Germany make it two wins from two in Euro 2020 qualifying Group C. In the first competitive meeting between the two nations, Germany were better and converted just enough of their chances to get the victory.
Belarus 0-2 Germany
(Sané 12', Reus 62')
Head coach Joachim Löw missed the trip to Borisov near Minsk after injuring himself in a sporting accident, so assistant coach Marcus Sorg took over in his place, and saw his team take an early lead through Leroy Sané.
Pressing aggressively, Germany won possession high up the pitch before Joshua Kimmich, starting in midfield rather than at full-back, thread the ball through to Sané who cut inside before firing home left-footed.
The visitors enjoyed the lion's share of possession in a dominant first half but goalkeeper Manuel Neuer was nevertheless twice called into action, first pulling off an acrobatic save from a Naumov header and then delighting the traveling fans with a series of tricks and turns near the corner flag to escape the Belarusian press.
If Germany could be criticized for anything, then it was for the fact that they only led by one goal at half-time, but Reus changed that just after the hour mark, finishing coolly after Serge Gnabry had fluffed his lines.
Sané almost made it three late on when he climbed to meet Matthias Ginter's cross but his header came back off the post. Germany weren't that efficient but need not have worried as they climbed above the Netherlands into second in Group C, behind Northern Ireland.
Their qualifying run continues on Tuesday when they face Estonia.
As it happened:
Safe to say this one won't go down in the history books. Germany get the job done thanks to two individual moments of brilliance from Leroy Sané and Marco Reus. It could and perhaps should have been more. Manuel Neuer made a brilliant save to deny Belarus from the set-piece, but otherwise it was comfortable for Germany. On Tuesday, Germany play Estonia and will be looking to keep their record perfect intact.
87' Niklas Süle has just sprinted 60 odd yards to make a superb block to deny Belarus a chance on goal. A truly brilliant tackle.
84' POST! Sané gets to another great cross by Ginter, and heads it goalwards but the post denies the City man. Nearly three goals to match three points. Germany out shot Belarus 22-5. Doesn't say much for their accuracy.
81' Gündogan makes way, Goretzka comes on. Germany are winding down the game here, in classic, control mode. Another goal would probably get the scoreline looking just about right for a "job done in tricky away qualifying" situation.
77' Sané gets a free kick chance, but it clips the top of the wall. Good position, nice and central, but not quite enough height. Reus makes way, Brandt comes on. Germany are just getting the job done tonight.
71' Gnabry makes way for Draxler, who gets a run out in the final 20 minutes. Amazing how important Gnabry has become for the Germany team in such a short period of time. A dramatic improvement.
67' CHANCE! Reus nearly has a second, but doesn't take the shot. It falls to Gnabry, who fires over. Wasted chance.
62' GOAL! 2-0 Germany (Reus) And that is that. Ginter plays a flat ball into the box. It evades almost everyone, but Reus times his run perfectly to take a touch and slot into the roof of the net. Lovely.
55' CHANCE! Schulz drills in a low cross that lands just beyond Reus' touch. It falls to Klostermann though, but he curls it high and wide. Not sure he was ready for that. Good chance though.
52' Fairly scrappy start to the second half. Germany not quite at the races. The final pass is still missing. Belarus have been pretty heroic in defense so far, but not sure how long that can last.
46' Germany get us restarted.
Germany have a deserved lead at the break thanks to a smart move by Leroy Sané. Neuer made one brilliant save to deny Belarus an equalizer that would have been flattering, but the truth is for all their neat play and quick footwork Germany haven't really deserved more than one goal. And that is quite concerning really.
43' Kimmich sends a shot wide past the far post. Long-range. Not dangerous enough. Where is that neat passing that we just had? Sané goes on a run and he gets into the box but the ball gets away from him. All looks a bit scrappy at the moment.
36' CHANCE! Germany work it neatly. Reus out wide, Klostermann in the middle and then Gnabry lays it off to Gündogan. His effort is deflected over. Short, sharp movements and passes have given Germany their best chances. They'll need more of that tonight. One goal might not be enough.
33' CHANCE! Belarus enjoy a brief moment of attack, and then get a huge chance when the cross comes in but the striker in the box handles the ball with and the chance is gone. Then Neuer makes a massive save to deny Naumov's header from creeping in. That really was a good save. Germany's control slipping away a bit. Then Belarus break forward, Neuer has to come out but the Bayern keeper shows incredible footwork to beat Kovalev and pass it to a teammate. Kovalev won't ever live that down. That Neuer move will be a GIF in three, two, one...
21' Belarus are doing their best to just hold onto the ball for as long as possible. Klostermann and Schulz are having a lot of joy down the flanks. Germany's second doesn't feel far away.
16' CHANCE! Germany are enjoying themselves here. Gnabry slips in Schulz with a gorgeous through ball that again takes the wing back out of the game. Schulz's low cross is perfect for Reus but Belarus do enough to clear it.
12' GOAL! 1-0 Germany (Sané) Kimmich slips a lovely ball through to Sané in the box. The Manchester City winger takes one touch to tuck inside the defender and then curls it into the far corner. He's done it a thousand times in training, that's how clean that move looked. Germany have their lead, and it's deserved.
9' CHANCES! Gnabry unleashes his speed and then flashes an effort goalwards. Gutor palms it away, and Klostermann gets to the rebound but Gutor is there again. It feels like Germany's first goal is incoming...
6' Klostermann bursts in behind the Belarus defense but Gutor gets to it just before the wing back. That is where the danger will come - on the overlap. Germany are definitely playing a 3-4-3 with the ball. Without it, it looks more like a 5-3-2.
3' Wild start. Belarus get an early corner but can't quite make the most of it. Then Germany go down the other end and Gündogan's powerful effort is blocked. Then Belarus get another corner, but also waste that. Plenty of early half chances. Think there'll be goals in this one.
1' We are underway in Belarus! Germany are in full retro green (ish), the hosts in white.
— Speaking to RTL before the game, stand-in head coach Marcus Sorg has played down this moment of being the head coach. He spoke to Joachim Löw earlier in the day, and adds that all the decisions have been made with him in mind. Lukas Klostermann starts because he's in rhythm having played a lot of games towards the end of the season, says Sorg. Germany could end up playing 3-4-3 instead of 5-2-3, which would make more sense. Either way, the full backs will overlap plenty.
— Northern Ireland won earlier on in the day, which means they will stay top of Group C whatever the Germany result is tonight.
— The Belarus team is in! A few changes from the expected lineup.
Belarus XI: Gutor – Shitov, Martynovich, Naumov, Polyakov – Gromyko, Dragun – Kovalev, Maevski, Volodko – Laptev
— TEAM! Germany go with a back five, and expect Klostermann and Schulz to get forward plenty. Kimmich in midfield continues, make of that what you will. As for those front three, I think they speak for themselves. Talent.
The Belarus team is not out yet, but we'll drop it in as soon as we get it.
Germany XI: Neuer - Klostermann, Tah, Ginter, Süle, Schulz - Kimmich, Gündogan - Sané, Reus, Gnabry
— The question is, did the men's team watch the women's team? I would love to know.
— Germany's men will be hoping to follow on from the women's team, who earlier today got their 2019 World Cup campaign under way with a narrow 1-0 win over China.
— Good afternoon! Kickoff approaches in this one. Germany are set to play their 100th European Championship qualifying game. So far, they have won 70 and lost only nine. Not a bad record at all. Win number 71 on the way tonight?
Two out of two?
After kicking off Euro 2020 qualifying with a 3-2 win against the Netherlands in Amsterdam, Die Mannschaft have a chance to make it two wins out of two on Saturday. Germany are still repairing the damage from disappointing campaigns at the 2018 FIFA World Cup and the inaugural UEFA Nations League, but confidence is high heading into a game Belarus, who currently sit bottom of Group C.
Reus is the man with a plan
Borussia Dortmund's Marco Reus is expected to lead the line on Saturday and has laid out Germany's recipe for success on Saturday: "We've got to move a lot, find space from deep positions, keep our shape on the day and be ice cold in front of goal."
A 19-year-old veteran?
Kai Havertz has his work cut out for him as he look to break into the Germany team, but was singled out for special praise by Joachim Löw. "To have such a season at 19 and score 17 goals is exceptional," Löw told Kicker. "With Kai Havertz I asked myself after the first time he trained with us whether he could've already been with us for a year or two. It seemed as if he'd always played with the others. I've seen that very, very rarely with a player before."
Possible line-up: Germany
Neuer – Klostermann, Ginter, Süle, Schulz – Kimmich, Gündogan, Goretzka – Gnabry, Reus, Sane
Possible line-up: Belarus
Gutor – Shitov, Martynovich, Polyakov, Volodko – Maevski, Kislyak – Nekhaychik, Dragun, Stasevich – Gordeychuk
Löw misses out
Germany will be without Joachim Löw for the games against Belarus and Estonia after the head coach was taken to hospital following an accident involving a dumbbell. As a result, assistant Marcus Sorg will take charge. "We want to pick up six points, set the standard in the group and go into the break as group leaders with nine points," said Sorg.
Hello and welcome…
…one and all to DW's coverage of Germany's trip to Belarus where they will be looking to maintain their winning ways in Euro 2020 qualifying Group C.