Germany were brimming with confidence before Monday’s Euro 2016 qualifier against Scotland in Glasgow that could lead to the world champions booking their ticket for next summer’s tournament finals.
After a 3-1 victory over Poland gave them control of Group D on Friday, a win against Scotland, combined with a defeat for the Republic of Ireland against Georgia, would enable the Germans to open up a seven-point gap to the third-placed team with two matches remaining and secure a top-two finish and the trip to France.
“The Scots lost to Georgia and so at home, if they want to have a chance of qualifying, they must invest a bit more in attack,” Germany’s coach, Joachim Löw, said. “So we don’t expect to have such defensive opponents as with Poland.”
The Poles lurked on the break but ultimately had to buckle under German pressure with two goals from Mario Götze and one from Thomas Müller.
The win boosted the Germans’ confidence after a shaky qualifying start following their World Cup triumph last year and a shock 2-0 defeat by Poland in Warsaw 11 months ago. “We succeeded with a series of combinations and a great positioning game to beat them,” Löw said. “We will remain equally focused in Scotland.”
The Germans could arguably now have a somewhat easier task with their next opponents desperate for points, leaving them more space than teams usually provide. More space for Germany means a faster passing game, with the full-backs also acting as a second pair of wingers to add punch to their attack, as Jonas Hector and Emre Can demonstrated against Poland. The Cologne defender Hector was involved in two of the three goals.
“We wanted to take that risk with our full-backs operating high so as to stretch the Poles because normally they are good at shutting down their defence,” Löw said.
Scotland, needing points to maintain their slim hopes of advancing, have their work cut out. The Scots are fourth in the group on 11 points with Ireland third on 12 and second-placed Poland on 14. The Germans lead with 16 points. “We still need to be a bit more stable,” one of the goalscorers Müller said. “ We must keep working at it.” (The Guardian)