Giovanni Trapattoni's reign as Republic of Ireland boss hurtled into crisis as his side was trounced 6-1 by ruthless Germany.
Ireland were simply overpowered by the team ranked second in the world with Marco Reus firing them into a 2-0 half-time lead before Mesut Ozil, Miroslav Klose and a double from substitute Toni Kroos completed the rout.
There was delighted applause from a capacity crowd when substitute Andy Keogh headed home in injury time, but the consolation was minimal.
The game started relatively positively for the Republic when lone striker Jon Walters laid off Keiren Westwood's clearance to Keith Andrews and he dragged his shot from distance wide. But that proved to be a rarity as the Germans eased into their stride and started to dictate the play.
With Ozil and Thomas Muller buzzing around behind frontman Klose and Reus threatening down the left, their movement was simply too much for Ireland. They soaked up the early pressure and in truth, Westwood had little to do, watching Stephen Ward slice a seventh-minute Muller cross over his own bar and Darren O'Dea block Klose's shot on the turn 11 minutes later.
Reus was booked for diving inside the Ireland penalty area on the half-hour but he did not have to wait long to erase his disappointment. Bastian Schweinsteiger played the ball over the top to full-back Marcel Schmelzer, and he cut inside to set up Reus, whose right-footed shot went in off the underside of the crossbar.
Their task became almost impossible eight minutes later as full-back Jerome Boateng's crossfield pass arrived perfectly for Reus to smash a left-footed drive across Westwood and into the bottom corner. Any hope of an unlikely fightback died in a disastrous start to the second half which saw Germany cruelly turn the screw.
Cox and Walters had both gone close to reducing the deficit in an early flurry, but order was soon restored when, after O'Dea had crudely felled Klose inside the penalty area, Ozil sent Westwood the wrong way from the spot with 55 minutes gone.
If the Sunderland goalkeeper had been under-employed for much of the first half, he was chronically exposed after the break and conceded for a fourth time within three minutes when Klose ran on to Schweinsteiger's tailor-made pass and rounded him before slotting into an empty net.
The Republic had capitulated in horrific fashion, and did so once again three minutes later when O'Shea's weak clearance fell perfectly for Kroos to help himself with a skidding shot inside the post. Kroos deepened the wounds with seven minutes remaining, drilling home from 22 yards with the Republic in disarray and Trapattoni facing a grilling.