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Back of the net for Müller and Götze

Thomas Müller and Mario Götze helped guide Germany to a regulation 4-0 win against Gibraltar. Müller scored the first two goals (12, 29) in front of 44,308 fans in Nuremberg on Friday night. Götze bagged the third with seven minutes to play in the first half. The fourth and final strike of the night came from a Gibraltar player when Yogan Santos turned the ball into his own net on 67 minutes. Germany now have seven points in Group D, as do Ireland and Scotland with the latter beating the team from the Emerald Isle 1-0 last night. Poland are top on ten points retaining the three-point lead over their pursuers.

“We should have scored more goals and showed greater urgency in the second half,” said Götze after the game. “It’s always difficult when the opposition park the bus,” declared skipper Manuel Neuer. Germany coach Joachim Löw was “less than satisfied. We wanted to play like World Cup winners and four goals just isn’t good enough.”

All four FCB players in the squad were in the starting line-up: Neuer in goal, Jérôme Boateng bossing the defence as he earned his 50th cap, Götze in midfield and Müller up front. The Bayern quartet played the full 90 minutes. Löw announced before the match that he was going to play an attacking game and Germany began in a 3-5-2 formation.

As expected, there was one-way traffic in Nuremberg. Germany caused problems for the rock-like Gibraltar defence in the first half with a lively, high tempo approach. Müller took his goals tally for Germany up to 26, with Karim Bellarabi and Lukas Podolski providing the crosses for his double. Götze played a one-two with Max Kruse to net a deserved third goal.

Gibraltar rarely ventured out of their own half. The only time Neuer was troubled came on 44 minutes when he saved a lob from Liam Walker. Löw’s men dominated proceedings even more after the break but were almost exclusively limited to long-range efforts. The scoreboard only changed once when Santos scored the own goal.

Lewandowski shines for Poland

Poland, captained by Robert Lewandowski, cemented their position at the top of Group D before Germany kicked off in Nuremberg. The Bialo-Czerwoni clocked up a convincing 4-0 win away to next-to-bottom Georgia. Kamil Glik (51), Grzegorz Krychowiak (71), Sebastian Mila (73) and Arkadiusz Milik (92) converted the Polish superiority into goals in the second half. Lewandowski completed the full 90 minutes in Tbilisi with another impressive performance for his country. The Georgia goalkeeper kept out a scissors-kick from the Bayern front man on 50 minutes before Robert had a goal chalked off for offside just after the hour mark.

Hojbjerg on the bench

Pierre-Emile Hojbjerg looked on from the bench as Denmark registered a 3-1 win away to Serbia in Group I. Nicklas Bendtner (60, 85) and Simon Kjaer (62) turned the game round in Belgrade after Zoran Tosic gave Serbia an early lead on four minutes. The deserved victory keeps the Danes top of the group on seven points ahead of Portugal on six.

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