Germany have now won nine consecutive times against Austria. Even with key players Bastian Schweinsteiger and Mario Götze, Germany walked away with an easy victory with a Barcelona-esque 65 percent possession. Germany coach Joachim Löw fielded a strong side for the clash against Austria, a longtime historical as well as sporting rival. The record £42.5m Arsenal signing Mesut Özil started in midfield along with Thomas Müller and Borussia Dortmund starlet Marco Reus with veteran Miroslav Klose leading the line. Before the game, all eyes were on Klose, who was only a goal away from equalizing the legendary Gerd Müller’s record 68 goals for Die Mannschaft, and captain Philipp Lahm, who was playing in his hundredth game for the national side.
The game started predictably with Germany seeing most of the ball and Austria content to defend in numbers and wait for the counter attack. Through the first period of the game, Özil got in a couple of good passes, including some trademark backheels, but was unable to create any real chances. In the 24 minute, Özil received an excellent cross in from Müller and turned to beat his defender but could only fire wide. Austria number one Robert Almer distinguished himself in the 28 minute with a fantastic series of saves against Reus and then Klose. Throughout the match, Almer’s helped keep Austria in the game until the very end. In the 33 minute, Müller received the ball wide on the right and crossed in for Klose to smoothly finish and equalize the German goal scoring record. With Germany often having nine men in the opposing half, the goal had seemed inevitable.
Bayern Much midfielder Toni Kroos scored in the beginning the second half with a shot from distance in the 51 minute after receiving a Reus pass in space and with virtually no pressure. Germany dominated possession even more in this half, and it times it felt like the Germany had decided to start practicing tiki-taka in the middle of a World Cup Qualifying match. After all, one expects that the German national team has likely had practices with tougher opposition than the Austrians. Austria got their first real chance in the 75 minute but were called offside. Three minutes later, the same happened to Germany when Klose fired into the net with the flag already raised. Austra were clearly frustrated by the neighbor’s dominance and a late flurry of yellow card marked a tougher Austrian style. Despite the Austrian’s best efforts, Bayern Munich star Müller scored an easy goal in the 88 minute to finish off whatever hopes Austria may have had. Germany’s sudden burst of pace after twenty minutes of possession football surprised the Austrians and allowed Müller to receive the deep ball inside the penalty box from a low Benedikt Howedes cross.
After an embarassing 4-3 lost against the United States and a dispiriting 3-3 tie against Paraquay, the German team rebounded against traditional rivals Austria and even managed to keep a clean sheet while scoring three. The win all but guarantees Germany a spot in Brazil come 2014, and Löw has found a more improved and versatile team in preparation for the next world cup. Germany’s next test will be against the Faroe Islands, a team much weaker than Austria. Expect this German team needs to win virtually every match it plays.