German young guns go ten clear
Germany went ten points clear at the top of their UEFA EURO 2012 qualifying group, picking up their seventh straight win in Group A with stars Mario Gomez and Mesut Ozil both on target in a 3-1 win over Azerbaijan.
Despite coming to Baku, near the Caspian Sea, with a depleted squad, the Germans still had enough young talent to comfortably see off Azerbaijan and at 27-years-old, captain Philipp Lahm was the oldest German on the pitch.
"Hard to believe that at 27, I was the oldest out there, but it shows the depth of young talent we have in the squad," said Lahm, who won his 80th cap.
Real Madrid star Mesut Ozil opened the scoring with half an hour gone at the Tofik Bakhramov Stadium when he latched onto a loose ball in the penalty area and curled his shot around diving goalkeeper Kamran Agayev.
The winger then turned provider for the second goal when he found plenty of space down the left flank and crossed the ball in for Gomez to drill his shot into the back of the net on 41 minutes. It was Gomez's fourth goal in his last three games for Germany.
The hosts scored a consolation goal with time almost up when striker Murad Huseynov stabbed home his shot in the 89th minute after capitalising on a mistake by Germany defender Mats Hummels, who failed to get his header away. However, replacement Andre Schurrle netted Germany's third deep in added time after fellow sub Mario Goetze split the defence and after Gomez's shot was saved, Schuerrle followed up.
The Germans can wrap up qualification if they beat Austria in Gelsenkirchen on 2 September. But the defeat leaves Azerbaijan's German coach Berti Vogts in a precarious position as his side are joint bottom of the table.