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Goalscorer Gnabry becoming an important player for Germany, says Low

9:55 PM GMT 09/09/2019
Kai Havertz, Serge Gnabry, Germany
The 24-year-old capped his side's 2-0 win in Belfast with a stoppage-time goal, his ninth strike in ten senior international appearances

Germany manager Joachim Low was full of praise for winger Serge Gnabry, after the Bayern Munich man scored the second in his side’s crucial 2-0 win in Northern Ireland.

The home side had chances to open the scoring in the first half but were pegged back early in the second by Marcel Halstenberg’s first goal for Germany, a superbly executed volley across the keeper and inside the right post.

Gnabry made the game safe in stoppage time with his ninth goal in ten senior international appearances, and Low thinks the 24-year-old is developing into a key member of his team.

“Serge is really great,” he told RTL. “Not just in front of the goal, he has become an important player for us. He is always on an extremely high level.

Germany were under pressure to deliver after their chastening 4-2 defeat at home to the Netherlands last week, but the win in Belfast took them to the top of Group C – though the Dutch, three points behind, are yet to play their second game of the international break.

There were certainly still issues for Low to contend with, after Northern Ireland could easily have found themselves two goals up at the break.

But for the time being, the under-fire manager was happy enough to take a hard-earned three points.

“We were under pressure today, we had to win,” he said.

“We did not get into the game very well. The Northern Irishmen were brave and did a good job of attacking us. We talked about a couple of things during the half-time break, then it was better.

“We had more speed and the goal brought some calmness, it came at just the right time, we should have scored the second goal earlier. We can not give away a game like that, so players have to adapt better. We're in a learning phase.”

The 27-year-old left-back Halstenberg was making only his fourth appearance for his country, after impressing in the Bundesliga with RB Leipzig.

After opening his international account in some style, he admitted he was still riding the crest of a wave after the game.

“I still have a lot of adrenaline!” he said. “I just hit the ball superbly, it flies perfectly into the net.”

Gnabry and Halstenberg could be going head-to-head this weekend, with Leipzig hosting Bayern in a mouthwatering Bundesliga tie.