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Serge Gnabry annoyed by Germany transition talk

Attacker the star of new-look German national team with 13 goals from 13 caps

Serge Gnabry said he found talk about Germany undergoing a rebuilding phase annoying after scoring a hat-trick in a 6-1 rout of Northern Ireland that secured them top spot in Group C yesterday morning (Singapore time).

Having already booked their Euro 2020 berth last Saturday by beating Belarus, the emphatic win in Frankfurt means Germany finish their qualifying campaign two points ahead of Holland.

Germany coach Joachim Loew has sought to freshen up his team after the debacle of their group-stage exit at last year's World Cup and has jettisoned experienced heads Mats Hummels, 30; Jerome Boateng, 31, and Thomas Mueller, 30.

Bayern Munich attacker Gnabry, 24, is part of a new generation to have stepped up, with 13 goals in 13 caps - including nine goals this year.

He said: "It's annoying to keep hearing and talking about a rebuilding phase.

"Yes, we've got a young team - we all get along very well. We always play well, we play very attractive football.

"We weren't always able to get the results we wanted, but it's looking a lot better now.

"I think we'll go into the tournament with confidence - we're on a good run, aside from the (4-2) loss to Holland."

Bayern midfielder Leon Goretzka, also 24, bagged a brace while 23-year-old Julian Brandt added gloss to the scoreline in added time as Die Mannschaft bounced back from Michael Smith's seventh-minute opener for Northern Ireland.

Said Loew: "I've always had the highest possible opinion of Gnabry...

"He was always one to pass the ball to, he doesn't play up front all the time, he lets himself fall back a bit and you can find him anywhere on the pitch and he's able to play in many different positions.

"These are prime qualities in any player, and also his finishing is technically fantastic."

Northern Ireland manager Michael O'Neill, meanwhile, said he was baffled as to why Gnabry did not make a bigger impact in England with Arsenal and West Bromwich Albion.

Said the newly appointed Stoke City manager: "Gnabry's goalscoring record is phenomenal. It's a mystery to me how English clubs didn't get more out of him.

"I'd be surprised if this Germany team doesn't make a big impact (at Euro 2020)."

Loew, however, said before the match that six teams are better placed than his side to win the Euros.

He said: "Teams like England, France, Spain, Italy, Belgium and Holland are ahead of us.

"They've had a generational revamp. But I don't see us as favourites for the Euros."

It was a sentiment seconded by Emre Can after the match at the Commerzbank-Arena.

He said: "A 6-1 win, it has to be a big statement...

"But I think we are a young group who haven't played that often together... Of course, we go to the Euros to win it, but I don't think we are favourites."

MATTHAEUS FANCIES ENGLAND, FRANCE FOR EURO 2020


20 TEAMS WHO HAVE QUALIFIED

Group A: England, Czech Republic
Group B: Ukraine, Portugal
Group C: Germany, Holland
Group D: Switzerland, Denmark
Group E: Croatia, Wales
Group F: Spain, Sweden
Group G: Poland, Austria
Group H: France, Turkey
Group I: Belgium, Russia
Group J: Italy, Finland

16 TEAMS WHO WILL COMPETE FOR 4 REMAINING SPOTS

Kosovo, Bulgaria, Serbia , Northern Ireland, Belarus, Ireland, Georgia, Slovakia, Hungary, Norway, Romania, North Macedonia, Israel, Iceland , Scotland, Bosnia

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