Germany got the three points they were looking for from their 2010 FIFA World Cup South Africa™ qualifier against Azerbaijan in Baku without moving out of first gear. Joachim Low's side looked lively early on, but failed to add to Bastian Schweinsteiger's 12th-minute goal until the 55th minute, when Miroslav Klose netted a second.
Azerbaijan, coached by the last man to lead Germany to a major title at UEFA EURO 1996, Berti Vogts, lacked the bite in front of goal to put the visitors under any serious danger. The win took Germany four points clear of Russia at the top of Group 4, although they have now played one game more than their closest challengers, whom they still have to face away from home in October.
Germany made a bright start, with Michael Ballack's teasing early free-kick a warning to their hosts. And they led after just 12 minutes when Schweinsteiger unleashed a powerful shot from the edge of the penalty area, which went in just below the crossbar.
Mario Gomez missed a chance to make it two on the half-hour mark, when his header just brushed the outside of the post from Piotr Trochowski's cross. Although Germany appeared to have the game under control, they were unable to put the result beyond doubt and Klose missed the first of two golden opportunities to score, heading into the ground with the ball bouncing over the crossbar on the stroke of half time.
He missed another simple header from six yards midway through the second half, but at least by then he had put his name on the scoresheet. Klose was on hand to nod the ball in after Gomez's shot was tipped on to the crossbar by Farhad Valiyev to give Germany a two-goal cushion in the 54th minute.
The home side reacted well and put Germany under pressure, albeit without showing enough conviction in front of goal. Germany goalkeeper Robert Enke got the quiet game he was hoping for as Azerbaijan, despite creating spaces for shots, appeared reluctant to test him, allowing the three-time world champions to hold on comfortably for the win.