Germany beats Austria 2-1 in Euro 2012 qualifier
Mario Gomez scored in the 89th minute to give Germany a 2-1
victory over Austria on Friday and a sixth win from as many matches
in 2012 European Championship qualifying.
The Bayern Munich striker, who had also given his side a 1-0
lead in the first half, notched his second goal of the Group A game
when he steered home a cross by captain Philipp Lahm. It was
Gomez’s 18th goal in his 45th appearance for the national side.
Gomez put Germany ahead just before the break, scoring from
close range after Austria’s defense failed to clear the ball after
a corner taken by Toni Kroos.
Austria equalized in the 50th when Germany defender Arne
Friedrich tried to clear a cross by David Alaba before it reached
Martin Harnik, but could only deflect the ball past his wrongfooted
goalkeeper Manuel Neuer.
”Football is a crazy game, you must always keep going,” Gomez
said. ”I am going to try to play on like this, so the coach will
have a lot of options to choose from.”
Germany coach Joachim Loew called it ”a lucky victory” for his
”We did not show our usual class. Otherwise, Austria would have
had more troubles,” Loew said. ”Austria fought hard for its last
chance. In the end, the three points are the only thing that
matters to us.”
Loew said last year’s World Cup in South Africa has begun to
take its toll on his tired players. Germany still has a qualifier
to play before the summer break – against Azerbaijan in Baku on
”I have to compliment my team,” Loew said. ”Many players who
were at the World Cup are really near the limits of their strengths
now after a heavy season.”
The Euro 2008 finalist was without its main goalscorer Miroslav
Klose, who bruised his ribs in Sunday’s friendly against Uruguay,
and never looked comfortable in front of 47,500 fans at the
sold-out Ernst Happel Stadium.
Gomez missed two chances to give Germany an early lead after
Austria got the the first scoring opportunity of the match in the
fourth minute, when Harnik sent a header just wide from a Christian
Fuchs free kick.
Germany quickly responded when Gomez saw his lob from short
range saved by Christian Gratzei, and Austria’s goalkeeper
collected a header by the Bayern Munich striker just minutes
Lukas Podolski came closest in a lively opening phase, hitting
the bar with a thundering 20-meter effort. It was the winger’s only
shot on goal in his 88th game for Germany.
Austria tried to ease the pressure on its defense by pressuring
Germany in midfield, a strategy that worked for the rest of the
first half as Germany failed to gain control the match.
Real Madrid’s Sami Khedira, playing his first game since tearing
a thigh muscle on April 20, failed to stamp his authority in
Germany’s midfield and was replaced by Holger Badstuber halfway
through the second half.
Austria coach Dietmar Constantini left striker Marc Janko out of
the starting lineup in favor over the faster Erwin Hoffer. His had
more possession after the break but was let down by its passing in
the final third. Hoffer and Harnik came close but saw shots go
wide, while the unmarked Stefan Kulovits hit the near post with a
volley from a difficult angle.
It was Germany’s 80th match and 56th victory in European
Championship history. The last time Germany lost an European
Championship away game was in 1998, when Turkey won 1-0 in
”We played okay but conceded goals at the worst possible
moments,” Constantini said. ”That’s bitter, but it’s no
coincidence. That’s the class of Germany.”
Austria still has a slim chance of finishing second in Group A
after Belgium and Turkey drew 1-1 on Friday. Second-place Belgium
has 11 points, Turkey has 10 and Austria seven.
Austria has never qualified for a European Championship but took
part in the 2008 event as a co-host with Switzerland.
Austria: Christian Gratzei, Ekrem Dag (Zlatko Junuzovic, 66),
Emanuel Pogatetz, Florian Klein, Christian Fuchs, Julian
Baumgartlinger, Paul Scharner, Stefan Kulovits, David Alaba, Martin
Harnik (Daniel Royer, 81), Erwin Hoffer (Marc Janko, 88).
Germany: Manuel Neuer, Philipp Lahm, Arne Friedrich, Mats
Hummels, Marcel Schmelzer, Sami Khedira (Holger Badstuber, 69),
Mesut Oezil, Thomas Mueller, Toni Kroos (Dennis Aogo, 90), Mario
Gomez, Lukas Podolski (Andre Schuerrle, 67).