presented by
Taking the next step

Badstuber earns sixth cap, scores first goal

Doubtless due to weariness rather than politeness, the Azerbaijan defence kindly offered little resistance as Holger Badstuber rose unchallenged to head Germany into a 5-1 lead. It was almost as if Messrs Sadigov, Agdam and Co respectfully opted not to challenge the 1.89 metre Germany centre-back, who will seldom have enjoyed so much time and space in an opposing penalty area in all of his career so far.

For all the ease of execution, it was a significant goal for Badstuber, as it was his first for his country. The rising Bayern star earned only his sixth cap on Tuesday night. The 21-year-old Munich man was standing in for the injured Arne Friedrich - who in stark contrast required no fewer than 77 senior internationals before registering his first goal.

Goal and an assist for Holger

Badstuber contributed a goal and a superb assist to the home side’s 6-1 win, prompting coach Joachim Löw to sing his praises afterwards. “He made the most of the space he was offered and looked very good in attack,” the Germany boss declared. “I’ve never been in a game like that before, where I’ve played the ball so often and helped apply attacking pressure,” Badstuber confessed.

As he was generally not required to deal with the visitors’ limp attack, Badstuber instead delivered a string of intelligent passes to team-mates in forward positions. “If I’m given so much space, I have to take responsibility for initiating moves,” said the player, clearly more comfortable at centre-back than on the left side of defence. “I’ve always said I’m strongest in central defence. That's the right position for me.”