Germany made it ten wins from a possible ten Group C outings as they capped a perfect 2018 FIFA World Cup qualifying campaign with a 5-1 victory over Azerbaijan in Kaiserslautern on Sunday evening.
Germany 5-1 Azerbaijan
Goals: 1-0 Goretzka (8'), 1-1 Sheydaev (34'), 2-1 Wagner (54'), 3-1 Rüdiger (64'), 4-1 Goretzka (66'), 5-1 Can (81')
Joachim Löw’s charges had already qualified for next summer’s tournament, but that didn’t stop them racing out of the blocks in Kaiserslautern. A cheeky flicked finish from Schalke’s Leon Goretzka got them off to the perfect start, and though Azerbaijan equalised against the run of play through Ramil Shaydaev, Sandro Wagner put Germany back in front after the restart.
Thereafter it was a question of how many the home side would score. Antonio Rüdiger netted with a deflected header, Goretzka notched a second after good work from Leroy Sane and Emre Can added a final flourish with a special strike from distance. The victory set the seal on a perfect, record-breaking qualification for Germany and will ensure they await the World Cup group stage draw on Friday 1 December with well-placed confidence.
Man of the match
Practically every player impressed for Germany, but for his two goals and another typically all-action display, Leon Goretzka gets the nod.
Germany: Leno - Can, Süle (Rüdiger 22'), Mustafi (Ginter 36') - Brandt, Goretzka, Kimmich - Sane, Stindl, Müller (c) (Younes 70') - Wagner
Coach: Joachim Löw
Azerbaijan: Agayev - Mirzabekov, Hüseynov (Nazarov 69'), Abisov Khalilzade - Garayev - Ismaylov (Qurbanov 77'), Amirguliyev, Richard, Hüseynov - Sheydaev (Aleskerov 87')
Coach: Robert Prosinecki
- Germany won all ten qualifying games, only the second time (after Spain in 2010) that a country has achieved that en route to a World Cup.
- Germany had 21 different goalscorers this qualifying campaign; more than any other nation.
- Die Mannschaft have won all six of their meetings with Azerbaijan.
- Azerbaijan coach Robert Prosinecki was born in Germany but later moved to Croatia with his family.
- Germany scored a total of 43 goals, breaking the record for the most goals scored in a tournament qualification campaign set by Spain ahead of UEFA EURO 2000.