Gnabry scores debut hat-trick as Germany crush San Marino
SERRAVALLE, San Marino (Reuters) - Serge Gnabry scored a debut hat-trick as a second-string Germany team demolished San Marino 8-0 on Friday to stay top of their World Cup qualifying group with maximum points from four matches.
German coach Joachim Loew, without more than six regulars including Jerome Boateng, Manuel Neuer and Toni Kroos, gave Werder Bremen winger Gnabry his first cap and he did not disappoint.
It was always going to be a one-sided affair as the world champions, second in the rankings, took on a team 199 places below them.
Sami Khedira opened the German account after seven minutes from an Ilkay Guendogan pass and Gnabry grabbed his first goal to double the lead in pouring rain.
The 21-year-old, joint top scorer and silver medallist at this year's Olympic Games, volleyed in his second goal early in the second half after full back Jonas Hector turned centre forward for Germany's third goal.
Hector scored again just past the hour as San Marino, consisting mainly of amateur players, ran out of steam. Gnabry completed a memorable debut for Germany by volleying in his third goal before a San Marino own goal in the 82nd.
Substitute Kevin Volland added Germany's eighth five minutes from time.
The win lifted Germany to 12 points from four games at the top of Group C, having kept a clean sheet in every match.
It also gave Loew his 95th win as Germany coach, more than any other manager. He still trails Sepp Herberger in total matches in charge on 142 compared to 167.
(Reporting by Karolos Grohmann, editing by Ed Osmond)