Football: Mueller carries Germany to brink of Euro qualification

Germany's Thomas Mueller (centre) scores during the Euro 2016 group D qualifying match between Scotland and Germany on Sept 7, 2015.
Germany's Thomas Mueller (centre) scores during the Euro 2016 group D qualifying match between Scotland and Germany on Sept 7, 2015. PHOTO: EPA

GLASGOW (REUTERS) - Thomas Mueller scored twice and set up another goal as Germany beat Scotland 3-2 on Monday to move to the brink of qualifying for Euro 2016 after all but securing a top-two finish in Group D with two games left.

The Germans have 19 points while Poland, who crushed Gibraltar 8-1, are on 17. Ireland, who beat Georgia 1-0 and next face Joachim Loew's team in October, are third with 15.

The 25-year-old Mueller struck in the 18th minute with a deflected effort and added another with a close-range header after Scotland had levelled with a Mats Hummels own goal.

The home team came back once more before halftime with a shot from James McArthur but Mueller rode to the rescue again, cutting the ball back for Ilkay Guendogan to fire the winner in off the post in the 54th minute.

Facing two defensive four-man lines, Germany initially struggled to create chances and needed a lucky goal from their first real opportunity as Mueller's seemingly harmless low drive from the edge of the box wrong-footed keeper David Marshall.

Scotland also had some good fortune when keeper Manuel Neuer saved a curling Shaun Maloney free kick but Hummels chested the rebound into his own net.

Mueller nodded in another rebound after Marshall had denied Emre Can before McArthur's shot just before the break drew the Scots level again as Gordon Strachan's men refused to buckle.

Guendogan then restored Germany's lead in the second period after combining with Mueller. Scotland gradually conceded more space and the Germans would have bagged more goals but for the excellent Marshall.