2018 World Cup Qualifier
Result: Germany 5-1 Azerbaijan
Date: 08 October 2017
Defending world champions Germany survived an early scare to end an unblemished World Cup qualifying campaign with a 5-1 win over Azerbaijan at the Fritz-Walter-Stadion on Sunday night.
In the eighth minute, Leon Goretzka back-heeled a Joshua Kimmich corner into the net and opened the scoring for Germany in style.
The hosts continued to dominate, although Azerbaijan did occasionally threaten on the counter. In the 31st minute, Germany came inches away from giving themselves some breathing space as Sandro Wagner hit the post off a rebound.
Three minutes later, Joachim Löw’s side were punished for failing to capitalise. Ramil Şeydayev evaded Antonio Rüdiger and Shkodran Mustafi with some fancy footwork and put the ball underneath Bernd Leno to level the scores.
In the 37th minute, Kamran Ağayev made a fine save to keep out a Thomas Müller header from a Matthias Ginter cross and prevent Germany from going back in front.
Riçard Almeyda de Oliveira picked up the first yellow card of the game in stoppage time at the end of the first half for bringing down Leroy Sané.
Straight afterwards, Sané wasted a golden chance to retake the lead as he got on the end of the free-kick inside the box, but put the ball wide of goal.
Consequently, the teams went into half-time tied at 1-1 — with Germany’s 100% record in World Cup qualifying under threat.
They came out guns blazing after the break, with Julian Brandt forcing a stop from Ağayev.
Germany were rewarded at last in the 54th minute as Brandt found Wagner and the Hoffenheim frontman headed the ball over the line. Video replays were needed to confirm the goal, but in the end, it was given.
Die Mannschaft hit Azerbaijan with wave after wave of pressure and doubled their lead in the 64th minute when Rüdiger’s touch from a Kimmich delivery went off Badavi Hüseynov and into Azerbaijan’s net. It was recorded as an own goal.
Within two minutes, the hosts were three up as Goretzka grabbed his second, capitalising on a lovely pass from Sané and finishing with his right foot.
Germany added yet another goal in the 81st minute as Emre Can found the back of the net with a stunning long-range strike.
Unwilling to go down without a fight, Azerbaijan went close in the 85th minute as Magomed Mirzabekov struck the woodwork from just inside the box. Sadly for Azerbaijan that shot just about summed up their night.
There may have been some anxious moments for Germany, but in the end, they claimed a comfortable win — their 10th in as many Group C qualifiers. Despite speculation surrounding Löw’s future, Die Mannschaft will head into the World Cup in a strong position.