By Micil Glennon
Germany team manager Oliver Bierhoff says they expected a "stronger" challenge from the Republic of Ireland after they handed out a 6-1 thrashing in Dublin on Friday night.
While the visitors were always strong favourites, the scoreline, which was Ireland’s worst-ever home defeat, even surprised the former striker.
"We expected them to be a little bit stronger," Bierhoff told Goal.com.
“We played very focussed. We have talented players with a lot of technique and other skills but the Irish team was a little bit disappointing.”
Ireland coach Giovanni Trapattoni, whose position will now come under severe scrutiny, saw his team hold out for half an hour but succumbed to goals from Marco Reus (2), Miroslav Klose, Mesut Ozil and Toni Kroos (2), as the Germans cut through the miserable Irish defence at will.
Substitute Andy Keogh headed in from close range in injury time for what could barely be called a consolation goal.
“We know that they were missing some players but I think especially after going 2-0, we came back immediately in the second half with the third goal and the game was over,” said Bierhoff.
“Playing against us, with our players is not so easy. I don’t know about the whole situation here in Ireland. I know that Trapattoni is a big coach and has a lot of experience.
“He will know why he has chosen this way but we have these very fast, intelligent players - Ozil, Reus, who is very fast, Muller is always creating something so it’s not easy to play us," said Bierhoff.