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Scotland 2 Germany 3: Muller moves world champions to cusp of Euros

Thomas Muller struck a double as Germany moved to the brink of Euro 2016 qualification with a 3-2 Group D victory that left Scotland’s hopes in tatters on Monday.

The Bayern Munich forward netted a brace before turning provider for Ilkay Gundogan to settle the contest after the world champions, who remain four points ahead of the Republic of Ireland with just two games remaining, were twice pegged back.

Germany’s position of relative comfort is in complete contrast to the reality facing Scotland, who sit four points behind an Ireland side occupying the sole play-off place.

Joachim Low’s men headed into the fixture at Hampden Park knowing a victory, coupled with Ireland losing to Georgia, would secure their place in France.

A 1-0 loss for Georgia in Dublin meant that was never an option, although Germany will have been relieved to just leave Glasgow with the points following a spirited Scotland display.

The hosts twice recovered from going behind in the opening period as a Mats Hummels own goal and neat James McArthur finish cancelled out Muller’s pair. But their resolve was finally broken in the second half, with Gundogan’s smart finish proving decisive. 

Germany unsurprisingly started on the front foot, although chances were few and far between in the early stages as a disciplined Scotland held their shape impressively.

The visitors maintained their patience, though, and took the lead with their first real attempt in the 17th minute.

Muller drove at the defence and unleashed a left-footed strike that took a wicked deflection off Russell Martin to wrong-foot David Marshall and fly into the corner.

That piece of bad luck was forgotten 10 minutes later, however, as Scotland levelled.

After Charlie Mulgrew was hauled over, Shaun Maloney whipped in a fizzing free-kick that Manuel Neuer could only push into Hummels – with the ball hitting the defender’s chest and rolling into the net.

Yet Germany responded with stunning ease as Muller grabbed his second.

Mario Gotze switched play to an open Emre Can and, after the Liverpool midfielder’s powerful strike was stopped by Marshall, Muller showed great reflexes to nod in off the inside of the post.

Germany settled back into a comfortable passing rhythm, only for Scotland to again find a riposte.

McArthur was the scorer of a superb equaliser, sending a side-footed 18-yard half-volley beyond Neuer after Germany failed to clear Maloney’s corner.

Germany wasted little time restoring their advantage after the interval as Gundogan found the net in the 53rd minute.

The Borussia Dortmund midfielder played a fine one-two with the outstanding Muller and slid in off the inside of the post.

They continued to dominate possession, although Scotland offered a reminder of their threat when Alan Hutton narrowly missed the target after a good move.

Gotze had the last chance to grab another goal, although him volleying just over from close range mattered little as Germany saw the game out.

Mon 7 Sep, 2015
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