Müller keeps Germans on course
Thomas Müller ensured Germany took a giant stride towards a place at the Euro 2016 finals in France with a brace and an assist in a 3-2 win away to Scotland on Monday night. Joachim Löw's men now have 19 points at the top of Group D, ahead of Poland on 17 and Ireland on 15. A draw away to the Irish in the next qualifier in October would seal the World Cup holders' place in France next summer.
"It was a lot of work," Manuel Neuer commented after the match in Glasgow, "we're naturally angry about conceding two goals, but we've still played well and need to keep it up." Müller was equally pleased: "There weren't many phases where we allowed it to become untidy. We moved the ball well." The striker was also satisfied with his own performance: "I've put them on target well in recent matches. It's obviously great when the passes fall nicely for me and I also made good decisions."
In front of a typically boisterous crowd at Hampden Park, the Germans started with all four of their Bayern men and also included a quartet of former Reds in their line-up. The world champions dominated possession for the full 90 minutes, but found chances hard to come by against the committed and determined home team. Müller opened the scoring after 18 minutes with a deflected left-footed shot but it was the visitors' first real opening of note.
The lead was cancelled out when Mats Hummels unluckily put through his own goal on 28 minutes, deflecting a Neuer parry over the line with his chest, but Müller restored the lead six minutes later from a header. The Scots levelled again two minutes before the interval when James McArthur wrong-footed Neuer from a corner to make it 2-2.
Germany showed controlled aggression after the break and regained the lead nine minutes after the restart when Müller squared for Ilkay Gündogan to score from 12 yards. Scotland battled away through to the final whistle but Boateng and Co stood firm in defence and sealed the crucial win.
*Germany: Neuer - Can, Boateng, Hummels, Hector - Schweinsteiger, Kroos - Müller, Gündogan, Özil (Kramer 90+2)- Götze (Schürrle 86)*
Brace for Robert
Robert Lewandowski and Poland are also well on course for a place in France, as the FCB striker and his team-mates ran up a routine 8-1 victory at home to minnows Gibraltar in the parallel Group D fixture.
The Warsaw crowd saw Lewandowski captain his country and also score after 18 and 29 minutes. The other goals fell to Kamil Grosicki (8, 15), Arkadiusz Milik (56, 72), Jakub Blaszczykowski (59, pen) and Bartosz Kapustka (73). Gibraltar's consolation effort, only their second goal in the qualifying competition so far, was put away by Jake Gosling three minutes from the end. Lewandowski was substituted after 66 minutes.