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Grealish shows quality as Germans see off King's men

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Amin Younes (C) of Germany vies with Jack Grealish (L) and Jack Byrne (R) during the Under 21 Qualifier between Germany and The Republic of Ireland. Photo credit: Ronny Hartmann/Bongarts/Getty Images

Amin Younes (C) of Germany vies with Jack Grealish (L) and Jack Byrne (R) during the Under 21 Qualifier between Germany and The Republic of Ireland. Photo credit: Ronny Hartmann/Bongarts/Getty Images

Bongarts/Getty Images

Jack Connors, left, and Shane Griffin, right, close down Germany's Julian Korb. Photo credit: Ronny Hartmann/Bongarts/Getty Images

Jack Connors, left, and Shane Griffin, right, close down Germany's Julian Korb. Photo credit: Ronny Hartmann/Bongarts/Getty Images

Bongarts/Getty Images

Goal scorer Philipp Hofmann is challenged by Ireland's Mason Watkins during the Under 21 Qualifier between Germany U21 and The Republic of Ireland U21 at Erdgas Sportpark in Halle, Germany. Photo credit: Ronny Hartmann/Bongarts/Getty Images

Goal scorer Philipp Hofmann is challenged by Ireland's Mason Watkins during the Under 21 Qualifier between Germany U21 and The Republic of Ireland U21 at Erdgas Sportpark in Halle, Germany. Photo credit: Ronny Hartmann/Bongarts/Getty Images

Bongarts/Getty Images

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Amin Younes (C) of Germany vies with Jack Grealish (L) and Jack Byrne (R) during the Under 21 Qualifier between Germany and The Republic of Ireland. Photo credit: Ronny Hartmann/Bongarts/Getty Images

Germany's fans were treated to the Hofmann show in Halle last night as Irish supporters watching back home on television got a glimpse of a possible star of the future in the form of Jack Grealish.

Two quick-fire goals in the opening five minutes of the second half from unrelated players Philipp and Jonas Hofmann confirmed Germany's passage into a play-off for a place in next year's UEFA U-21 Championship finals.

While the Germans contemplate the prospect parading their next generation on the highest stage, Ireland were left to reflect on the fact that displays like this make Grealish even more attractive to Roy Hodgson and his English FA.

In a period of respite to the German siege, the change of pace and cleverness of the Aston Villa winger created two of the better chances in the opening half.

Just like the Hull City players last weekend, Germany resorted to foul play in a bid to shackle the Birmingham-born playmaker.

When the mercurial Grealish won a free on the left after 23 minutes, the delivery from Jack Byrne was met by Conor Wilkinson's header but not with sufficient power to trouble Timo Horn in the German goal.

He was also central to Ireland's next opening just past the half-hour when he slalomed past two defenders before teeing up Jack Connors. His effort from ten yards was blocked by Horn and Grealish couldn't wrap his foot around the rebound to keep it on target.

That was the closest Ireland came to causing a shock as the Germans improved their cutting edge after the restart thanks largely to the introduction of Jonas Hofmann, the Borussia Dortmund winger.

"The players could easily have collapsed after conceding twice early in the second half but they showed great character," was manager Noel King's post-match assessment.

"It must be taken into context that Germany are not just the World champions at senior level but also regular winners of European titles at all levels beneath. Our lads will learn plenty from this as they've nothing to be ashamed of."

Irish Independent