Albeit essentially just a glorified friendly, Germany hammered Liechtenstein in their penultimate World Cup qualifier 9-0 in Wolfsburg, having officially secured the plane ticket to Qatar 2022 during the last international break. Goals from Ilkay Gundogan, Marco Reus, Ridle Baku, braces from Leroy Sane and Thomas Muller, and own goals from Liechtenstein’s Daniel Kaufmann and Maximilian Goppel rounded out the routing in what was well and truly an affair of one way traffic after Jens Hofer’s red card in the 9th minute.
Hansi Flick was forced to callup several players after Niklas Sule’s positive coronavirus test forced a handful of other players to go into mandatory quarantine, but it was still the Bayern Munich pair of Muller and Sane that stole the show in Wolfsburg. For what it’s worth, it’s hard to pick out any German player that did not have, at least, a solid performance, but the pair of Bayern midfielders were able to get themselves on the scoresheet more than anyone else and it was even teammate Leon Goretzka that had won the penalty that Gundogan converted and assisted Sane’s first goal.
Since Flick has taken charge of Die Mannschaft, he’s now won all six qualifiers, boasting a 100% win rate, but they haven’t had the most difficult opponents. Speaking after the big win over Liechtenstein, Muller explained how the enthusiasm amongst the squad under Flick has been really high despite knowing the fact that they haven’t yet faced top caliber opponents. “You always have to put things into perspective a bit, because we haven’t had any extremely difficult opponents. But we are there. There’s a super atmosphere in the home games. We always wanted the next goal. You can talk about a harmonious evening. That we will have more opportunities after Liechtenstein’s red card was also clear,” he explained (tz).
Former Germany manager Joachim Low was also in attendance for the qualifier at the Volkswagen Arena, which Muller said was a nice opportunity to see him. Obviously, there’s a a lot of perceived friction between Low and Muller given what happened back in 2019 with Low’s decision to cut Muller, Mats Hummels, and Jerome Boateng from the national team, but that’s all water under the bridge. It’s always been the utmost respect for Low from Muller’s perspective and the feeling is mutual. “It’s always nice. I hope we’ll see each other again later. With all sporting successes, it’s always about those personal moments. They’re not always colorful, you also have a lot of friction. But the conversations at the table and everything around them are what you take with you. Jogi Löw is a top guy,” Muller said.