No strikers but Germans still cruise it

Ireland’s Group C rivals Germany eased past lowly Kazakhstan 3-0 last night without deploying any strikers for the first time in a competitive match under coach Joachim Loew as they stayed top of the group.

Two goals in two minutes midway through the first half from midfielders Bastian Schweinsteiger and Mario Goetze, playing in a forward role, quickly put the Germans in control and dashed any faint hopes the hosts may have had of causing a shock.

Thomas Mueller grabbed Germany’s third goal in the 74th minute in a lacklustre second half after the home side attempted a brief comeback and even hit the bar.

“It was our duty to win here, of course, and I think it was all over at half-time,” Loew said afterwards.

“We led 2-0 and took the pace out of the game and that is why there was less rhythm in the game in the second half, but we only came here to win and we did that.”

On his decision to play no strikers the manager said, “It gives us another option and an alternative.

“It’s not like we want to do away with the classic number nine, but we want to be a bit more unpredictable.

“We have Miroslav Klose and Mario Gomez and we still need players like that,” he added.

The result lifted Germany to 13 points from five games and keeps them on track to finish top of the group.

KAZAKHSTAN: Sidelnikov, Kirov, Logvinenko, Gorman, Nurdauletov, Dmitrenko, M Khairullin, Baizhanov, Schmidtgal, Dzholchiev, Ostapenko.

Subs: Mokin, Mukhtarov, Konysbayev, Shabalin, Tsirin, Kukeev, Nusrbayev, Shomko, Tazhimbetov, Engel, Korobkin, K Khairullin.

GERMANY: Neuer, Schmelzer, Howedes, Lahm, Mertesacker, Khedira, Schweinsteiger, Ozil, Draxler, Muller, Gotze.

Subs: Adler, Westermann, Schurrle, Podolski, Gundogan, Boateng, Gomez, Zieler.

Referee: Anastassios Kakos (Greece).


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