Jamal Musiala among the goals in North Macedonia as Germany qualify for Qatar 2022
Jamal Musiala scored his maiden senior international goal as Hansi Flick’s Germany became the first team to qualify for the 2022 FIFA World Cup thanks to a comfortable 4-0 win against North Macedonia in Skopje.
North Macedonia 0-4 Germany Goals: 0-1 Havertz (50’), 0-2Werner (70’), 0-3 Werner (73’), 0-4Musiala (83')
On a run of four straight wins under Flick, Germany were rarely troubled in Skopje. Bayern Munich’s Joshua Kimmich went desperately close with a header from a corner inside the opening two minutes, but North Macedonia goalkeeper Stole Dimitrievski was able to push his effort away. Müller flicked a header wide, before Serge Gnabry twice tested Dimitrievski. Werner followed suit soon after, and went closer still on the stroke of half-time with a shot against the foot of the near post.
Germany got the goal their dominance deserved five minutes into the second half. Müller put the kibosh on a North Macedonia break and continued his run. After receiving the ball back from Gnabry, he selflessly squared for Havertz to fire into the unguarded net from six yards. Darko Velkovski almost put a Gnabry cross past his own goalkeeper as Germany turned the screw. Timo Werner netted a quick-fire brace, before substitute Musiala's precision-perfect shot rubber-stamped the four-time world champions’ ticket to Qatar 2022 with two games to spare.
Germany have a perfect record of five games played, five won, 18 goals scored, and just one conceded since Flick succeeded Joachim Löw as coach. He equals his predecessor's record for starting a tenure as Die Mannschaft boss with five wins.
Müller has registered 40 goals and 39 assists in 108 Germany appearances.
Manuel Neuer has kept 46 clean sheets in 107 games for Germany.
Musiala is the second-youngest player to score for Germany, aged 18 years and 227 days. Only Marius Hiller was younger when he scored against Switzerland in 1910 (17 years and 241 days).
Werner has been on the scoresheet in four of five matches under Flick.
Germany have still never lost an away game in World Cup qualifying.
A great chance for the Stuttgart-owned Schalke midfielder to get one back for North Macedonia after getting in behind the last man, but he fails to even test Manuel Neuer in goal as he blasts over.
ICING ON THE CAKE!
Yet again Germany take advantage of a North Macedonia mistake at the back. Adeyemi intercepts and immediately sets Musiala away. He takes one touch before bending his shot inside the near post for his first senior international goal.
Another break from Germany as they take advantage of an unorganised North Macedonia defence. It's a lovely touch from Müller in an awkward position to knock the ball into the path of Werner, and he absolutely wellies it past Dimitrievski for his 20th international goal - and surely the one that takes Germany to Qatar.
Germany shift up a gear suddenly and play their way through the North Macedonia defence. Gnabry fizzes a low ball into the middle and almost gets an own goal out of it as Velkoski slides in, but luckily for him puts it straight at his goalkeeper.
Germany has 14 attempts on goal in the first half. It took just one in the second to forge ahead in Skopje.
HAVERTZ TAPS IN!
Germany hit North Macedonia at their own game. Müller blocks an attempted long ball, which falls to Gnabry. He lifts his head and plays Müller in behind the out-of-position home defence. The Bayern man races towards goal then unselfishly knocks the ball to his left for Havertz to tap into an empty net for his sixth Germany goal.
Back under way as the rain begins to fall again in the North Macedonian capital. Both sides resume unchanged.
WERNER OFF THE POST!
The closest Germany have come tonight. Werner shimmies this way and that in the box before getting his effort away. The goalkeeper is stranded as the ball goes towards his near post but it bounces straight back off the frame of the goal.
Four minutes of it after the stoppage for Ademi.
Raum curls in a cross around the back that Werner manages to get to at the near post, but his flick lacks any power to trouble the goalkeeper.
He has a crack from a similar position where he scored on Friday against Romania, but doesn't really connect with this one and drags wide.
ELSEWHERE IN GROUP J
Romania have taken the lead at home to Armenia. That result would mean a win for Germany would see Hansi Flick's men guaranteed a place at the World Cup next year.
CLOSEST WE'VE COME
Kimmich's header in the opening few minutes is the closest we've come to a goal tonight in Skopje.
This time it's Germany's turn to counter with Gnabry and Werner charging away. The former gets the ball stuck under his feet, but still digs out a ball towards the former Leipzig man racing into the box. A swiped clearance sees the ball reach him and he gets his shot away from 18 yards, but too close to Dimitrievski.
The midfielder has come back on to try again, but he's gone down and signalled that he needs to go off.
It was Eljif Elmas who scored the surprise winner when these sides met earlier in the group in Duisburg. He tries to repeat the feat again here but Neuer is down to his left to hold the shot.
It's David Raum to take on his left foot but he hits the top of the wall. It falls kindly to Gnabry on the left of the box, though. He doesn't quite catch it well, but enough for Dimitrievski to need to parry behind.
It was Ademi who gave away the free-kick on Havertz, but he looks to have come off worse after his ankle gave way. He's been down for treatment for a good minute and is only now hobbling off. A substitute is getting ready, but the hosts are down to 10 for the moment.
We saw it so often with Hansi Flick's Bayern and now also with his Germany team as they press the North Macedonians hard and high up the pitch to win the ball back in dangerous positions. This press results in a free-kick right of centre 20 yards out.
CROSS OR SHOT?
We saw Leroy Sane score the other week with what he admitted was a cross. His Bayern teammate Serge Gnabry almost does the same here from the left, but Dimitrievski reacts and tips it over the bar.
VELKOSKI HEADS WIDE
Another counter from North Macedonia, this time they get a corner out of it. That's met by the head of centre-back Darko Velkoski but goes wide.
Havertz digs out another cross from the left and Müller gets across his man at the front post but can only watch his flicked header drift wide of the far stick.
...and there is that counter from the home side, breaking away down the right. There's two men in the box but the ball is too long for both.
No surprise that it's Germany who are making the play and controlling possession. The only danger will be a counter-attack from the North Macedonians.
Germany show good control and composure to shift the ball out to the left where space opens up for Havertz. He clips in a cross to the far post, where Kimmich gives Müller a shout and plants a header towards goal. Goalkeeper Dimitrievski does very well to react and palm the ball away and off a defender for a corner.
The "Deutschlandlied" and "Today over Macedonia" are belted out in front of around 18,000 at the National Arena Todor Proeski before we get going.
The teams are in the tunnel in Skopje. Germany are potentially about two hours from booking their place in Qatar...
THOMAS MÜLLER: MR. BAYERN MUNICH
Müller has been restored to Germany’s starting XI to earn his 108th cap – one more than Manuel Neuer and 44 more than the next most-capped player in the squad, Joshua Kimmich (64). He got the winner from the bench last week to bring up his 40th international goal. The Bayern man just keeps on doing the job for club and country, despite the fact it’s almost impossible to describe his role. The Raumdeuter sat down with us last week to discuss his unique career.
GNABRY ON FIRE
Remember when Serge Gnabry was deemed surplus to requirements at Arsenal and West Brom? In little over three seasons at Bayern, he's had a direct hand in over 80 goals. The 26-year-old is also Germany's highest scorer of the post-2018 FIFA World Cup cycle with 17 goals in 28 appearances (20 in 30 all told).
Hansi Flick has overseen four straight wins since succeeding Joachim Löw as Germany coach, but is taking nothing for granted against North Macedonia. "We’re facing a team that definitely knows how to play football," explained the former Bayern boss. "They’re unbeaten under their new head coach and of course they’ll be confident going into this game after what happened last time. We need to be ready for a loud and vibrant atmosphere. But we want to play our own game, impose our style, and win the match."
Eighteen-year-olds Jamal Musiala and Florian Wirtz are on the Germany bench. They've been turning heads in the early part of 2021/22 for Bayern and Leverkusen respectively. Get the lowdown on the prodigious pair by clicking play on the video above.
Germany can qualify with a win in Skopje, so long as Romania take points off Armenia. Flick's side have games against Liechtenstein and Armenia to come in November.
Despite seeing record cap holder, goalscorer and captain Goran Pandev retire after UEFA Euro 2020, North Macedonia have been a credit to themselves in recent months, and remain Germany's nearest challengers in the group after beating Liechtenstein 4-0 on Friday. They also won the reverse fixture 2-1, when Joachim Löw was still in charge of Die Mannschaft.
SOAKING IT UP
Flick maintains his midfield duo of Leon Goretzka and Joshua Kimmich from the Romania game.
Hansi Flick makes five changes from Friday’s 2-1 victory over Romania. Thomas Müller replaces Marco Reus after coming on to score the winner. Captain Manuel Neuer returns in goal after missing out with a groin problem. Hoffenheim left-back David Raum earns his first full senior cap, as Thilo Kehrer shifts into the middle to cover for the injured Antonio Rüdiger. Leipzig’s Lukas Klostermann switches in for Gladbach’s Jonas Hofmann at right-back. And Kai Havertz is in for Leroy Sane up front.