Defending champions Germany moved closer to a ticket to the 2018 FIFA World Cup on Monday with an easy 6-0 win over Norway in Group C.
Timo Werner bagged a first-half brace, and Mesut Ozil and Julian Draxler also got on the board to give Die Mannschaft the perfect start.
Leon Goretzka continued the party after the break, and Mario Gomez made it 6-0. Due to Northern Ireland's win over the Czech Republic, Die Mannschaft still haven't secured a spot at the World Cup but can do so in their next outing.
Here's a look at the teams that started the match:
🔄 Joachim #Löw makes 3 changes from #CZEGER, with Julian #Draxler, @ToniRuediger and Sebastian #Rudy coming in. #DieMannschaft #GERNOR https://t.co/baacwvV0rs2017-9-4 17:56:38
Norges lag mot Tyskland er klart! Kjør gutta! #GERNOR https://t.co/JU5pnWyoNk2017-9-4 17:30:10
Norway came into the fixture with virtually no chance left of qualifying for the play-offs, but since manager Lars Lagerback took control of the squad, they had only lost a single match.
Die Mannschaft were still expected to continue their perfect qualifying campaign, and it took just 10 minutes for the team to open the scoring. Jonas Hector cleverly poked a ball back to Ozil, rather than fire in a cross, and the Arsenal man converted for the early lead.
Seven minutes later, Ozil played provider for Draxler, who gave the hosts a dream start. The World Cup's official Twitter account noted the pass-master was having quite the night:
Mesut Ozil's stats within 17 minutes of #GERNOR: ✅1 goal ✅1 assist 🇩🇪 #WorldCup champions looking strong in Stuttgart https://t.co/DqVV0h43r22017-9-4 19:17:34
And things got even better for the current world champions after 21 minutes, as Thomas Muller took advantage of a defensive blunder to set up Werner for his first goal of the night.
Bleacher Report Football were reminded of an old saying:
B/R Football @brfootball
Football is a simple game: 22 men chase a ball and the Germans are ahead 3-0 inside of 30 minutes. 🇩🇪 https://t.co/EHOWdoJo092017-9-4 19:13:22
The 3-0 scoreline after 30 minutes was far from excessive―Muller and Werner perhaps should have added to the lead early, as Norway barely put up a fight.
Jo Inge Berget fired a rare chance over the bar for the visitors, and Muller wasted a second great look before Werner struck again, courtesy of another fantastic assist from Muller.
Goalkeeper Rune Almenning Jarstein just barely avoided a fifth goal on two more occasions just before half-time, with Muller―who deserved a goal at this point―and Toni Kroos going close.
At half-time, DW Sports were quite impressed:
DW Sports @dw_sports
@Reporter_vorOrt @GracenoteLive HALFTIME Germany 4-0 Norway* *And it could have been more. What a half from 🇩🇪! #GERNOR2017-9-4 19:31:35
The second half started the way the first ended, with Kroos and Hector going close to adding to the lead. Goretzka fared better, needing just five minutes after coming on as a substitute to convert a great cross from Draxler.
Ozil had a shot saved on the line by Gustav Valsvik and Ole Kristian Selnaes found the side-netting with a drive, as Die Mannschaft dropped the pace slightly. Mats Hummels nearly put the ball past his own goalkeeper, but fortunately, his bad clearance went wide.
Berget headed wide from a promising position, and a throw-in from Havard Nordtveit required Marc-Andre ter Stegen to intervene, but all in all, Germany were barely troubled in the second half. Chances became fewer as time wore on, with both teams seemingly waiting for the final whistle.
There was still time for goals, however, with Gomez heading home a good cross from Joshua Kimmich. DW Sports knew what time it was:
DW Sports @dw_sports
@Reporter_vorOrt @GracenoteLive PUSH THE BUTTON! GOAL! 6-0! ⚽️🇩🇪 Mario Gomez gets in on the act with a diving header! 3️⃣ headers scored tonight! #GERNOR2017-9-4 20:20:02
Draxler fired a late shot directly at Jarstein, and Jonas Svensson missed the mark with a volley. Germany finished the match with one eye on Northern Ireland, where the hosts beat the Czech Republic to keep their chances at winning Group C alive. The two sides will meet in October.