Seven from seven...

Good evening from the Franconian city of Würzburg (OK, this was written the day after the event), where I have just seen the Nationalmannschaft round off the 2010-2011 season with a solid if unspectacular win against a game yet ineffective Azerbaijan in Baku.

After desperately seeking a place to watch the match live – unlike here in England live football isn’t shown in every street corner Bierkeller and Kniepe – we managed to find a small place, the Pinocchio Sportsbar on Bahnhofstraße. They had set up a television outside, and we arrived just in time to see Jogi Löw’s side – playing in their change strip of black shirts and white shorts – take the lead with a well taken left-footed strike from Mesut Özil which pinged in off the far post.

Pinocchio Sportsbar, Würzburg
Pinocchio Sportsbar, Würzburg

I had hardly taken a sip of my chilled Würzburger Hofbräu Weizen when the form man Mario Gómez doubled the lead four minutes before half-time. That man Özil was again involved, picking up a lovely through ball from Holger Badstuber before laying it neatly into the path of Gómez who stroked in his third goal in two games.

Like the game against Austria four days earlier, the German side that emerged at the start of the second half looked lethargic and lacking in ambition – it was as if they felt that the two goals were enough and it was simply a matter of winding things down for the remaining forty-five minutes. With two minutes to go, the German defence suffered something of a blackout, as did we as the TV suddenly lost its reception. When normality was restored the scoreline read 2-1, with the Azeris getting back into the game courtesy of a series of botched German clearances and a sharp close-range finish from Murat Huseynov.

The goal seemed to prod Germany into upping their game, and a perhaps flattering gloss was applied in injury time when sub André Schürrle blasted the ball into the net from ten yards after Azerbaijan ‘keeper Agayev had done well to beat away a Gómez shot.

When the final whistle blew at 3-1, Germany had seven wins from seven games – and one foot in next year’s finals.

v Azerbaijan, Tofik Bakhramov Stadium, Baku, 07.06.2011

3-1 (2-0)
Özil 30., Gómez 41., Schürrle 90.+3. / Huseynov 89.

Team: Neuer – Höwedes, Badstuber, Hummels, Aogo – Lahm, Kroos – Th. Müller (88. Holtby), Özil (81. Götze), Podolski (76. Schürrle) – Gómez

Referee: Michael Koukoulakis (Greece)
Assistants: Leonidas Vasileiadis, Christos Baltas (Greece)
Fourth Official: Vassilios Pamporidis (Greece)

Yellow Cards: Höwedes / Nadirov
Red Cards: – / –

Attempts on Target: 7 / 6
Attempts off Target: 7 / 6
Corners: 5 / 2
Fouls Committed: 6 / 9

Attendance: 30,000

Seven from seven…
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