Football: Serge Gnabry scores hat-trick as Germany romp to 8-goal win over San Marino

Germany's midfielder Serge Gnabry (right) runs with the ball during the World Cup 2018 qualifying football match between San Marino and Germany. PHOTO: AFP

SERRAVALLE (San Marino) (AFP) - Ex-Arsenal winger Serge Gnabry scored a hat-trick on his senior Germany debut in Friday's 8-0 World Cup victory at San Marino as coach Joachim Loew set a new record.

Gnabry, 21, who left the Gunners before the start of the season, is the first German to score a hat-trick on his debut since Dieter Mueller achieved the feat for West Germany in 1976.

"Of course, I didn't expect the hat-trick and I'm delighted to have helped the team," said Gnabry who joined Werder Bremen in August after a lack of chances at Arsenal. "The last few years have been hard for me, so it's nice to have had a few goals and I hope it keeps going well."

Cologne left-back Jonas Hector also netted twice after Germany's stand-in captain Sami Khedira opened the scoring.

Mattia Stefanelli scored a late own goal before substitute Kevin Volland netted Germany's eighth.

Germany maintain their perfect record of four wins to stay top of their 2018 World Cup qualifying group and five points clear of nearest rivals Northern Ireland.

After a decade in charge, this was Loew's 95th victory, in his 142nd international as coach, to better the 94 wins of legendary Sepp Herberger, who steered West Germany to the 1954 World Cup title.

"We wanted to score as many goals as possible and let them do the running. It worked out well," said Loew. "Gnabry has showed for Werder, and for us in training, that he's in good form."

Join ST's Telegram channel and get the latest breaking news delivered to you.