Sunday 21 January 2018

Gotze lifts Germany into Pole position

Germany 3 Poland 1

Mario Goetze celebrates after sealing victory for Germany
Mario Goetze celebrates after sealing victory for Germany
Poland's Grzegorz Krychowiak blocks a shot from Ilkay Guendogan
Lewandowski (R) goes up against Germany's Bastian Schweinsteiger (C) and Jerome Boateng
Poland's Robert Lewandowski (2L) heads the ball past Germany's Manuel Neuer
Germany's coach Joachim Loew hugs Mario Goetze after the game

John Fallon

Germany followed the example of Georgia by doing the Republic of Ireland a major favour last night.

Goals from Thomas Muller and Mario Gotze had Joachim Low's side 2-0 up and cruising after only 20 minutes.

Robert Lewandowski pulled one back for Poland, but his Bayern Munich team-mate Gotze sealed the points late on.

Though there's still two points to make up, Ireland will hope to catch Poland for the second automatic qualifying berth in the three-match run-in.

It took just 12 minutes for the Polish defence to be left chasing shadows and when Jonas Hector squared the ball, Muller was left unmarked to sidefoot home.

Gotze then skipped inside and beat Lukasz Fabianski at his near post with a low drive after good work from Toni Kroos and Karim Bellarabi.

Poland responded, as left-winger Kamil Grosicki began to get the measure of debutant Emre Can and his incisive run and cross set up Lewandowski to reduce the gap with a diving header on 38 minutes.

The half-time whistle stalled the Polish revival, and Germany signalled their intent early in the second half with Gotze seeing his 57th-minute curling shot rebound off the post with Fabianski well beaten.

At the other end, Manuel Neuer did well to deny Krzysztof Maczynski. That would be the Poles' best chance of pinching a point as on 82 minutes Gotze was on hand to tap home after Muller's shot from 20 yards was spilled by Fabianski.

Irish Independent

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