Marco Reus scored two goals to help Germany overcome Kazakhstan 4-1 in a World Cup qualifying match.
Nuremberg: Marco Reus scored two goals to help Germany overcome Kazakhstan 4-1 in a World Cup qualifying match on Tuesday that saw the visitors give the favorite some trouble in the second half. The win left Germany firmly in control of Group C in European qualifying, eight points ahead of Austria, Sweden and Ireland. Austria drew 2-2 in Ireland in the other match Tuesday.
Germany won 3-0 four days ago in Kazakhstan and immediately put the visiting team under pressure. Reus opened the scoring in the 23rd, Mario Goetze doubled the lead in the 27th and Ilkay Guendogan made it 3-0 in the 31st, before Reus completed the victory in the 90th.
Heinrich Schmidtgal scored for Kazakhstan at the start of the second half after an error by Germany's goalkeeper Manuel Neuer. Germany hit the frame of Kazakhstan's goal six times, but Kazakhstan also hit the post in the second half.
"They did not come to play football, they were defending with 10 men," Germany coach Joachim Loew said. "In the second half, we lost our concentration a bit."
Reus scored the first after collecting a pass from Mesut Oezil and shot from 20 meters (yards) out after passing the ball through the legs of Valeriy Korotkin. Captain Philipp Lahm charged down the right flank and raced past three Kazakhstan defenders before slipping a pass for Goetze to drive home from close range.
The Germans passed the ball for more than two points before Oezil found Guendogan, whose deflected shot bounced into the net. Neuer gifted Kazakhstan their goal in the 46th. Neuer tried to dribble past two Kazakhstan players after a back pass from Per Mertesacker, but lost the ball and Schmidtgal, who plays for Greuther Fuerth in the Bundesliga, shot into the empty net.
"What I did not like was the fans booing Neuer just because he made one mistake. It wasn't good what he did, but he's been playing great for a year," Loew said.
Reus, one of the four new players in Germany's line-up after missing Friday's match through suspension, scored his second late in the game after a through ball from Guendogan. But before that, Korotkin hit the post of Germany's goal. Germany were not as dominant in the second half, but still wasted several chances that were denied by some outstanding saves from goalkeeper Andrei Sidelnikov.
"We got the three points and that's all that counts," Guendogan said.