Schalke youngster Cedric Teuchert hit a hat-trick on a difficult evening for Noel King’s men.
– Paul Fennessy reports from Tallaght Stadium.
IRELAND U21S SUFFERED a 6-0 thrashing to a far superior Germany in tonight’s European Championships qualifier at Tallaght Stadium.
The visitors were good value for their comprehensive victory, dominating proceedings for much of the 90 minutes.
Schalke youngster Cedric Teuchert claimed a hat-trick, while substitute Suat Serdar (2) and Aaron Seydel were also on target, in a game that saw a lacklustre Ireland side concede no fewer than three penalties.
Noel King’s men came into the game knowing a win would be enough to take them top of their qualifying group, having drawn away to third-place Kosovo last week.
However, they were missing players who have already played an important role in the campaign — Ryan Sweeney and Ronan Curtis were suspended, while Declan Rice is currently considering his international future having been linked with a switch to England.
Cork City’s Sean McLoughlin was handed a debut with Danny Kane unavailable through illness, while Hearts’ Jake Mulraney also came into the side, having not started in Kosovo.
The group leaders, however, went into the game as strong favourites, with every member of their side having Bundesliga experience. The visitors’ side included the highly-rated Benjamin Henrichs, who has been capped three times by Germany’s senior team and joined Monaco from Bayer Leverkusen for a reported €20 million fee in the summer.
And it was Henrichs who had the game’s first attempt on goal, striking the ball well wide from the edge of the area inside five minutes.
Moments later, he was involved again, with his through pass finding Seydel, who blasted the ball past O’Hara, as Ireland’s appeals for offside were ignored by the officials.
Germany continued to dominate possession and territory thereafter and Seydel missed a golden chance to make it 2-0 after 12 minutes. O’Hara could only parry Teuchert’s powerful free kick into the striker’s path, but his side-footed effort from about eight yards out narrowly missed the target.
The Boys in Green were dealt a further blow on 16 minutes, as McLaughlin walked off gingerly with an injury, and was replaced by Shaun Donnellan.
Five minutes later, the visitors doubled their advantage. Overlapping full-back Lukas Klostermann got in behind Mulraney down the right and the Hearts player compounded his initial error by making a rash challenge, which resulted in a penalty. Teuchert made no mistake from the ensuing spot kick, sending O’Hara the wrong way.
Ireland had a chance to respond immediately. Josh Cullen laid the ball off to Ryan Manning, whose shot from the edge of the area found the side netting.
Five minutes before half-time, Germany almost made the match’s outcome certain. Teuchert played through Seydel, and the latter’s goal-bound attempt drifted beyond O’Hara, but was cleared by the well-positioned Delaney.
The hosts at least began to show more attacking intent as the half developed, though they rarely looked like scoring, with a tame Reece Grego-Cox effort from distance just before the break the best effort they could muster.
The second half began badly for the visitors, as the influential Seydel hobbled off, with Augsburg forward Marco Richter coming on in his place.
Ireland also made a change in attack, with Dundalk’s Jamie McGrath replacing Manning.
The Germans almost added a third on 50 minutes. Florian Neuhaus won the ball in midfield, before latching on to Klostermann’s subsequent cross, but the finish from close range by the Borussia Mönchengladbach man was straight at O’Hara.
The visitors then settled the game as a contest with 24 minutes remaining. A poor clearance by O’Hara went straight to Neuhuas. The midfielder then squared it to Teuchert, who produced a powerful finish from just inside the area, beating the Manchester United youngster at his near post.
Germany were full of confidence now, and Neuhuas almost made it four, as his attempt from the edge of the area went just over the bar.
With 20 minutes remaining, Arne Maier tested O’Hara from distance, with a powerful strike that the goalkeeper was forced to turn behind for a corner, as the away side’s attacking onslaught showed no sign of abating.
Germany did make it four moments later, after Liam Kinsella was harshly penalised for a challenge on Maximilian Eggestein.
Teuchert stepped up again for the penalty, and sent O’Hara the wrong way once more, as the Schalke youngster claimed his hat-trick.
It got worse for Ireland inside the final 10 minutes. In a near replica of the first-half incident, Mulraney was penalised for last-ditch lunge on Klostermann down the right-side of the box.
This time, Serdar was on penalty duty, and he placed an unstoppable shot into the top corner of the net.
Germany and Serdar did not have to wait long for the sixth, as the substitute produced a clever back-heeled finish from close-range, after the ball was deflected fortuitously into his path.
The home team were put out of their misery with the final whistle coming soon after, and the Boys in Green are now facing an uphill task to qualify for next year’s European Championships.
Ireland: Kieran O’Hara; Sean McLoughlin (Donnellan 16), Ryan Delaney, Conor Shaugnessy, Corey Whelan; Henry Charsley, Josh Cullen, Liam Kinsella; Jake Mulraney (Quigley 88), Reece Grego-Cox, Ryan Manning (McGrath 54).
Subs: Liam Bossin, Shaun Donnellan, Joseph Quigley, Jamie McGrath, Rory Hale, Ronan Hale, Ethan Boyle.
Germany: Alexander Nubel; Lukas Klostermann, Timo Baumgartl, Waldemar Anton, Jordan Torunarigha (Serdar 46); Benjamin Henrichs, Eduard Lowen (Maier 67), Maximilian Eggestein, Florian Neuhaus; Aaron Seydel (Richter 54), Cedric Teuchert.
Subs: Markus Schubert, Ohis Felix Uduokhai, Marco Richter, Arne Maier, Janni Serra, Suat Serdar, Pascal Stenzel.
Referee: Alejandro Hernandez (Spain).
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