Frankfurt am Main - Germany got their qualification campaign for UEFA Euro 2016 back on track on Friday, with a clutch of FC Bayern München players impressing at Frankfurt's Commerzbank Arena.
In perhaps their most important match since they lifted a fourth FIFA World Cup last summer, it was fitting that Bayern's Mario Götze, the match-winner in the World Cup final, was the man to inspire the world champions to a 3-1 victory against Poland in Group D.
Götze at his best
Having enjoyed a somewhat inauspicious start to the season - the likes of Thomas Müller and Douglas Costa have hogged the headlines in the Bavarians' first three matches of the season - this was Götze’s opportunity to once more underline his value to club and country, and it was one he seized with both hands.
The 23-year-old looked in his element for die Nationalmannschaft, scoring in either half to help his team to three valuable points that took Germany into top spot, above Poland, with three matches to play. “We absolutely wanted to be top,” said a most satisfied Götze, before adding with a grin, “I’ve had worse days.”
Neuer excels, Lewandowski disappointed
Götze was not the only Bayern player to stand out at the Commerzbank Arena, however. The aforementioned Müller was also on target against the Poles, bagging his 28th goal in his 64th international appearance. At the other end of the pitch, Manuel Neuer also distinguished himself with an array of superb stops to deny team-mate Robert Lewandowski.
Lewandowski had earlier reduced Poland’s arrears with a well-taken headed goal, and the 26-year-old was left frustrated to finish the game with nothing to show for his efforts. “We knew they’d really be up for it and they were the better team, but with a bit more luck I think we could have snuck a 2-2 draw. We had some good chances.”
Joachim Löw’s men continue their bid to reach the Euros in France next summer when they take on Scotland in Glasgow on Monday (kick-off 20:45 CEST), with Poland hosting Gibraltar at the same time.