Ferrán Torres scored a hat-trick as sensational Spain turned on the style to reach the Nations League finals and deny Germany a place in the final four.
Match in brief
For 16 first-half minutes, the visitors were on course for the draw they needed to reach the finals on the night that Manuel Neuer broke the appearances record for a Germany goalkeeper.
Reaching that landmark would be the only solace Neuer could take. Álvaro Morata opening the scoring with a powerful header from a corner before Torres half-volleyed his first and Rodri put Spain 3-0 up.
Any hopes Joachim Löw's side had of a comeback were all but ended when Torres completed a slick counterattack ten minutes into the second half before firing a clinical fifth. Mikel Oyarzabal added a close-range sixth.
Graham Hunter, Spain reporter
First of all, this could have been a victory of a much wider, perhaps record, margin. Spain were that good. Secondly, this qualifies La Roja for the one senior knockout tournament they’ve yet to win – the UEFA Nations League. That’s big. But the performance was molten gold. The hosts knew what nerveless, error-free football was about and beyond sealing the deal with that vital fourth goal they played with panache, brio and were fantasticaly entertaining.
Steffen Potter, Germany reporter
I can't help feeling that another tactical approach might have been better for Germany. When they hosted Spain in Stuttgart in September, they attacked La Roja all over the pitch. It was far from perfect and left gaps for Luis Enrique's team to exploit, but that was the case for both sides, as Spain also attacked high and Löw's men had chances. In Stuttgart, Germany had seven shots on goal to Spain's five. Tonight, the count was vastly in Spain's favour, ditto the final result. So a more risky approach might have paid dividends. I don't think it could have ended worse.
Luis Enrique, Spain coach: "These are the kind of football nights which, sadly, come along very rarely – one when everything comes off. The players started totally switched on, 'on it' from the first minute, and doing all the right things. When a team like this has quality and attitude, this is what can be achieved."
Joachim Löw, Germany coach: "It was a really bad day for us. Nothing worked out. Neither attack, nor defence worked well for us. After conceding the first goal, we gave up our ideas, ran around aimlessly, had no organisation and left open spaces. That was deadly tonight."
Ferrán Torres, Spain forward: "I guess every player dreams of scoring a hat-trick for his country. So to do it in a match of this importance and help the team ... well, I'm extremely happy. We hustled them out of the contest entirely."
Serge Gnabry, Germany attacker: "We tried everything – you could see that we tried different shapes, different attacking styles. But Spain just played incredibly. It’s a devastating feeling. I think you can see it in my face, in my voice – I am very angry, very upset with today."
Álvaro Morata, Spain striker: "This has been our best match under Luis Enrique. We'll need to get a video of it and watch it again to see just how well we've played. Obviously, all of us would like to play at this level every game. Nobody can offer a 'but' about this win."
• This is Germany's record margin of defeat in a competitive game.
• Spain have only lost one of their last 19 games (W12), winning their last nine home matches while conceding only one goal.
• La Roja have scored in 46 of their last 48 matches and notched at least three goals in 13 of their last 16 competitive home matches.
• There have been 76 goals in Spain's last 23 matches.
• Germany have only won two of their ten games in the UEFA Nations League (D5 L3).
• Löw's side have conceded at least two goals in five of their last nine UEFA Nations League matches.
Spain: Unai Simón; Sergi Roberto, Ramos (E García 43), Pau Torres, Gayà; Rodri, Canales (Fabián Ruiz 12); Olmo (Gerard Moreno 73), Koke, Ferrán Torres, (Asensio 73); Morata (Oyarzabal 73)
Germany: Neuer; Ginter, Süle (Tah 46), Koch, Max; Goretzka (Neuhaus 61), Gündogan, Kroos; Sané (Waldschmidt 61), Gnabry, Werner (Henrichs 76)
The UEFA Nations League final tournament takes place from 6–10 October 2021. Teams will return to competitive action in spring 2021 in the European Qualifiers for the 2022 FIFA World Cup.