Hamburg – Substitute Thomas Mueller scored an 81st minute winner to complete Germany’s 2-1 comeback win over visitors Romania in their 2022 World Cup qualifier today that kept them on course for a spot in next year’s tournament.
The Germans, who have now won all four matches under new coach Hansi Flick, lead the standings in Group J with 18 points from seven matches, six ahead of North Macedonia and Armenia.
Germany, eager to make amends for their last two disappointing tournament performances at the 2018 World Cup and this year’s Euro, have conceded just one goal in their last four matches.
They could now seal their spot with a win over North Macedonia on Monday.
“We were about to get a penalty and then suddenly we concede a goal,” said Flick, who took over from Joachim Loew earlier this year. “But the team fought, the boys threw everything they had in the game and the fans supported us.
“We were confident, kept trying. Some things in terms of precision were not as we wanted them and we must improve but it was a deserved win. We controlled the game throughout.”
The hosts had the upper hand and thought they were awarded a penalty in the opening minutes when Timo Werner went down in the box only for a VAR review to rule against it.
To make matters worse the visitors struck with their first chance and with Ianis Hagi taking on two defenders, slipping the ball through the legs of Antonio Ruediger and then drilling in for the lead in the ninth minute.
Germany had possession and full control, spending most of the first 45 minutes in the Romanian half but lacking some clinical finish, with Serge Gnabry and Leon Goretzka coming close.
They did, however, repeatedly look vulnerable when Romania counter-attacked, as they had done with Hagi to take the lead.
Gnabry did find the deserved equaliser in the 52nd, firing in a low shot from the edge of the box for his 20th goal in his 30th international appearance.
Flick had pledged a high intensity performance from his team and the 25,000 fans got their money’s worth with the hosts combining well and attacking as Romania, defending with five players, gradually grew tired and pulled back deeper into their own half.
After Gnabry and Kai Havertz came close, Germany, with more than 70 per cent possession throughout the game, got the winner when Mueller, who had come on midway through the second half, tapped in at the far post after Goretzka headed on a corner. ― Reuters