Match ends, Germany 2, Northern Ireland 0.
World Cup 2018: Germany 2-0 Northern Ireland
First-half goals by Julian Draxler and Sami Khedira earned Germany victory over Northern Ireland in their 2018 World Cup Group C qualifier in Hanover.
Draxler unleashed a right-foot shot into the bottom corner on 13 minutes.
Khedira nodded in the second four minutes later after Mats Hummels out-jumped the visitors' defence to head across goal to the Juventus midfielder.
Northern Ireland are third in the group on four points, with Germany top after winning their first three games.
Azerbaijan remain second in the table having retained their unbeaten record with a goalless draw against the Czech Republic.
Norway secured their first points of the qualifying campaign by defeating San Marino 4-1.
On the defensive
Northern Ireland manager Michael O'Neill's team selection reflected the change of emphasis from attack for Saturday's 4-0 win over San Marino to defence for the inevitable rearguard action against the four-time world champions.
Aaron Hughes came in to win his 104th cap and joined fellow experienced defenders Gareth McAuley and Jonny Evans in a back three, with Lee Hodson and Shane Ferguson deployed as wing-backs and the defensively-minded Corry Evans named in midfield.
Although the Germans predictably dominated territory and possession, Northern Ireland posed an attacking threat on the counter-attack.
Josh Magennis, preferred to Kyle Lafferty and Conor Washington in the lone striker role, was the visitors' stand-out player, working tirelessly throughout.
O'Neill's men were unable to convert a couple of breakaway chances in the first half, Jamie Ward's weak finish being easily gathered by Manuel Neuer and Magennis seeing his well-struck drive saved by the Germany goalkeeper.
All over in four minutes
Goalkeeper Michael McGovern was the hero when the sides last met at the Euro 2016 finals in Paris in June, making a number of outstanding saves to keep the final score down to 1-0.
The Norwich stopper was in action early on as he palmed away a Mario Gotze header, but poor defending in the early stages cost Northern Ireland dear as Draxler and Khedira found the net in that decisive four-minute spell.
Draxler shrugged off Gareth McAuley for the opening goal, while Khedira used his height advantage to climb above the Northern Ireland defence for the second.
The hosts had a number of chances to add to their tally in the second half but McGovern was rarely troubled, as Khedira in particular was guilty of profligacy in front of goal.
Man of the match - Josh Magennis
The facts you need to know
- Sami Khedira scored his first international goal in 1,099 minutes of action. Indeed, it was his first goal since the 7-1 win against Brazil at the 2014 World Cup.
- Northern Ireland conceded more than one goal in an international game for the first time since losing 2-0 in Romania in a European Championship qualifier in November 2014.
- The defeat is Northern Ireland's first in a qualifying game for almost two years, having previously gone eight unbeaten.
- Joachim Low won his 94th game as Germany coach, equalling Sepp Herberger's record.
- Northern Ireland goalkeeper Michael McGovern conceded more than one goal for the first time in the 18 internationals he has played.
With the Germans strongly fancied to top the group, Northern Ireland's hopes of securing second place, and with it a shot at making Russia 2018 through the play-offs, will rest on less daunting fixtures than their visit to the formidable third-ranked team in the Fifa world standings.
The men in green host Azerbaijan in a potentially key match at Windsor Park on 11 November, with the Czech Republic entertaining Norway and San Marino at home to Germany on the same night.
What they said
Northern Ireland manager Michael O'Neill: "I was disappointed to go behind the way we did and to lose the second goal at that point in the game when we were trying to contain them.
"In the end if we had taken anything from here it would have been a huge bonus and whatever happens in the group, I don't see any of the other teams coming here and winning, so it's far from a disaster.
"We look forward to the game against Azerbaijan now and we have the incentive of going second in the group if we win that game."
- 17BoatengSubstituted forMustafiat 69'minutes
- 3HectorSubstituted forVollandat 81'minutes
- 10ÖzilSubstituted forGündoganat 45'minutes
- 22ter Stegen
- 3FergusonBooked at 74mins
- 16NorwoodSubstituted forMcNairat 73'minutes
- 19WardSubstituted forMcGinnat 61'minutes
- 21MagennisSubstituted forLaffertyat 76'minutes
- Paolo Tagliavento
- Shots on Target
Second Half ends, Germany 2, Northern Ireland 0.
Offside, Northern Ireland. Steven Davis tries a through ball, but Niall McGinn is caught offside.
Corner, Germany. Conceded by Shane Ferguson.
Attempt missed. Thomas Müller (Germany) left footed shot from very close range misses to the left. Assisted by Joshua Kimmich.
Attempt missed. Sami Khedira (Germany) left footed shot from outside the box is just a bit too high. Assisted by Ilkay Gündogan.
Corner, Germany. Conceded by Lee Hodson.
Offside, Northern Ireland. Corry Evans tries a through ball, but Niall McGinn is caught offside.
Attempt missed. Ilkay Gündogan (Germany) right footed shot from the centre of the box is too high. Assisted by Joshua Kimmich.
Substitution, Germany. Kevin Volland replaces Jonas Hector.
Attempt missed. Shkodran Mustafi (Germany) right footed shot from the centre of the box misses to the left following a corner.
Corner, Germany. Conceded by Michael McGovern.
Attempt saved. Mario Götze (Germany) right footed shot from the left side of the box is saved in the bottom left corner. Assisted by Jonas Hector.
Substitution, Northern Ireland. Kyle Lafferty replaces Josh Magennis.
Shane Ferguson (Northern Ireland) is shown the yellow card for a bad foul.
Joshua Kimmich (Germany) wins a free kick on the right wing.
Foul by Shane Ferguson (Northern Ireland).
Attempt missed. Toni Kroos (Germany) right footed shot from outside the box misses to the right. Assisted by Jonas Hector.
Substitution, Northern Ireland. Paddy McNair replaces Oliver Norwood.
Offside, Germany. Sami Khedira tries a through ball, but Mario Götze is caught offside.
Substitution, Germany. Shkodran Mustafi replaces Jérôme Boateng.
Attempt missed. Sami Khedira (Germany) header from the centre of the box is too high. Assisted by Toni Kroos with a cross following a corner.
Corner, Germany. Conceded by Aaron Hughes.
Attempt missed. Toni Kroos (Germany) right footed shot from outside the box is close, but misses to the right. Assisted by Mario Götze.
Attempt missed. Jérôme Boateng (Germany) left footed shot from outside the box is high and wide to the left. Assisted by Sami Khedira.
Attempt blocked. Joshua Kimmich (Germany) right footed shot from the right side of the box is blocked. Assisted by Toni Kroos.
Substitution, Northern Ireland. Niall McGinn replaces Jamie Ward.
Attempt missed. Sami Khedira (Germany) right footed shot from outside the box is close, but misses to the right. Assisted by Ilkay Gündogan.
Corner, Germany. Conceded by Lee Hodson.
Corner, Germany. Conceded by Oliver Norwood.
Attempt saved. Sami Khedira (Germany) right footed shot from the centre of the box is saved in the centre of the goal. Assisted by Joshua Kimmich with a cross.
Attempt blocked. Ilkay Gündogan (Germany) right footed shot from the centre of the box is blocked. Assisted by Julian Draxler.
Offside, Northern Ireland. Aaron Hughes tries a through ball, but Shane Ferguson is caught offside.
Corner, Northern Ireland. Conceded by Jérôme Boateng.
Second Half begins Germany 2, Northern Ireland 0.
Substitution, Germany. Ilkay Gündogan replaces Mesut Özil.
First Half ends, Germany 2, Northern Ireland 0.
Manuel Neuer (Germany) wins a free kick in the defensive half.
Foul by Josh Magennis (Northern Ireland).
Corner, Northern Ireland. Conceded by Mats Hummels.