Hello and welcome to Sports Mole
's live text coverage of the Euro 2016
qualifier between Gibraltar and Germany
at the Estadio Algarve in Faro.
Group D has proved to be among the tightest qualification groups, with four teams left battling for the two automatic spots to guarantee their passage through to France 2016. That appears unlikely to change until the final ball is kicked, meaning that every point really could prove to be key between now and mid-October.
Before taking a look at the team news, it's worth looking back at the results from the other two Group D fixtures that have already taken place this evening. Leaders Poland maintained their impressive run in qualifying to claim another three-point haul by seeing off Georgia 4-0, while Scotland and the Republic of Ireland played out a 1-1 draw in Dublin.
That means, as things stand, Germany sit four points off Poland in third place. It is hardly a position you would expect the side boasting the best qualifying record on the continent to be in at this midway stage, but with the shares being spoiled in the Irish capital a little earlier there is now a chance to claim an automatic qualification berth with a win tonight. Gibraltar, meanwhile, are still seeking their first point as a UEFA-affiliated member.
Right, now that we are all up-to-speed it's time to check out how both these sides line up this evening...
GIBRALTAR XI: Perez, J Chipolina, R Chipolina, R Casciaro, Garcia, Gosling, Walker, K Casciaro, Payas, Priestley, L Casciaro
GERMANY XI: Weidenfeller, Boateng, Hector, Rudy, Bellarabi, Schweinsteiger, Ozil, Gudongan, Gotze, Schurrle, Hermann
Let's start by taking a look at the visitors, then, which shows three changes from last time out. Roman Weidenfeller, Jerome Boateng and Karim Bellarabi are the men to come into what is essentially a weakened Germany side, while Shkodran Mustafi, Ron Robert Zieler and Antonio Rudiger are the men to make way.
I say weakened, because Thomas Muller, Manuel Neuer and Marco Reus have each been given an early start to their summer holidays. That said, this is still a starting lineup that you would fancy to bag a few against the minnows of Gibraltar. Karim Bellarabi appears to be tasked with leading the line, with Andre Schurrle
and Mario Gotze alongside him for some support.
As far as the home side are concerned, they will be looking to Lincoln City forward Kyle Casciaro to break down a stubborn German defence. He is the only player to have scored a goal since GFA became an officially recognised UEFA outfit; that strike coming against Scotland in March's 6-1 reverse.
GIBRALTAR SUBS: Sergeant, Lopez, Robba, Victory, Rovegno, Bardon, Duarte, Coombes, Guilling, Barnett, Neale
GERMANY SUBS: Mustafi, Khedira, Podolski, Zieler, Durm, Rudiger, Kramer, Kruse
Again, it's not the strongest Germany bench you are ever likely to see, but with the likes of Lukas Podolski, Max Kruse
and Sami Khedira to call upon, there is still more than enough experience among the ranks to get the job done. Gibraltar have a handful of Football League players in their matchday squad, meanwhile, each of whom will be desperate to run out against the world's best side.
Tonight's match will be played at the Estadio Algarve in southern Portugal. This stadium played host to a number of Euro 2004 games, while anyone who has visited the ground in the past will know just how humid it can get at this time of the year.
Well as already touched upon, Germany head into this game sitting in third place in the Group D standings with exactly half of their games played. As overwhelming favourites this evening, scoring goals has to be the priority as goal difference will likely play a key part in separating the top three - or four - sides come the end of the campaign in October.
's men kicked off their qualifying campaign with a narrow win over Scotland, before losing to Poland and being held to a dramatic 2-2 draw at home to the Republic of Ireland. It's hardly stellar stuff for the reigning world champions, but they soon recovered to record back-to-back wins against Gibraltar and Georgia.
Die Mannschaft could only must a combined six goals in those two fixtures, however, when many would have bet on them reaching double figures against Gibraltar alone. On top of that, a 2-1 defeat against USA earlier this week highlighted that the Germans are now exactly firing on all cylinders right now.
Even then, you would bet every last penny you own on Germany taking apart their opponents this evening. Gibraltar have played five, lost five, conceded 27 and scored one so far in this Euro 2016 qualification campaign. Their highlight without a doubt came last time out when equalising against Scotland at Hampden Park, only to ship a further five goals before full time. Improvement, perhaps, but they would take a 4-0 defeat - as in the reverse fixture - all day long against Low's men in offered to them right now.
PREDICTION: Gibraltar did well to hold out the Die Mannschaft onslaught in the reverse meeting, conceding just the four, and they will be hopeful of doing likewise tonight. Police officers, firefighters, labourers - you name it, this GFA side has a player boasting all kinds of experience. Fighting fire is very much the task at hand over the next 90 minutes, as Germany attempt to close to gap on Poland with a win. I'll go with a 6-0 away win.
The picture in Group D may become a little clearer upon full time in Faro:
KICKOFF! Right, we are officially underway at the Estadio Algarve. Gibraltar are already looking to tick down the clock, which you can pretty much understand.
Three at the back for Germany, meaning that they are very much aiming to boost their goal difference this evening. They have not really created much in these opening three minutes, but there is still plenty of time to go.
SHOT! Rudy fires away the first shot of the match, which appeared to be pretty straightforward for Perez to deal with. He rather flapped at it, though, in an attempt to push it over the bar. As it was, the Gib stopper failed to get enough power on his save and it instead dropped back down where he was able to catch it.
Gibraltar are not just sitting back so far, it must be said. Seconds after that first Germany shot, they were pushing up the other end and asking questions of their opponents' backline.
Bellarabi works some space down the left, but his pull-back for Schurrle is well cut out for a corner. David Wilson
will be more than happy with his side's start in these opening stages.
Ozil is involved for the first time tonight, working some space himself but again failing to pick out a teammate with his final pass. Germany on top for large spells now.
PENALTY TO GERMANY! Bristol Rovers's Jake Gosling brings down Hector inside the box, which leads to the referee pointing to the spot. That seemed a little harsh to me.
PENALTY SAVED! WOW! Jordan Perez, a firefighter by trade, keeps out Schweinsteiger's penalty kick! It was a nice one to deal with, but credit to the Gibraltar stopper for choosing to dive the right way. What a moment for him.
That was a really sloppy penalty from Germany's experienced midfielder. Perez is a fine shot-stopper, and that will no doubt have seen his confidence levels go through the roof. Can the world champs regroup and find a breakthrough?
Schurrle has seen a fair bit of the ball over the past couple of minutes, but his latest strike was well blocked away on the edge of the box. Germany enjoying 95% of the possession, although they have failed to make the most of it in the attacking third. Still goalless.
SHOT! Priestly leads a strong Gibraltar counter, which culminates in him getting a shot away at goal. Weidenfeller, in what is likely to be his final Germany game, gets down to save it. It appeared to be going wide, but he wasn't taking any risks.
Some last-ditch defending sees Gibraltar end a really dangerous Germany spell, which came to an end when Gundogan fired wired from the edge of the box. The hosts need to take a breather whenever they win set pieces. So far, so good.
SAVE! GFA win themselves a free kick around 25 yards from goal, which Payas curled towards the right-hand side of goal. Weidenfeller was across to catch the ball, but it was by no means the simplest of stops. This game is not panning out quite as I imagined.
I tell you what, Gibraltar are really taking this game to their opponents. So much space is afforded to Casciaro through the middle, and he just runs and runs before offloading it to Walker in a wide position. The attacking move comes to nothing, but Germany were chasing shadows for a moment then.
How about this for a stat: This is the longest Gibraltar have gone without conceding a goal since turning professional at the start of this qualifying campaign. If nothing else, that is something to take out of this match should Germany finally break down the wall.
A quite remarkable opening half-hour to this game, which has been evenly-balanced on the whole:
GOAL! GIBRALTAR 0-1 GERMANY (SCHURRLE)
I appear to have cursed Gibraltar with that previous comment, because seconds later Germany were up the other end and sticking the ball in the back of the net. It came about after a mistake at the back, which Schurrle pounced on to tuck beyond Perez. The hosts really should have been booting the ball up the field, rather than trying to pass their way past the German attack.
CHANCE! What an unbelievable chance for Gibraltar to equalise! Joseph Chipolina volleyed a superb pass right across goal, which Gosling latched on to. He fired goalwards from a few yards out, but Weidenfeller was equal to the shot with a vital save.
We have so often seen Gibraltar crumble after conceding a first goal in the past, but there is no signs of heads dropping at the moment. In fact, they really should be level on the back of Gosling's fine opening from just a few yards out.
GERMANY SUB: Gotze appears to be carrying a knock, which spells the end of his involvement. Max Kruse is the man to be brought on in his place. Can a change of personnel bring a change of plan in attack?
Gibraltar's backline are throwing themselves at every ball at the moment, keeping out every shot before it can make its way through to goal. Germany will be eager to get a second before the break, because 1-0 is never a safe scoreline as we have so often seen in the past.
Hermann fins himself free in acres of space at the back post, but he gets his shot horribly wrong by scuffing wide of the target. Gaps are already starting to appear at the back, although Gibraltar will not be too concerned.
Superb noise around the Estadio Algarve now, as Germany continue their search for a second. Gibraltar will be on a real high if they can see out these next two minutes or so.
SHOT! Lee Casciaro has a few options around him around 25 yards from goal, but he opts to take on the shot himself which Weidenfeller keeps out fairly simply down low.
SAVE! What an unbelievable double save from Perez! Fantastic from the firefighter, who has already denied the visitors from the spot. Moments after keeping out Ozil in a one-on-one situation, he kept out what looked to be a tap-in for Kruse by jumping across goal and pushing the ball aside.
SAVE! It's another heroic stop from Perez, who this time saves Ozil's back-post effort right on the brink of half time. We have just witnessed the greatest half of football in Gibraltar's short professional existence.
HALF TIME: GIBRALTAR 0-1 GERMANY
Six-nil was my pre-match prediction, and I'm sure a lot of others would have gone for a scoreline close to double that. It remains just 1-0 at the break, however, following a superb first-half performance from the European minnows. Bastian Schweinsteiger
failed to convert from the spot 10 minutes in, while Gib had a couple of fine chances of their own.
The breakthrough did eventually arrive just short of the half-hour mark when Schurrle capitalised on a mistake at the back to punish GFA, yet moments later Gosling missed a superb opening from just a few yards out. As expected, the world champions dominated the closing period of the half, which was all about Gibraltar keeper Jordan Perez.
Having already kept out a penalty, the Gib stopper denied Ozil in a one-on-one situation, before keeping out Kruse's close-range attempt right on the brink of half time. He has been the standout performer in what has been an opening 45 minutes to remember for David Wilson
A reminder of the options available to both teams at the break. Germany have already been forced into one alteration, bringing on Kruse for the injured Gotze, while another change is likely to be made by an unhappy Joachim Low
at the interval. His side simply have not been clinical enough in front of goal.
GIBRALTAR SUBS: Sergeant, Lopez, Robba, Victory, Rovegno, Bardon, Duarte, Coombes, Guilling, Barnett, Neale
GERMANY SUBS: Mustafi, Khedira, Podolski, Zieler, Durm, Rudiger, Kramer
Here's a closer look at some of the first-half stats from the Estadio Algarve, as both sides prepare to make their way back out onto the field:
There's a little delay to this second period due to a rip in one of the nets. It will have to be properly taped up (it's all very high-tech) before we can get back underway.
SECOND HALF UNDERWAY! Right, the net issue has finally been resolved. Straight from kick off, Kruse found himself through on goal, but was unable to find the back of the net. Positive start from the visitors.
GOAL! GIBRALTAR 0-2 GERMANY (KRUSE)
Germany have come out for this second half fired up, even if they did have to wait to get going because of that issue with one of the nets. It was sloppy from the hosts, with Ozil simply sliding the ball across goal for substitute Kruse to tap home.
That Gosling miss will hurt even more now, as Germany appear to have put the game out of reach. That said, Garcia has just found himself in acres of space inside the opposition box, only to attempt a delicate chip rather than putting his foot through the ball. Poor choice, that.
GOAL! GIBRALTAR 0-3 GERMANY (GUNDOGAN)
The goals are flying in now; Gundogan adding a third less than seven minutes into the second half. A slightly fortunate ricochet in the build-up helped the Borussia Dortmund man, but when through on goal he made little mistake by tucking past Perez.
YELLOW CARD! Chipolina has been involved heavily tonight, but he goes into the book for a rash challenge on Gundogan. Moments later, Berami thought he had added a fourth, although the offside flag was already up on the far side.
CHANCE! It is another top, top opportunity for the home side, which they fail to make the most of. Lee Casciaro takes the ball from the feet Schweinsteiger before trying to chip Weidenfeller, but the Dortmund stopper pushed over the bar.
GOAL! GIBRALTAR 0-4 GERMANY (BELLARAMI)
He saw one ruled out for offside a little while a go, but this one will stand. Bellarami tucks home from close range after being picked out by Ozil for his first international goal. Lukas Podolski is now also on the field, coming on for Hermann, so we could see a few more goals before this one is out.
Gundogan got Germany's third goal of the evening, just prior to Bellarami's first-time strike:
GIBRALTAR SUB: School teacher Priestly departs the action, with Jamie Coombes coming on for just his second international cap.
It's now been seven minutes since Die Mannschaft's last goal, which is always an encouraging sign. The world's top-ranked side really upped the tempo for a 15-minute spell to bag three goals, but now it is very much game over and points in the bag.
GOAL! GIBRALTAR 0-5 GERMANY (SCHURRLE)
Gundogan slaloms his way through a tired Gibraltar backline, but he fails to get the better of Perez. It mattered little though, because both Podolski and Schurrle were waiting to tap the ball home, with the latter being given the honour of doing so.
GERMANY SUB: A sign of Germany's strength in depth, as the influential Gundogan makes way for Khedira. Still a little over 20 minutes to go, meaning plenty more goals could be on their way.
It is total domination from the Germans now, the difference being that, unlike in the first half, they are actually making the most of possession in the final third. Perez is having to make countless stops, with a sixth, seventh and eighth goal surely likely to follow at this rate.
Gibraltar lost their opening two games of the campaign 7-0, remember, so the task now has got to be to keep the scoreline below that level. No great shame in losing by this margin to Germany.
GOAL! GIBRALTAR 0-6 (SCHURRLE)
Hat-trick complete for Schurrle, and I make it a hat-trick of assists for the influential Ozil too. The Arsenal midfielder simply laid the ball off to his teammate to tap beyond Perez for his side's sixth. Too easy now for Low's charges.
There's still an open feel to the game; Coombes failing to make the most of a two-on-two counter just moments after Podolski had the ball taken from his feet in front of goal up the other end.
Schurrle's long-range strike is deflected heavily by Podolski, leaving Perez scrambling across goal. In the end it had enough on it to end narrowly wide of goal. Gibraltar desperately need full time.
GIBRALTAR SUB: Jamie Bossio, a huge Liverpool fan, comes on for the final 10 minutes. Kyle Casciaro is the player to make way, with many memories to cherish from this evening's first-half performance.
CHANCE! A real chance for Kruse to add to his earlier goal, but he blazes well over from around eight yards out. Germany have taken most of their chances in this second period, so you can't really criticise them for wasting the odd opening.
GOAL! GIBRALTAR 0-7 GERMANY (KRUSE)
Kruse spurned a glorious chance a few minutes ago, but there was no wasting this opening. The first-half substitute volleys home superbly to add a seventh of the evening, and the sixth in the last 37 minutes or so.
GIBRALTAR SUB: Student Jack Seargant is given a late cameo in place of Payas, as Gibraltar make their final change of the game.
Gibraltar lost 7-0 against Poland and the Republic of Ireland earlier this campaign, of course, so this is a familiar scoreline to them now. It could have been even worse, but Chipolina's deflection came back off the post to avoid an eighth.
Germany are still on top as we approach added time; Podolski doing well to work some space but failing to pick out a teammate inside the box. Can Gibraltar see out the next three minutes without conceding another?
YELLOW CARD! Lee Casciaro earns a late yellow for shooting at goal after the whistle had blown. It's the second time he's done that tonight, so no complaints really.
SAVE! Walker takes range with a fine curling strike towards to bottom corner, which Weidenfeller does well to get down and keep out. Good attempt.
FULL TIME: GIBRALTAR 0-7 GERMANY
Just the seven goals for Germany, then, but they would have no doubt taken that following an abject first-half display. It was incredibly still all to play for heading into the second half, but the world's top-ranked side turned on the style after the break to blow their lowly opponents away.
The win takes Germany up to second place in the Group D standings, one point behind leaders Poland in an extremely tight pool. Scotland are in third on 11 points, while things are looking a little bleak for the Republic of Ireland who are down in fourth on nine points.
Well that's all from me for this evening in terms of live text coverage, but there will be plenty of reaction to come from the Estadio Algarve through the night, as well as an in-depth match report, so be sure to stick with Sports Mole.