Marco Reus and Serge Gnabry both scored twice as Germany maintained their 100 per cent start to UEFA EURO 2020 qualifying with an emphatic 8-0 win over Estonia on Tuesday.
Germany 8-0 Estonia
Germany's last outing in Mainz had been a 6-1 win over Armenia in their final build-up friendly before their glorious 2014 FIFA World Cup campaign. The hosts looked like matching that scoreline inside the first half-hour apart from they were never in danger of conceding. The same could not be said of Estonia, who were blitzed with four goals in 16 minutes. Reus and Gnabry fired home from close range, Leon Goretzka deftly glanced in a header and then won the penalty that Ilkay Gündogan scored. Reus' brilliant free-kick made it five before the break as the Borussia Dortmund captain made a glorious return to the stage where a cruel injury cost him a World Cup winner's medal.
Coach Joachim Löw was still recovering at home after a health scare, but must have enjoyed what he saw with memories of summer 2014 flooding back and the 7-1 FIFA World Cup semi-final win over Brazil, the last time Germany had managed five goals in a single half. They emulated their feat of Belo Horizonte in netting twice more after the break through Gnabry again and substitute Timo Werner before Leroy Sane made it eight to keep his country hot on the heels of surprise Group C leaders Northern Ireland, who have won all four of their qualifiers to date.
- Reus was statistically the most dangerous German player in the Bundesliga last season, with a goal or assist every 92 minutes he played for Dortmund.
- Sane - Germany's other scorer against Belarus - has scored five in his last six for Die Mannschaft, having been without a goal in his first 15 senior international outings.
- The game was the first time Germany have scored five in a half since beating Brazil 7-1 at the FIFA World Cup in 2014.
- The game was Manuel Neuer's 37th clean sheet in his 88th appearance for his country. He is now Germany's number one in terms of clean sheets having overtaken the 36 of the legendary Sepp Maier.
- Germany have now won each of their last 14 qualifiers (FIFA World Cup and UEFA European Championships combined), equalling the record they set between 2010 and 2012. They have scored 58 times and conceded just seven in that time.
- In Sven Ulreich and Niklas Stark, Germany had two uncapped players in their squad.
- Germany have a 100 per cent record against Estonia, winning each of their four meetings with an aggregate score of 19-1.
- It had been 80 years since these sides met, Ernst Lehner and Reinhard Schaletzki on target in a 2-0 friendly win in 1939. Lehner also scored two goals directly from corner kicks when the sides played in 1937.
Germany: Neuer (c) - Kehrer, Süle, Ginter - Kimmich, Gundogan (53' Draxler), Goretzka, Schulz (Halstenberg 46') - Sane, Reus (Werner 65'), Gnabry
Out: Kroos (muscular), Rüdiger (knee), ter Stegen (knee)
Estonia: Lepmets - Mets, Kams, Vihmann -Teniste, Dmitrijev (Käit 59), Tamm, Pikk - Vassiljev (Kreida 82'), Zenjov (Ojamaa 71'), Puri
Out: Anier (knock), Klavan (knee ligaments), Kruglov (unconfirmed)
*Bundesliga players in bold
As it happened
What a performance from Germany - they were just so ruthless. Reus' free-kick was the individual highlight, but what a team display to make it three from three. They're still behind Northern Ireland in Group C though - their 1-0 win in Belarus means they have won all four so far.
89' IN-SANE STAT
Leroy Sane has now scored in five of his last six internationals having failed to find the net in the previous 15.
88' GOAL!! Germany 8-0 Estonia
It's Sane again, and this time it does count. The Manchester City man has been threatening all night, and finally gets his name on the scoresheet with a crisp left-foot shot.
82' RULED OUT!! Germany 7-0 Estonia
Sane thought he'd got another, but Gnabry was standing in Lempets' line of sight, and the strike is ruled out.
79' GOAL!! Germany 7-0 Estonia
Werner is stopped at point-blank range by Lempets but almost immediately makes amends, firing home number seven after being teed up by Draxler.
74' SAVE! Germany 6-0 Estonia
Sane's shot is deflected and Lempets has to watch it carefully before turning it over the crossbar.
71' SUB! Germany 6-0 Estonia
Ojamaa comes off the bench for Zenjov - he's been the most dangerous of the visitors players this evening.
70' CHANCE!! Germany 6-0 Estonia
Werner connects with Halstenberg's cross, but the Leipzig forward can't finish off his club teammate's work and heads wide of the target. That should have been seven.
68' GOAL...RULED OUT!! Germany 6-0 Estonia
Sane brilliantly works an opportunity and fires home, but the assistant referee's flag is up. The ex-Schalke prodigy's celebrations are cut cruelly short.
65' SUB!! Germany 6-0 Estonia
There won't be a hat-trick for Reus, who's replaced by Werner to a fine ovation.
62' GOAL!! Germany 6-0 Estonia
Another Marco can do, Serge can do too. The Bayern man brings up his second and Germany's sixth by clipping home Halstenberg's cross after the full-back had been found by Draxler. The two subs both involved in that goal.
59' SUB! Germany 5-0 Estonia
The visitors make their first change as Käit comes on.
57' SAVE!! Germany 5-0 Estonia
Reus goes close to a hat-trick with only Lempets' fine save denying the Dortmund man a third with a vicious half-volley.
56' SAVE!! Germany 5-0 Estonia
Manuel Neuer gets his gloves dirty for the first time this evening, though he wasn't too extended in fielding Zenjov's shot, which was straight at him.
53' SUB!! Germany 5-0 Estonia
Julian Draxler trots on to replace Ilkay Gündogan - that's the hosts' second change of the game.
48' Germany 5-0 Estonia
A rare slip from Goretzka allows Zenjov to burst forward, but the veteran forward does not even force a save from Manuel Neuer as he sends his shot wide of the target.
46' 2ND HALF KICKS OFF
What fireworks do we have in store now?
Halstenberg comes on for Schulz - with Germany cruising, it's a great time for the RB Leipzig man to come off the bench.
That's the first time since they hammered Brazil 7-1 at the FIFA World Cup in 2014 that Germany have scored five in a half.
45' HALF-TIME! Germany 5-0 Estonia
It's the interval in Mainz and Estonia will be mightily relieved to have kept Germany 'limited' to five goals. The hosts have been absolutely sizzling. If they don't find the net again in the second half, there will be some headwear munching going on here...
42' Reus royale
That's the third time in his international career that Marco Reus has scored twice in a game for Germany. Want to bet against him making it a hat-trick?
37' GOAL!! Germany 5-0 Estonia
It's Reus again! The Dortmund captain digs another gem out of his repertoire, bending home a sublime free-kick to make it five...Germany can do no wrong here tonight!
33' Germany 4-0 Estonia
Gnabry and Goretzka exchange passes on the edge of the penalty area - Gnabry tries his luck, but this time it's out and the Bayern man fails to hit the target. It's a strange feeling that we've not had a goal for more than five minutes...
31' SAVE!! Germany 4-0 Estonia
After his defence give Reus a clear sight of goal, Lempets saves his country once more by tipping the Dortmund man's effort over the bar.
27' SAVE!! Germany 4-0 Estonia
Lempets has been beaten four times, but not a fifth...for now at least...as he paws away Sane's long-range effort.
26' GOAL!! Germany 4-0 Estonia
Gündogan steps up...and it's four! Was there ever any doubt? Well, no! The Manchester City midfielder has been absolutely brilliant so far!
25' PENALTY!! Germany 3-0 Estonia
Tamm lunges in on Goretzka and that will be a penalty to Germany...
22' Germany 3-0 Estonia
Germany's three goals all scored by Bundesliga players. Reus has two goals and as many assists in his last four internationals, while that was Goretzka's eighth strike for his nation.
20' GOAL!! Germany 3-0 Estonia
The Germany fans have barely had time to settle down after celebrating their team's second when Goretzka rises to meet a Kimmich cross and - BOOM!! - glances a header past Lempets for number three. Estonia will already be wishing for the full-time whistle and there is 70 minutes to go.
17' GOAL!!! Germany 2-0 Estonia
And it's two-nil...Germany running away with this one already after Leroy Sane bursts beyond the visiting back line, pulls the ball back to Gnabry and he - untidily - bundles the ball home.
12' CHANCE!! Germany 1-0 Estonia
Goretzka finds himself with time and space in the penalty area, and tries to lob Lempets, who can grab the Bayern man's effort without too much trouble. Another missed opportunity for the hosts.
10' GOAL!!! Germany 1-0 Estonia
Gündogan sends a ball out wide to Kehrer - the Paris Saint-Germain man's first-time cross is tailor-made for Reus to fire high into the net. Germany have opened their account...and the floodgates?
5' Gnabry chance
Kimmich chips a ball over the top for Bayern teammate Gnabry to run onto, but he drags his effort wide. A disappointing finish from a promising position.
3' Kimmich effort
Joshua Kimmich sends a curling shot goal wards, bringing the first save of the game from Lempets. He might be busy tonight.
3' Germany 0-0 Estonia
The visitors are setting their stall out and it's very firmly in their own half. They're getting literally everyone behind the ball at every opportunity.
We're underway in Mainz
A message from the fans
There is a big banner behind the goal away to the right: 'Fighters today, winners tomorrow. Pain is temporary, pride lasts forever.' Are you paying attention, boys?
Here they come...
The two teams are out on the pitch as the anthems ring round the OPEL Arena.
Germany's last game in Mainz ended happily: it was a 6-1 win over Armenia in their final warm-up friendly before heading to Brazil to — eventually — be crowed world champions for the fourth time.
Germany have won their last 13 qualifying games in either the FIFA World Cup or UEFA EURO since losing 1-0 to Republic of Ireland on 8 October, 2015. They have scored 50 goals and conceded just seven in that time. That. Is. Awesome!!!!
Home, sweet home
Germany may move their home internationals around the country, but it seems the side will feel just as comfortable in Mainz as anywhere else. They have not lost any of their last 29 home internationals, and won a dominant 23 of those games.
Goretzka, Kehrer come in
Two changes to the Germany starting XI from the weekend's game. Thilo Kehrer looks like he'll slot into the back three in place of Jonathan Tah while Lukas Klostermann is replaced by Leon Goretza in formidable looking midfield. Ilkay Gündogan, who had been nursing a groin problem, is included from kick-off.
The Kimmich question
The Rottweil native, now 24, started out as a defensive midfielder, but in recent years has also played at centre-back and right-back, the position he is probably best known for among the wider footballing audience. Click here for more on where Joshua Kimmich's best position is!
"We absolutely want to win the game, that's above everything," said Sorg. "We want to push the team's development forward, continue pushing the way we want to play football, create opportunities and be dominant."
Löw might not be at the OPEL Arena tonight, but he will be watching his charges' performance very carefully. He was at the weekend, and was indulgent following his team's lacklustre display in their 2-0 win. "He knows that it's not easy for a player — after a long season — to get going quickly against an opponent that defends very deep and compact," Sorg explained.
Löw absent again...
Marcus Sorg will deputise for his boss once again this evening after holding the main role in the dugout in Belarus at the weekend. Joachim Löw, who celebrates 13 years in charge on 12 July, is still recovering from an injury sustained while playing sport.
Germany warm up with win
Borussia Dortmund captain Marco Reus was on target in Belarus as Germany made it two wins from two in UEFA Euro 2020 qualifying Group C. Click here for the full story!
Hello and welcome to our live coverage of Germany's UEFA EURO 2020 qualifier with Estonia - the 2014 FIFA World Cup winners are point perfect after two matches, and having won all three previous meetings with tonight's opponents, are odds-on favourites to make it three-out-of-three.
Germany maintained their 100 per cent start to Euro 2020 qualifying with a convincing 2-0 victory in Belarus on Saturday, with Leroy Sane and Borussia Dortmund captain Reus finding the target in Borisov. Die Mannschaft continued with Joachim Löw's new-look 3-4-3 formation - even in the absence of the recently injured head coach - and looked positively undefendable for most of the encounter. "It was special," said Marcus Sorg, deputising for Löw in the Borisov Arena dugout. "Of course [Löw] congratulated us. It's not easy to win after a long season and then a break." While the system should remain the same against Estonia, Germany are likely to change personnel in places, but RB Leipzig forward Timo Werner and Bayer Leverkusen midfielder Kai Havertz start on the bench again. Hertha Berlin centre-back Niklas Stark will have to wait alongside them for his senior international debut, while Thilo Kehrer comes in for Jonathan Tah in a back three alongside Matthias Ginter and Niklas Süle. Lukas Klosterman is the other man to drop out from the XI that started in Belarus with Leon Goretzka, a late substitute in Borisov, coming in.
Germany are overwhelming favourites to pick up all three points on Tuesday. Estonia are ranked 76 places lower than the four-time World Champions per the latest FIFA rankings, and they make the journey to Mainz's Opel Arena without their captain and former Augsburg and Liverpool centre-back Ragnar Klavan, who has been struggling with ankle and knee ligament injuries since joining Cagliari at the start of last season. Konstantin Vassiljev - who has been wearing the captain's armband in Klavan's absence - is Estonia's biggest goal-threat, meanwhile, having scored against Gibraltar and Northern Ireland in the Blueshirts' last two outings. Martin Reim's men are joint-bottom of Group C, having lost to Northern Ireland home and away so far.
Watch: How Reus makes Dortmund tick