Germans grumble despite 4-1 victory

BAKU • Mats Hummels has accused his Germany team-mates of being "arrogant" in Sunday's 4-1 away win over Azerbaijan which still gave the defending champions five straight wins in World Cup qualifiers.

The Germans leaked their first goal since July dating back to their 0-2 loss to France in the semi-finals of Euro 2016 - a national team record - but they still extended their perfect record in the 2018 World Cup qualifiers as Andre Schurrle scored twice in Baku.

However, Hummels told German broadcaster RTL: "We were rather arrogant today, which isn't nice, and we made life harder for ourselves than it should have been."

First-half goals by Schurrle, Thomas Muller and Mario Gomez put Germany 3-1 up at the break after Azerbaijan midfielder Dimitrij Nazarov had netted an early equaliser to the delight of the home crowd. Schurrle, though, added a late fourth goal to seal the victory.

Coach Joachim Low agreed with Hummels' appraisal, saying they were far from perfect.

"I am satisfied, but there was some negligence. All that glitters is not gold," he said.

Germany's Andre Schurrle celebrates the first of his double in a less-than- vintage 4-1 win over Azerbaijan.
Germany’s Andre Schurrle celebrates the first of his double in a less-thanvintage 4-1 win over Azerbaijan. PHOTO: AGENCE FRANCE-PRESSE

"The game we delivered wasn't up to our standards."

However, after rivals the Netherlands crashed 2-0 against Bulgaria on Saturday, Low praised his side for shutting the door on Azerbaijan after the hosts equalised with half an hour gone.

"Over the last eight to 10 years, we have always won against the smaller nations, unlike other countries, who have had their problems in qualifiers," said Low.

This was Germany's fifth win in five World Cup qualifiers, leaving them top of Group C with 20 goals scored and just one conceded.

Germany lead by five points from Northern Ireland, who defeated Norway 2-0 in Belfast.

The Czech Republic, who racked up a 6-0 win in San Marino, are two points further back, one ahead of Azerbaijan.

It was also Germany's eighth game unbeaten, including friendlies and qualifiers, since last July.

AGENCE FRANCE-PRESSE

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on March 28, 2017, with the headline 'Germans grumble despite 4-1 victory'. Print Edition | Subscribe