Monday, July 16, 2018

Prolific Klose´s double sinks Azerbaijan

Germany striker Miroslav Klose took his tally to 55 international goals with a double in the 6-1 rout of Azerbaijan to fire his side to the top of their Euro 2012 qualification group.

Before the game, Klose received a special presentation for winning his 100th cap during the World Cup and he capped his 103rd appearance with two goals to leave him as joint second Germany goal-scorer of all time.

His goals in injury time at the end of both halves takes him alongside Joachim Streich, but 12 behind Germany’s all-time record scorer Gerd Mueller.

Klose urged Germany’s young stars like Mesut Ozil and Thomas Mueller to raise their game after low-key performances on the back of their break-through at the World Cup.

“There was room for improvement, our conditioning let us down,” said perfectionist Klose.

“We kept our shape tactically, but we have many young players and they need to make the next step up now and reach the next level.”

After Germany opened their Euro 2012 qualifying campaign with a 1-0 win over Belgium in Brussels last Friday, the win gives Joachim Loew’s side six points from their first two games.

Cologne striker Lukas Podolski answered his critics in front of his home crowd as he scored a well-timed goal and then set up Klose at the end of the first-half.

After Heiko Westermann grabbed the first, Podolski and Klose struck before Azerbaijan captain Rashad Sadygov scored an own goal and with time almost up, defender Holger Badstuber scored his first goal, before Klose’s late second.

Azerbaijan coach Bertie Vogts said the result was acceptable.

“The result is ok, but we gave away some stupid late goals,” said the former German national coach.

“But Germany play at a different level to us.”

Germany are top of Group A, but Turkey also have a 100 percent record after two games as they beat Belgium 3-2 earlier in Istanbul with Germany set to face Turkey in Berlin on October 8.

The game got off to a bruising start when Germany centre-back Per Mertesacker took an elbow in the face, leaving him with a bloody face, and he was replaced by Westermann after ten minutes.

With Germany attacking in waves it was only a matter of time before the home side got the break through they were pushing for and it came on 28 minutes when Westermann tapped in.

Azerbaijan striker Vugar Nadyrov tested Germany goalkeeper Manuel Neuer on 36 minutes with a long-range shot, but as the visitors started tiring Germany extended their lead with two goals in added time at the end of the first-half.

Podolski scored after taking a return pass from Real Madrid’s Mesut Ozil and driving his shot past goalkeeper Kamran Agayev on 46 minutes.

And Podolski turned goal provider when he took a pass from centre-back Badstuber and squared the ball for Klose to tap the ball home past Nadyrov to make it 3-0 at the break.

Things got worse for Azerbaijan when Sadygov turned the ball into his own net on 53 minutes, but the visitors pulled a goal back when Neuer made a rare mistake.

Striker Vagif Dzavadov curled in a corner and Neuer allowed the ball to bounce off his chest into the back of the net on 57 minutes.

Badstuber took advantage of some sloppy defending to score after 86 minutes before some deft footwork from replacement Cacau allowed Klose a simple tap-in from close range to seal the win.


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