October 08, 2016

HAMBURG, Germany (AP) Thomas Mueller scored twice for the second game running as Germany eased past the Czech Republic 3-0 to maintain its winning start to World Cup qualifying on Saturday.

Mueller, who scored twice in the opening 3-0 win in Norway, has yet to score in six Bundesliga games for Bayern Munich this season.

''We delivered a great game. We could have scored more,'' Mueller said.

The first goal came early when Mesut Ozil sent Mario Goetze's cross onto Mueller, who dispatched simply to the far corner with the aid of a slight deflection.

Julian Draxler went close after a good turn shortly afterward, and Czech goalkeeper Tomas Vaclik saved from Mueller.

Mario Goetze was the next to go close, lifting the ball just wide after a good one-two with Mueller, who later fired over as the visitors appeared out of their depth.

Defender Jerome Boateng even indulged in a neat turn and then a back-heeled pass before the break.

Germany had almost three-quarters of the possession, seemingly almost all of it in the Czechs' half, while 93 percent passing accuracy was an indication of the home side's dominance.

The only quibble coach Joachim Loew could have had was that his side did not add to its goal-tally despite the glut of chances before the break.

Toni Kroos remedied that minutes after the re-start, firing inside the right post from outside the penalty area after Joshua Kimmich squared the ball.

Borek Dockal had the Czech Republic's first attempt on target in the 63rd.

But Mueller killed off any vague notions of a comeback with his second two minutes later, converting Jonas Hector's cross from close range.

Ilkay Gundogan came on for the final 15 minutes to make his return after almost a year away from the national team.

''I'm very satisfied,'' Loew said. ''The team had total control for the whole game. When we play like that the opponent is run ragged after 60 minutes. The Czechs didn't have a chance after that.''

Loew previously suggested the Czech Republic, which drew with Northern Ireland 0-0 in its opening group game, was Germany's toughest group opponent, but on this display it seems the World Cup champion will have little trouble in qualifying.

Elsewhere in Group C, Northern Ireland defeated San Marino 4-0 in Belfast, and Maksim Medvedev's early goal was enough for Azerbaijan to beat Norway 1-0 in Baku, giving the team two wins in a World Cup group for the first time. Azerbaijan opened with a 1-0 win in San Marino.

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