An Andre Schürrle masterclass has helped Germany finish their World Cup qualifying campaign with a win over Sweden. Schürrle made it look easy even if it was not exactly that for his team, who had to come from 2-0 down.
Germany had already sealed their place at the 2014 tournament in Brazil with their win over the Republic of Ireland on Friday, but head coach Joachim Löw resisted the urge for widespread changes to his team in Solna on Tuesday.
Schürrle retained his spot after scoring against Ireland, and his sensational hat trick - along with goals from birthday boy Mesut Özil and substitute Mario Götze - saw Germany eventually overcome a Swedis outfit that perhaps already had one eye on the playoff, which it will now need to win to reach the World Cup.
In perhaps an indication of the avalanche of goals to come, Swedish forward Tobias Hysen raced onto a through ball to nutmeg German goalkeeper Manuel Neuer after just seven minutes.
Germany had the better of the play even despite conceding, and Bastian Schweinsteiger - in his 100th appearance for his nation - tried his luck from distance several times as he attempted to mark the milestone with a goal.
Forward Thomas Müller crashed a header onto the bar as Germany came close, but it was instead Sweden who scored next. Again it was a counter-attack and again Neuer was exposed, with winger Alexander Kacaniklic finishing neatly past the Bayern Munich shot-stopper on 42 minutes.
The 2-0 lead did not last long, however, with attacker Max Kruse - one of the two changes Löw did make to his XI - laying off for Özil to finish nicely in the shadows of halftime.
Schürrle shows style
Schürrle showed one of the many aces in his pack to create the equalizer for Germany eight minutes into the second half in a piece of touch-line trickery, with halftime substitute Götze finishing better than a player of his struggling fitness probably should.
Chelsea man Schürrle got the goal he deserved soon after, and had his double by the 66-minute mark. He may have capitalized smartly on some laughable defending for the first two goals, but his third on 76 minutes was nothing short of sensational.
Receiving the ball on the left of the area, Schürrle cut back onto his right foot and curled a sweet strike over the head of hapless Sweden goalkeeper Johan Wiland.
The goal all but put the result to bed, with Hysen having volleyed home a superb second seven minutes earlier to briefly raise Sweden's hopes.
'Power' going forward
"It's annoying to concede three goals, but we have once again shown what power we have when we are going forward," man of the match Schürrle told news agency DPA after the game. "That would make it hard for any team in the world."
The result ensured that Germany finished UEFA World Cup qualifying with an impressive record, obtaining nine wins and a draw in their 10 group games and scoring 36 goals in the process.
Sweden beat out Austria for second and Group C's playoff place.