Thomas Muller made sure Germany made a successful start to the defence of their World Cup title with a 3-0 win over Norway in Oslo.
Thomas Muller was on target twice while Joshua Kimmich’s first goal for his country crowned an emphatic start to qualifying for Germany, who immediately took their place at the top of Group C.
Manuel Neuer led Germany out for the first time since being named their new captain following Bastian Schweinsteiger’s retirement from international football. (read)
The Bayern Munich goalkeeper’s touch of the ball during the coin toss was the closest he would come to seeing action for much of the game, though, as Joachim Low’s team pressed from the beginning.
Ten minutes in, Benedikt Howedes almost gave the guests the lead when he slid in to meet Muller’s cross, but Germany only had to wait a further five minutes before Muller scored with a second bite of the cherry after his first shot was blocked.
Germany continued to have the better of the game, with Norway rarely getting to threaten Neuer’s goal, and they deservedly scored a second on the stroke of half-time.
Muller was this time the provider for Kimmich’s first goal for his country, his shot evading the lunges of two Norway players and nestling into the far corner of Rune Jarstein’s goal.
Muller added a third on the hour mark, heading in Sami Khedira’s cross for his 34th goal for his country and allowing Germany to take it easy for the final half hour.
Even when Germany visibly reduced the tempo, Norway still could not cause Neuer any problems and it was always the guests who looked likely to score again.
Julian Brandt wasted two good late chances to open his account for Germany, but enough damage had already been done with the 2014 World Cup winners making a victorious start to their 2018 qualifying campaign.