723-622
12Brighton & Hove AlbionBrighton165472024-419
13Burnley165382129-818
14Everton165291928-917
15Bournemouth164481824-616
16West Ham UnitedWest Ham164481828-1016
17Aston Villa164392328-515
18Southampton164391835-1715
19Norwich CityNorwich1632111734-1711
20Watford16169930-219
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