World Champions. World class. World number one. At times Germany were a world apart at Windsor Park.
Northern Ireland have been sensational in this qualifying campaign but last night they were forced to play second fiddle as Joachim Low's maestros booked their place in next year's finals with a 3-1 victory in Belfast.
On this evidence, you would fancy them defending the trophy they lifted three years ago in Brazil.
Germany have enjoyed much success at international level, but never won back to back World Cups. That's the dream for this gifted bunch of players and coach Low.
It's been quite a while since a side of this quality rocked up in Belfast - the last time Northern Ireland were defeated at Windsor in a competitive fixture was against Portugal four years ago but that was more down to the individual brilliance of Cristiano Ronaldo rather than a group of players dripping with class.
And let's face it, the side that took to the field against Northern Ireland wouldn't even be considered their strongest with Manuel Neuer, Mesut Ozil and Timo Werner amongst those missing.
In the first half they held their own goal of the game competition with Sebastian Rudy and Sandro Wagner smashing home from distance.
There have been some glorious goals at the famous stadium in Belfast down the years and their first half hits were up there with the best of them.
The opener from Bayern Munich's Rudy - a stunning 25 yard drive which ripped into the net on two minutes - was a bitter blow for a Northern Ireland team who had hoped to keep it tight early on and frustrate the visitors.
That plan was torn to shreds before the home fans had settled in their seats.
Wagner's left foot curling strike on 21 minutes sealed the game as a contest. There was no way back after that with many in the ground wondering if Germany would romp to a crushing victory as they continued their remarkable record of never losing a World Cup qualifier on the road.
Roared on by the Green and White Army, however, Michael O'Neill's men refused to wilt. They don't do giving up or falling apart.
It's that determination, drive, desire and self-belief that has taken them to the Euro 2016 finals and despite this defeat could still take them to the 2018 World Cup finals.
Even after Joshua Kimmich made it 3-0 late on with a volley, Northern Ireland refused to lie down with the industrious Josh Magennis grabbing an injury time consolation, greeted by an almighty roar from the Kop.
Just reward for a performance of heart from O'Neill's men against a side with cool heads, character and class.
While many may say they expected the outcome, it's worth remembering that the Northern Ireland players entered this game with hope and anticipation rather than the fear and trepidation it would have caused several years ago.
O'Neill, captain Steven Davis and the rest of the players have done that and deserve immense credit for it.
But taking on the might of Germany it seems is just a bridge too far.
In the Euro 2016 finals, Germany won 1-0 against Northern Ireland in Paris and 12 months ago Low's men enjoyed a 2-0 victory earlier in this World Cup qualifying campaign in Hannover.
In reality this was Charlton v Bayern Munich with Magennis taking on Mats Hummels, this was Blackburn Rovers v Real Madrid with Corry Evans up against Toni Kroos, Millwall v Paris St Germain with Conor McLaughlin facing Julian Draxler and Norwich v Barcelona in terms of the goalkeepers Michael McGovern and Marc-Andre ter Stegen.
Yet for the gulf in stature of the clubs, Northern Ireland gave it a real go and the crowd appreciated them battling to the final whistle.
By the time they next play in Norway on Sunday, if results go their way, O'Neill's men may be in the World Cup play-offs.
If that is the case expect the manager to rest players like Davis who are one booking away from a suspension.
Last night may have been a German lesson but school's not out for summer just yet. There is a World Cup place to play for and once they have dusted themselves down from their first competitive defeat since losing away to Germany, Northern Ireland will rise again.
The play-offs are in November.
Northern Ireland can still make it to Russia.
Let's just hope they don't draw Germany again should they get there!