​Germany booked their place at this summer's European Championships as they comfortably overcame Belarus 4-0 on Saturday evening at Borussia-Park.


The hosts began brightly, with Leon Goretzka heading over before Matthias Ginter tested Belarus goalkeeper Aleksandr Gutor with a driving effort. Germany continued to dominate possession, but Manuel Neuer was forced into making a stunning save to keep the scores level late in the first half. 

Seconds later, however, Die Mannschaft took the lead as Serge Gnabry fired in a low cross, which Matthias Ginter delicately flicked home. Goretzka then doubled the home side's lead four minutes into the second half, firing home following a corner. 


Toni Kroos made it 3-0 in the 55th minute, curling home beautifully. Belarus were awarded a penalty on 74 minutes after Robin Koch's clumsy challenge, but Ihar Stasevich's penalty was well saved by Neuer. Instead, Germany added a fourth with seven minutes remaining, Kroos getting his second of the game following some delightful skill.


GERMANY


Key Talking Point


Joachim Low and Germany came into this clash knowing that they could secure qualification for Euro 2020, if they won and Northern Ireland failed to beat the Netherlands. As a result, Low will have been hoping for a full squad to chose from for this pivotal clash, but this wasn't the case. In fact, there were as many as ten absentees for the hosts.


Because of this, Low handed Koch his second cap, while Goretzka also came into the side - meaning Die Mannschaft began with four central midfielders. Despite dominating possession, they struggled to really get in behind the Belarus defence as the majority of the play came through the middle.

Leon Goretzka

Full-backs Lukas Klostermann and Nico Schulz were tasked with providing the width, but they were rarely picked out as the midfielders looked to play neat, intricate passes between in the centre of pitch. The opener came as a result of Bayern Munich's Gnabry intelligently moving out wide, running at the defence before picking out Ginter who was able to give his side the lead. 


The second half was much improved, with Die Mannschaft utilising the full width of the pitch, creating more space and this allowed them to quickly add to their lead. While there were a few moments of lapses in concentration - notably Koch's rash tackle to concede the penalty - It was a comfortable evening for the hosts, and Northern Ireland's failure to win means that they have now sealed qualification to this summer's tournament. 



Player Ratings


Starting XI: Neuer (8); Klostermann (6), Ginter (8*), Koch (5), Schulz (6); Kimmich (6), Kroos (8), Gündogan (6); Goretzka (7), Gnabry (6), Werner (7)


Substitues: Brandt (5), Waldschmidt (N/A), Rudy (N/A)


STAR PLAYER - On an important night for Germany, it was Matthias Ginter who was the standout performer. He was commanding in the little work he had to do defensively, while he was also at the heart of every bright moment going forwards.

FBL-EURO-2020-QUALIFIER-GER-BLR

The centre-back fired a fierce drive towards goal while the score was 0-0, but he was denied by a fine save. However, he soon opened the scoring for the hosts as he burst forward to support the attack, before producing a simply delightful touch to turn in a Gnabry cross.


The 25-year-old continued to pose a threat going forward and he was involved in the second goal, dummying the ball to allow Goretzka the time to strike. Ginter later set up Kroos for the third, making it a very impressive evening for the Borussia Mönchengladbach man.



BELARUS


Player Ratings


Starting XI: Gutor (5); Matveichik (5), Martynovich (5), Naumov (4), Polyakov (4); Maevski (4); Kovalev (5), Dragun (5), Nekhaychik (4), Stasevich (4); Laptev (4).


Substitutes: Lisakovich (5), Skavysh (4), Bessmertni (4).


Looking Ahead

Germany finish off their qualifying campaign against Northern Ireland on Tuesday, having already secured qualification.


Belarus, meanwhile, travel to take on Montenegro on Tuesday.