How Germany's players rated against Northern Ireland
Sebastian Rudy's early strike was crucial for Germany, but his contributions did not stop there. Sandro Wagner also impressed while leading the line and Joshua Kimmich was a menace once again.
Marc-André ter Stegen — 6
Northern Ireland did not have many shots on target, so the Barcelona keeper didn't have much to do. However, he did come off his line when Corry Evans was left unmarked on the left side of the penalty area to stop the Northern Ireland winger from getting a clean shot off.
For a quick central defender, Jerome Boateng was a little slow on Thursday. That was particularly apparent when Conor Washington squared him up and fired a shot off the crossbar.
Mats Hummels — 6
He cleaned up a lot of people's messes and made Kyle Lafferty a non-factor. Switched off at the end of the game when Josh Magennis scored a consolation goal, but by then it didn't matter.
Marvin Plattenhardt — 2
Making just his second start for Germany, Plattenhardt didn't seem on the same wavelength as some of his teammates and struggled to beat the first man with his crosses, even on a free kick. His defending was worse – he did not even slow down the Northern Ireland wingers he was supposed to stop. Didn't look up to the challenge of replacing Jonas Hector.
Leon Goretzka — 4
Normally a more central player, Goretzka shifted a little more to the right in Löw's compact midfield. He therefore did not see much of the action, although his movement was still strong.
Toni Kroos — 7
Still the man who directs the play in midfield, taking defenders out of the action with terrific switches of play. Had he taken a late chance as well as Sebastian Rudy took an early one, his rating may have been even higher.
A game is always easier when a team has the lead after a minute and a half. Sebastian Rudy provided that, and did a lot of dirty work in midfield to boot.
Julian Draxler — 3
Had an embarrassing volley attempt from the top of the penalty area and was dispossessed more than once. That is not what you want from a winger.
Thomas Müller — 8
He looked much like his old self, slotting in behind Sandro Wagner and even controlling the tempo of the play at times.
Sandro Wagner — 9
He did exactly what Löw wanted him to do – hold up the ball, combine with his teammates and finish off chances. The turn for his goal was also spectacular.
Emre Can (Goretzka) — 6 Came on again after an hour and provided some stability. He also set up Kroos late in the game, but Kroos couldn't keep his shot down.
Leroy Sane (Draxler) — 7 His pace was electric off the bench, and he kept a chance alive that lead to Kimmich's goal.
Lars Stindl (Müller) — N/A Replaced Müller late and did not have time to contribute much.
Winner: Timo Werner
No player has risen faster in Germany's team than RB Leipzig's Timo Werner. He received his first cap back in March and now appears to be Joachim Löw's main man up front, despite missing the latest match through injury. Germany have already won a tournament - the Confederations Cup - with Werner playing up front. Can they win another in 2018?
Loser: Mario Gomez
He had a renaissance at last year's European Championship – two goals in four games – to the point where Germany fell apart when he got injured. But Gomez has played just twice in World Cup qualifying. Euro 2016 may have been the last hurrah for a striker who once again appears to have found himself down the pecking order.
Winner: Lars Stindl
Several Bundesliga stars got an opportunity at the Confederations Cup, but Lars Stindl was the one who made the most of it. The Gladbach attacker received his first cap in June, and now Löw is choosing him over some more established players. With the depth Löw has in attacking midfield, Stindl may not make the World Cup squad, but he has made a strong case for his inclusion.
Loser: Andre Schürrle
He assisted the winning goal in the World Cup final, but now André Schürrle can barely get on the field, for club or country. As the Dortmund forward has struggled with his form, several others have passed him on Germany's depth chart. He got two goals and an assist against Azerbaijan in March, but he looks unlikely to win another cap anytime soon.
Winner: Leon Goretzka
Germany has a plethora of central midfielders yet Leon Goretzka has still found a way to break into the squad. The Schalke midfielder was arguably Germany's best player at the Confederations Cup, scoring three goals in four starts. His spot may not be completely secure if Ilkay Gündogan and Julian Weigl return strongly from injury, but he has certainly made the decision tougher for Löw.
Loser: Julian Brandt
After a strong performance at last year's Olympics and a solid season with Leverkusen, Julian Brandt seemed poised for an extended run in Germany's first team. But it wasn't to be. He made just one start at the Confederations Cup and played poorly in the World Cup qualifier against Czech Republic last month. Considering Germany's depth, he may need to wait a little longer for his World Cup debut.
Winner: Marc-Andre ter Stegen
The back-up goalkeeper spot is no longer up for grabs. Marc-André ter Stegen has secured his place behind Manuel Neuer after another solid performance against the Czech Republic. He was named as starter after just two matches at the Confed Cup, a tournament where Löw was supposedly going to try out several players. In truth ter Stegen has made the number two spot his own.
Losers: Kevin Trapp and Bernd Leno
With Neuer injured, 2017 was the year these two were to solidify their standing with Germany. Neither of them have. Bernd Leno (right) made two big errors in his only Confed Cup start. Kevin Trapp (left) got his first cap in June, but a lack of first team football at Paris Saint-Germain may be his downfall. The pair's issues mean the third goalkeeper spot in the World Cup squad up for grabs.
Winner: Antonio Rüdiger
His performances with Germany have been far from perfect and he may not live up to the €35 million ($40.3 million) price tag placed on him when he signed for Chelsea in July but Rüdiger he seems to have Löw's backing. He has played in seven of Germany's 10 matches in 2017 and although he may not be in the country's top tier of central defenders, he appears to be in the mix if injury strikes.
Losers: Niklas Süle and Jonathan Tah
A year ago, the two seemed to be Germany's defensive future - Jonathan Tah made the Euro 2016 squad while Niklas Süle (left) played at the Olympics. But neither has made a big enough recent impact to warrant a spot in the World Cup squad. Tah has had injury problems but even Matthias Ginter, who was not good enough for Dortmund, seems to be ahead of the youngsters.
Somewhere in between: Thomas Müller
He has scored five goals in World Cup qualifying, so it may seem harsh to call him a loser. But Müller hasn't moved past his Euro 2016 woes, so he's not a winner either. His recent decline with Bayern Munich doesn't seem to have carried over too much in the national team, but he's still not the Müller Germany fans know. Hopefully he becomes a winner in 2018, or Germany may not be winning anything.