Germany labors to 4-0 win over Gibraltar in Euro 2016 qualifying
NUREMBERG, Germany (AP) -- Thomas Mueller scored twice as Germany got its Euro 2016 qualifying campaign back on track with an unconvincing 4-0 win over Gibraltar on Friday.
Mueller opened the scoring in the 12th minute and claimed his second 17 minutes later. Mario Goetze made it 3-0 in the 38th, before an own goal from Yogan Santos completed the scoring in the 67th.
There were whistles from some fans who had been expecting a higher score.
Germany coach Joachim Loew said beforehand he wanted a result to reflect his side's status as the World Cup winners. Gibraltar, a territory of just 30,000 people, is playing its first qualifying tournament and had already lost 7-0 to both Ireland and Poland in Group D.
"To be honest I'm anything but pleased," Loew said. "For a world champion, four goals is too few. We didn't do the little things that we wanted to do. I can't be satisfied. We wanted to play quickly, break from our positions. But we didn't keep our positions."
Despite the loss, Loew's counterpart was the happier coach.
"It's a great result," said Allen Bula, whose side is made up mostly of amateurs. "We really needed something like this to keep us going."
Loew started with a very attacking line-up, with three at the back and four forwards in Mueller, Lukas Podolski, Max Kruse, and Karim Bellarabi, complemented just behind by Goetze and Toni Kroos.
Kroos hit the side netting early on, Gibraltar 'keeper Jamie Robba saved Bellarabi's effort and Podolski shot over as the hosts began with intent.
Mueller was well-positioned to stab the ball home when Shkodran Mustafi's cross rebounded off the near post and was only half cleared.
Sensing a rout, fans expected the next to follow quickly, but it didn't come until the 29th, when Podolski crossed to give Mueller a tap-in.
Goetze played a one-two with Kruse before firing past Robba in the 38th, before Gibraltar enjoyed a brief period of pressure.
Manuel Neuer had to make a great save to stop Liam Walker's audacious effort from the sideline just before the interval.
Germany dominated the second half but found it hard to penetrate the visitors' stubborn defending until the unfortunate Santos turned Podolski's cross into his own net. Sami Khedira was lurking just behind and would surely have scored otherwise.
"We had a lot of chances to score. We should have scored more, it's clear. It could have been seven or eight," Goetze said.
Germany remains three points behind Group D leader Poland, which won 4-0 in Georgia thanks to second half goals from Kamil Glik, Grzegorz Krychowiak, Sebastian Mila and Arkadiusz Milik.
Shaun Maloney's sweet curling strike inside the far post in the 75th was enough for Scotland to beat Ireland 1-0 in Glasgow, moving the Scots level on points with Ireland and Germany.
"It was pretty brutal. I don't think it was pretty at times," Maloney said. "It was a physical game out there. Just glad to be on the winning side."