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Germany made it two wins from two in World Cup qualifying as Serge Gnabry’s first-half goal sealed a 1-0 win over Romania on Sunday.
Joachim Low’s side opened their Group J campaign with a 3-0 win at home to Iceland on Thursday and they put in another dominant, if wasteful, display at the National Arena to edge past Mirel Radoi’s men.
Die Mannschaft had 18 shots to the hosts’ nine, but they were limited to just a solitary goal, the impressive Gnabry securing maximum points with a close-range finish after 16 minutes.
The result means Germany are top of Group J on six points, ahead of Armenia on goal difference, and three points clear of Romania and North Macedonia.
Kai Havertz and Valentin Mihaila exchanged chances in the early stages, before Gnabry put Germany ahead.
Havertz surged into the penalty area and slid an inviting ball across goal, which the Bayern Munich forward easily slotted home from eight yards.
Joshua Kimmich then thundered against the crossbar from distance, with Florin Nita keeping out Gnabry’s follow-up effort as Germany ultimately failed to add to their advantage.
Nita pawed away a fierce Leon Goretzka drive shortly after the restart, while the Romania goalkeeper got down well to deny Gnabry a superb solo goal before the hour mark.
Leroy Sane and Timo Werner missed presentable opportunities inside the final half-hour, while George Puscas tested Manuel Neuer late on as Germany secured another three points on what is shaping up to be a smooth progression to Qatar 2022.
What does it mean? Wasteful Germany do just enough
It was more tense in the closing stages than it needed to be for Germany – Nicolae Stanciu firing into the side netting in the 90th minute after sloppy defending – but there is little doubt they were good value for all three points.
Only a combination of wasteful finishing and excellent goalkeeping from Nita meant the scoreline did not reflect their absolute domination.
With six points from their opening two games, no one would back against them booking their place in next year’s World Cup at the earliest opportunity.
Gnabry leads from the front
Gnabry cemented his position as Germany’s talisman with another crucial goal. The former Arsenal man has had 18 goal involvements in 17 appearances since the 2018 World Cup – at least eight more than any other player.
Gundogan off the pace
Ilkay Gundogan has been in sensational form since the turn of the year for Manchester City, but he was not at his best here.
Only Leroy Sane (79.6 per cent) had a lower pass-completion rate of any German starter than his 85.1 per cent, while he lost possession a game-high 19 times.
Both sides are in Group J action on Wednesday, with Germany hosting North Macedonia and Romania away to Armenia.
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