Here is my real-time blog for the game against Azerbaijan, shown live on ESPN as part of their commitment to German football. The game started slowly – and perhaps rather ominously with the substitution of Per Mertesacker – but soon turned into something of a goalfest with Miro Klose scoring two of Germany’s half-dozen goals, taking his personal tally up to fifty-five.
1. Azerbaijan kick off playing right to left. Sascha Riether starts his first competitive match in place of the injured Marcell Jansen and ahead of Heiko Westermann.
3. Phillipp Lahm’s attempt to place a defence-slicing ball is just about cut out by the Azeris.
4. Ditto from Thomas Müller. Germany are looking sharp in the midfield in the opening five minutes.
5. Lahm floats a ball into the box which is picked up easily enough by Azeri ‘keeper Agayev.
6. Good play by Sami Khedira who plays a nice run through the Azerbaijani defence. The ball ends up with the keeper as Khedira is taken down by the defender – unseen by the referee.
7. Holger Badstuber launches into a long-range drive which flies over the bar. Per Mertesacker gets an arm in the face from Javadov which has drawn blood – Merte has to go off for treatment, and the Azeris are lucky that the Swedish referee Markus Strömbergsson has left his spectacles on his Ikea bedside cabinet.
10. As Germany are down to ten men with Mertesacker off he pitch, Javadov – who perhaps should not even be still on it – makes a run down the left. Manuel Neuer collects.
11. Lahm makes a run down the left, offside. Heiko Westermann comes on for the injured Mertesacker. The game appears to have slowed down a little bit after what had been an exciting start.
14. Nice interplay between Mesut Özil and Badstuber; Khedira launches a shot but is fouled.
15. Bastian Schweinsteiger takes the free-kick, which is deflected for a corner on the right. Özil takes the corner which is met at the far post by Westermann, who reaches for the ball but sees his effort go over the bar.
17. Riether is looking sharp down the right, and wins a corner. Oddly, the Shiri sees a nothing push on Azayev and blows up for a free-kick to Azerbaijan.
19. Neat ball from Westermann which finds Klose, who is chopped down just outside the area.
20. Özil taps the ball for Lukas Podolski whose left-footed shot is neatly collected by Agayev.
21. The busy Müller is put through on the left, but his cross is too deep and wide and is collected by Agayev.
22. Riether again makes space down the right, but his cross to too close to Agayev who collects.
23. Left along by the Azeri defenders, Podolski makes a charging run down the middle of the park, and takes a shot at goal which flies just over the bar – courtesy of a deflection that is again not seen by the Swedish Mr Magoo.
25. Great play again down the right, and Müller’s cutback is leathered by Podolski whose shot is neatly tipped over by Agayev; from the corner, Westermann’s on-target effort is brilliantly parried by the Azeri ‘keeper who is keeping his side in the game.
27. A goal looks inevitable – and finally it comes. Poldi charges again down the right and wins a corner. The Eckball is taken short and finds Miro Klose, whose neat horizontal ball finds Heiko Westermann who seems to be everywhere at the moment. His first shot is parried by Agayev, but he gets a second bite and takes a second to settle himself before hitting the roof of the net. 1-0 Deutschland.
31. Badstuber tries to find Özil with a long punt forward but there is too much weight on the pass.
33. Schweinsteiger finds Riether down the right, whose firm cross is almost flicked at the near post in by Klose – the defender just gets there to put it behind for a corner. Nothing comes of it though.
35. Poldi charges down the left and finds Klose who appears to be brought down, but Magoo waves play on. Meanwhile, Nadyrov gets his side’s first shot on target from long range, which is comfortably dealt with by Manuel Neuer.
37. After some good interplay with Klose on the right, Riether wins a free-kick. Özil’s free kick causes chaos in the box and the ball eventually runs off for a German throw on the left.
39. Thomas Müller beats his man beautifully on the left and shows great skill get a cross in, but the ball is unfortunately just a little too far away from Mesut Özil.
40. The passes are starting to click now. Poldi makes space again and his neat pass finds Özil, who tries to find Klose with a short pass when he could have had a shot at goal.
43. Badstuber overcooks his long ball again in trying to find Klose down the right.
45. More patient built up, and the Mannschaft are two to the good. Lukas Podolski makes space down the centre and finds Özil, who times a superb return ball for the 1. FC Köln man who strokes a superb left-foot shot off the inside of the post. 2-0.
45+. Before the referee can blow for half-time, there’s time for another goal. Badstuber plays a lovely ball through the Azeri defence to find Poldi in space, who neatly taps the ball into the path of Miroslav Klose who can’t miss. It’s number fifty-four for Miro – drei zu null, and the floodgates are truly wide open. 3-0.
45+. Mr. Strömbergsson blows for half-time. Heiko Westermann has looked good since coming on, and Lukas Podolski has responded to critics in the best possible manner by scoring his 41st goal for Germany and teeing up Klose’s 54th.
46. Germany start the second half.
47. Mesut Özil has picked up the tempo from the first half, breaking into the box and picking out skipper Phillipp Lahm, who turns and shoots on target, Unfortunately he cannot enough strength on the shot which is collected by Azayev.
48. It’s the last minute in the other Group A game in Istanbul, with potential group rivals Turkey leading Belgium 3-2.
49. More silky skill from Özil whose pass again finds Lahm at the edge of the box. His right-footed shot flies well wide.
51. More lovely one-touch stuff sees Schweinsteiger’s lovely through ball flicked into the path of Thomas Müller by Klose, who is looking like the 2002 vintage again. Müller hits his shot wide when he perhaps should have done better.
53. Not to worry. Sami Khedira finds space down the right, and his cross intended for Klose is turned into his own net by Azeri skipper Sadygov. 4-0.
56. The Azeris find a bit of space and Nadyrov gets a shot in from nowhere. Neuer has to suddenly wake up from his slumber and turn the ball around the post for a corner. Huseynov come on for Yunisoglu as Vogts makes his first substitution.
57. Azerbaijan have scored in bizarre fashion. Javadov swings in the corner, and Neuer flaps at the the ball which squirts straight through his hands and into the net. It’s an awful gaffe, and one can only assume that it is all down to his having nothing to do for the best part of an hour. 4-1.
61. Badstuber’s through ball finds Klose, whose shot is wide. No matter, it’s called offside anyway.
62. Werder Bremen’s Marko Marin enters the fray, replacing the slightly disappointing Müller.
64. More neat one-touch stuff from the Mannschaft, and Marko Marin shoots high and wide with his left. It’s the second change for the Azeris, as R. A. Sadygov comes on for Chertoganov.
67. Podolski again finds room down the left, but his cross from the left cannot find a finisher. It’s all gone a little quiet here in Köln – we need a fifth.
70. It’s like a pinball game again in the Azerbaijan box, and Magoo misses a blatant defensive handball from Klose’s shot.
72. Sami Khedira’s neat touch finds his Real Madrid teammate Mesut Özil, who jinks past two men and skips a third to play in a sharp cross. Marko Marin can’t finish the move.
73. Lukas Podolski finds space again, but it’s on his wrong foot. He shoots just wide of the mark – that should really have been his second and Germany’s fifth.
74. Sascha Riether again makes room on the right, but his firm cross is too close to the goalkeeper and ends up in the hands of Azayev.
78. Bastian Schweinsteiger makes way for Cacau, making his fourteenth appearance in the Schwarz und Weiß. In the other game in the group, Austria have scored what appears to be two very, very late goals at home to Kazakhstan.
82. Germany appear to be winding things down here, as Azerbaijan are finally getting some time on the ball.
84. Marin suddenly turns on the pace and skips past his marker to set up Cacau, whose shot is directed straight at Azayev.
85. Marin and Riether play a neat one-two at pace down the right, and win a corner. Özil swings it in, and Holger Badstuber takes advantage of being in acres of space to bury a header to Azayev’s right for his first international goal. 5-1. Meanwhile, Azerbaijan have made their third substitution as Abdullayev replaces Nadyrov.
86. Manuel Neuer responds a little better to wake-up call number two, as he collects a hopeful Azeri long ball at the edge of the area.
88. Marko Marin is playing all the tricks now, but still cannot find the killer ball. Cacau shoots straight at the keeper again.
90+. Poldi makes another charging run down the right, and his cross finds Cacau with his back towards goal. The Stuttgart man – either through luck or that curious thing called Brazilian-engineered design – finds Miro Klose who buries his second of the evening and 55th international goal. That makes it a neat round half-dozen – 6-1.
90+. The final whistle is blown, and Germany hit the top of the group table with the full six points from their first two games.
v Azerbaijan, RheinEnergieStadion, Köln, 07.09.2010
Westermann 28., Podolski 45.+1., Klose 45.+2., 90.+2., R. Sadygov og 53., Badstuber 86. / Javadov 57.
Team: Neuer – Riether, Mertesacker (11. Westermann , Badstuber, Lahm – Schweinsteiger (78. Cacau), Khedira – Müller (62. Marin), Özil, Podolski – Klose
Referee: Markus Strömbergsson (Sweden)
Assistants: Stefan Wittberg, Fredrik Nilsson (Sweden)
Fourth Official: Daniel Stålhamma (Sweden)
Yellow Cards: – / –
Red Cards: – / –
Attempts on Target: 13 / 2
Attempts off Target: 12 / 3
Corners: 8 / 2
Fouls Committed: 4 / 7