Germany’s standing in world football means that North Macedonia are not a team they should be thinking about inflicting ‘revenge’ upon.
However, a ruthless performance in Skopje saw the four-time World Champions ruthlessly dispatch their opponents in a manner that made it clear their shock 2-1 setback in the reverse fixture was indeed a one-off.
The win confirmed that Germany became the first team to confirm qualification for the 2022 World Cup in Qatar with two games to spare in Group J.
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It was the also the fifth win from five matches four Hansi Flick after the former Bayern boss replaced Joachim Löw in the summer.
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Low, who led Germany to the World Cup in 2014, endured a difficult end to his time in charge, culminating in a disappointing Euro 2020 campaign that ended with a second round exit to England.
Flick appears to have given the team something of a boost with Germany now looking like something approaching their imperious old selves, and heading to Qatar on a mission.
Eurosport Germany’s Dennis Melzer explains exactly what the new manager has done to turn fortunes around.
What has changed tactically under Hansi Flick?
Hansi Flick relies on high pressing to win the ball deep in the opposing half. Similar to his time at FC Bayern, he urges the full-backs to move out of the chain to help the offensive players in pressure situations. He was very successful at Bayern, although the defence had to accept conceding goals often due to the risky tactics.
His method was basically, we always score at least one goal more than the opponent.
The system under Joachim Löw was designed for possession and seemed to have run its course. Creative moments were rarely seen and the players mostly passed the ball back and forth without gaining space. By the end, Germany barely created any scoring chances under Löw and seemed unimaginative. Löw was repeatedly criticised for this.
Have there been any personnel changes? New players coming in or old players coming back?
Flick has always made it clear that every player can get a chance with him - if he performs convincingly at club level. Most recently, for example, the national team director Oliver Bierhoff even said that Jerome Boateng or Mario Götze could return.
Basically, Flick builds on the players who have already played under Löw. If you look at yesterday's starting XI, you will see many familiar faces: Neuer - Klostermann, Süle, Kehrer, Raum, Kimmich, Goretzka, Gnabry, Müller, Havertz, Werner. Flick also gives young players such as Florian Wirtz, Karim Adeyemi and Jamal Musiala a relatively large amount of playing time (Although this is related to quality of opposition, it is still noticeable.)
It has to be said that Löw also had a strong squad - the players just needed to be used properly. That is what one hopes for from Flick.
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Image credit: Getty Images
Who will be/are the key players for this Germany team?
The key players are likely to come from FC Bayern in particular. There is always the well-known Bayern axis in the German national team. Neuer, Süle, Kimmich, Goretzka, Gnabry, Sané, Müller. Of the players who play abroad, Rüdiger is likely to play an important role, Havertz is also valued by Flick.
Maybe there will also be a surprise from the top young talents. Wirtz, Musiala and Adeyemi are already very far in their development. It is not unrealistic that one of the three will take on a leading role in a year.
What areas need work between now and Qatar?
Flick must and will make improvements in all respects. He has to find the best possible balance between defending and attacking, which he did not always succeed in last season at Bayern.
Unlike the German national team, he had Robert Lewandowski as a striker at Bayern who secured many points with his countless goals. The DFB team - and that is the other big point - is missing a real world class striker. Werner played well yesterday, but overall he is not really convincing as a number nine.
Gnabry and Havertz can also play strikers, but they are not great goalscorers either. Since Flick cannot pull a Lewandowski out of his hat at Germany, so he has to work with his current players and has to find a game style that fits them.
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