Hat-trick for Lewy, brace for Thomas
Thomas Müller played a big part in ensuring Germany posted a second win in two 2018 World Cup qualifiers so far with a brace on 13 and 65 minutes as the world champions beat the Czech Republic 3-0 in Hamburg on Saturday night. The 27-year-old also netted twice in his country's opening day victory away to Norway. The third goal for Joachim Löw's dominant side was scored by former FCB man Toni Kroos on 49 minutes from a Joshua Kimmich assist.
"We played very well," said Jérôme Boateng, praising his team's fluid passing. The centre-back made his first appearance for Germany since the EURO 2016 semi-finals and, like all five of his Bayern team-mates in Löw's line-up, covered the full 90 minutes. "We can be very pleased. We were completely in control throughout the match," the head coach observed.
The 51,239 crowd at the Volksparkstadion saw a commanding performance from start to finish by the World Cup holders in a display brsitling with invention and intent. The margin of victory could easily have been higher but Müller (25, 38, 62, 82), Kimmich (44, 83), Benedikt Höwedes (80, 90), Julian Draxler (23), Mario Götze (31), and Mesut Özil (58) were unable to convert a string of openings. By contrast, Manuel Neuer was only called into action once, saving a 63rd-minute Borek Dockal effort.
Germany share the lead in Group C with Azerbaidjan on six points, followed by Northern Ireland two points back. The team in third are Müller and Co's next opponents on Tuesday. "It'll be tough. They'll set out their stall and defend. We'll need to keep the pace high," commented Boateng.
Elsewhere, Poland recorded a first win in Group E thanks to Robert Lewandowski's hat-trick (20, 36 (pen), 47) in a 3-2 victory over Denmark in Warsaw. However, a Kamil Glik own goal in the 49th minute and a Yussuf Poulsen strike 20 minutes later made for a tense finish. National team captain Lewandowski played the full match as the Poles held on to claim their first three points in the qualifying campaign. Lewy and Co are third in the standings, level on 4 points with Montenegro and Romania.