Belfast Telegraph

Northern Ireland ship record defeat under Michael O'Neill as Gnabry treble caps brilliant German display

Germany 6-1 Northern Ireland

Northern Ireland's Steve Davis and Josh Magennis after Tuesday's game in Frankfurt. Credit: Colm Lenaghan / Pacemaker Press
Northern Ireland's Steve Davis and Josh Magennis after Tuesday's game in Frankfurt. Credit: Colm Lenaghan / Pacemaker Press
PACEMAKER BELFAST 19/11/19 Northern Ireland v Germany Euro 2020 Qualifier Northern Ireland's Jordan Thompson and Germany's Joshua Kimmich during this evening's game at the Commerzbank Arena in Frankfurt. Photo Colm Lenaghan / Pacemaker Press
PACEMAKER BELFAST 19/11/19 Northern Ireland v Germany Euro 2020 Qualifier Northern Ireland's Corry Evans and Germany's Jonas Hector during this evening's game at the Commerzbank Arena in Frankfurt. Photo Colm Lenaghan / Pacemaker Press
PACEMAKER BELFAST 19/11/19 Northern Ireland v Germany Euro 2020 Qualifier Northern Ireland Manager Michael O'Neill during this evening's game at the Commerzbank Arena in Frankfurt. Photo Colm Lenaghan / Pacemaker Press
PACEMAKER BELFAST 19/11/19 Northern Ireland v Germany Euro 2020 Qualifier Northern Ireland Manager Michael O'Neill during this evening's game at the Commerzbank Arena in Frankfurt. Photo Colm Lenaghan / Pacemaker Press
PACEMAKER BELFAST 19/11/19 Northern Ireland v Germany Euro 2020 Qualifier Northern Ireland's Paddy McNair and Germany's Joshua Kimmich during this evening's game at the Commerzbank Arena in Frankfurt. Photo Colm Lenaghan / Pacemaker Press
PACEMAKER BELFAST 19/11/19 Northern Ireland v Germany Euro 2020 Qualifier Northern Ireland's Steve Davis and Germany's Ilkay Gundogan during this evening's game at the Commerzbank Arena in Frankfurt. Photo Colm Lenaghan / Pacemaker Press
PACEMAKER BELFAST 19/11/19 Northern Ireland v Germany Euro 2020 Qualifier Northern Ireland's Corry Evans and Germany's Jonas Hector during this evening's game at the Commerzbank Arena in Frankfurt. Photo Colm Lenaghan / Pacemaker Press
PACEMAKER BELFAST 19/11/19 Northern Ireland v Germany Euro 2020 Qualifier Northern Ireland Manager Michael O'Neill during this evening's game at the Commerzbank Arena in Frankfurt. Photo Colm Lenaghan / Pacemaker Press
Press Eye - Belfast, Northern Ireland - 18th November 2019 - Photo by William Cherry/Presseye Northern Ireland's Josh Magennis with Germany's Jonathan Tah during Tuesday nights UEFA Euro 2020 Qualifier at the Commerzbank-Arena, Frankfurt. Photo by William Cherry/Presseye
Press Eye - Belfast, Northern Ireland - 18th November 2019 - Photo by William Cherry/Presseye Northern Ireland's Josh Magennis during Tuesday nights UEFA Euro 2020 Qualifier at the Commerzbank-Arena, Frankfurt. Photo by William Cherry/Presseye
Press Eye - Belfast, Northern Ireland - 18th November 2019 - Photo by William Cherry/Presseye Northern Ireland's Josh Magennis with Germany's Jonathan Tah during Tuesday nights UEFA Euro 2020 Qualifier at the Commerzbank-Arena, Frankfurt. Photo by William Cherry/Presseye
Press Eye - Belfast, Northern Ireland - 18th November 2019 - Photo by William Cherry/Presseye Northern Ireland's Josh Magennis with Germany's Jonathan Tah during Tuesday nights UEFA Euro 2020 Qualifier at the Commerzbank-Arena, Frankfurt. Photo by William Cherry/Presseye
Press Eye - Belfast, Northern Ireland - 18th November 2019 - Photo by William Cherry/Presseye Northern Ireland manager Micheal O'Neill during Tuesday nights UEFA Euro 2020 Qualifier against Germany at the Commerzbank-Arena, Frankfurt. Photo by William Cherry/Presseye
Press Eye - Belfast, Northern Ireland - 18th November 2019 - Photo by William Cherry/Presseye Northern Ireland with Germany during Tuesday nights UEFA Euro 2020 Qualifier at the Commerzbank-Arena, Frankfurt. Photo by William Cherry/Presseye
Press Eye - Belfast, Northern Ireland - 18th November 2019 - Photo by William Cherry/Presseye Northern Ireland with Germany during Tuesday nights UEFA Euro 2020 Qualifier at the Commerzbank-Arena, Frankfurt. Photo by William Cherry/Presseye
Press Eye - Belfast, Northern Ireland - 18th November 2019 - Photo by William Cherry/Presseye Northern Ireland with Germany during Tuesday nights UEFA Euro 2020 Qualifier at the Commerzbank-Arena, Frankfurt. Photo by William Cherry/Presseye
Press Eye - Belfast, Northern Ireland - 18th November 2019 - Photo by William Cherry/Presseye Northern Ireland's George Saville with Germany's Joshua Kimmich and Emre Can during Tuesday nights UEFA Euro 2020 Qualifier at the Commerzbank-Arena, Frankfurt. Photo by William Cherry/Presseye
Press Eye - Belfast, Northern Ireland - 18th November 2019 - Photo by William Cherry/Presseye Northern Ireland players are dejected at the final whistle after being defeated 6-1 by Germany in Tuesday nights UEFA Euro 2020 Qualifier at the Commerzbank-Arena, Frankfurt. Photo by William Cherry/Presseye
Press Eye - Belfast, Northern Ireland - 18th November 2019 - Photo by William Cherry/Presseye Northern Ireland's Craig Cathcart is dejected at the final whistle after being defeated 6-1 by Germany in Tuesday nights UEFA Euro 2020 Qualifier at the Commerzbank-Arena, Frankfurt. Photo by William Cherry/Presseye
Press Eye - Belfast, Northern Ireland - 18th November 2019 - Photo by William Cherry/Presseye Northern Ireland players are dejected at the final whistle after being defeated 6-1 by Germany in Tuesday nights UEFA Euro 2020 Qualifier at the Commerzbank-Arena, Frankfurt. Photo by William Cherry/Presseye
PACEMAKER BELFAST 19/11/19 Northern Ireland v Germany Euro 2020 Qualifier Northern Ireland's Michael Smith scores during this evening's game at the Commerzbank Arena in Frankfurt. Photo Colm Lenaghan / Pacemaker Press
PACEMAKER BELFAST 19/11/19 Northern Ireland v Germany Euro 2020 Qualifier Northern Ireland's Steve Davis and Josh Magennis after this evening's game at the Commerzbank Arena in Frankfurt. Photo Colm Lenaghan / Pacemaker Press
PACEMAKER BELFAST 19/11/19 Northern Ireland v Germany Euro 2020 Qualifier Northern Ireland's Steve Davis and Josh Magennis after this evening's game at the Commerzbank Arena in Frankfurt. Photo Colm Lenaghan / Pacemaker Press
PACEMAKER BELFAST 19/11/19 Northern Ireland v Germany Euro 2020 Qualifier Northern Ireland's Steve Davis and Josh Magennis after this evening's game at the Commerzbank Arena in Frankfurt. Photo Colm Lenaghan / Pacemaker Press
Press Eye - Belfast, Northern Ireland - 18th November 2019 - Photo by William Cherry/Presseye Northern Ireland's George Saville after Germany score to lead 3-1 during Tuesday nights UEFA Euro 2020 Qualifier at the Commerzbank-Arena, Frankfurt. Photo by William Cherry/Presseye
Press Eye - Belfast, Northern Ireland - 18th November 2019 - Photo by William Cherry/Presseye Northern Ireland with Germany during Tuesday nights UEFA Euro 2020 Qualifier at the Commerzbank-Arena, Frankfurt. Photo by William Cherry/Presseye
PACEMAKER BELFAST 19/11/19 Northern Ireland v Germany Euro 2020 Qualifier N Ireland's Steve Davis as Germany's Leon Goretzka scores during this evening's game at the Commerzbank Arena in Frankfurt. Photo Colm Lenaghan / Pacemaker Press
PACEMAKER BELFAST 19/11/19 Northern Ireland v Germany Euro 2020 Qualifier Germany's Leon Goretzka scores during this evening's game at the Commerzbank Arena in Frankfurt. Photo Colm Lenaghan / Pacemaker Press
PACEMAKER BELFAST 19/11/19 Northern Ireland v Germany Euro 2020 Qualifier N Ireland's Steve Davis as Germany's Leon Goretzka scores during this evening's game at the Commerzbank Arena in Frankfurt. Photo Colm Lenaghan / Pacemaker Press
PACEMAKER BELFAST 19/11/19 Northern Ireland v Germany Euro 2020 Qualifier N Ireland's Steve Davis as Germany's Leon Goretzka scores during this evening's game at the Commerzbank Arena in Frankfurt. Photo Colm Lenaghan / Pacemaker Press
PACEMAKER BELFAST 19/11/19 Northern Ireland v Germany Euro 2020 Qualifier Germany's Leon Goretzka scores during this evening's game at the Commerzbank Arena in Frankfurt. Photo Colm Lenaghan / Pacemaker Press
PACEMAKER BELFAST 19/11/19 Northern Ireland v Germany Euro 2020 Qualifier N Ireland's Steve Davis as Germany's Leon Goretzka scores during this evening's game at the Commerzbank Arena in Frankfurt. Photo Colm Lenaghan / Pacemaker Press
PACEMAKER BELFAST 19/11/19 Northern Ireland v Germany Euro 2020 Qualifier Germany's Leon Goretzka scores during this evening's game at the Commerzbank Arena in Frankfurt. Photo Colm Lenaghan / Pacemaker Press
PACEMAKER BELFAST 19/11/19 Northern Ireland v Germany Euro 2020 Qualifier Germany's Leon Goretzka scores during this evening's game at the Commerzbank Arena in Frankfurt. Photo Colm Lenaghan / Pacemaker Press
PACEMAKER BELFAST 19/11/19 Northern Ireland v Germany Euro 2020 Qualifier Germany's Leon Goretzka scores during this evening's game at the Commerzbank Arena in Frankfurt. Photo Colm Lenaghan / Pacemaker Press
Northern Ireland will have a keen eye on Saturday's Euro 2020 draw but they already know they will face Spain in the group stage if they come through the play-offs.
Adam McKendry

By Adam McKendry

Northern Ireland signed off on their Euro 2020 qualification campaign with their record competitive defeat under Michael O'Neill as Serge Gnabry ran riot in Frankfurt.

The Bayern Munich forward grabbed a hat-trick as Germany inflicted a 6-1 defeat on the men in green, who will have to reset for March's play-offs as their last chance saloon to make the Euro 2020 finals.

An unlikely source in defender Michael Smith had given Northern Ireland the lead, but they were powerless to stop Gnabry from putting in another dazzling display, while midfielder Leon Goretzka had a double of his own and Julian Brandt added a sixth.

Northern Ireland were without centre-back Jonny Evans, and his influence was painfully absent as Gnabry was given freedom to do whatever he wanted at the Commerzbank-Arena.

Jamal Lewis (centre) will miss the game with a knee injury (Liam McBurney/PA)
Jamal Lewis (centre) will miss the game with a knee injury (Liam McBurney/PA)

The former Arsenal man did make the space for his first goal, which came in the 20th minute, as he turned and rifled one into the top corner after taking a cross into the box.

That made it 1-1 after Smith's sensational opener, the defender running onto a half-cleared George Saville cross and hitting it low on the half-volley, beating Marc-Andre ter Stegen low to his right and sending the large travelling support into raptures.

But two goals, one either side of half-time, ended the game as a contest and struck two hammer blows into the psyche of the Northern Ireland camp.

The first came three minutes before the interval, with Goretzka grabbing his first, stabbing home a Brandt delivery into the box that trickled past Bailey Peacock-Farrell and in off the post.

Then, a mere 64 seconds after the restart, Gnabry was left alone in the box and he made the visitors pay dearly as he picked his spot and fired low into the bottom corner to double the lead.

His hat-trick came in the 72nd minute when he outmuscled Tom Flanagan to a ball in the box and coolly slotted under the onrushing Peacock-Farrell, with Goretzka adding his second - and the Germans' fifth - with a fine strike from the edge of the box seven minutes later.

There was even time for Brandt to grab a goal deserving of his performance, put in behind by Toni Kroos and firing high into the roof of the net in injury time to cap a dismal night for Northern Ireland in Frankfurt.

Relive the action on our LIVE blog below!

Northern Ireland's Paddy McNair with Germany's Toni Kroos during Tuesday night's Euro 2020 Qualifier at the Commerzbank-Arena in Frankfurt (William Cherry/Presseye)
Northern Ireland's Paddy McNair with Germany's Toni Kroos during Tuesday night's Euro 2020 Qualifier at the Commerzbank-Arena in Frankfurt (William Cherry/Presseye)

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