Leon Goretzka was the best man on the pitch when the German national team defeated Azerbaijan in World Cup qualifiers on Sunday. Our player ratings.
The Schalke man rarely fails to impress. A brace in this qualifier coupled with brilliant awareness, passing, finishing and deft touches, he seems to have it all. A brilliantly innovative backheel finish for the first and a simple side-footer past the keeper for his second, he seems to have the maturity and composure in front of goal similar to that of a 30-year-old veteran. For a man oozing with confidence and talent, he gets a perfect 10.
A bright performance from this untiring workhorse. A rare regular starter with Germany, Joshua Kimmich is one of the few consistent performers who always produces the goods when called upon. Playing equally well in the team with a changed system comprising of a three-man defence, instead of the routine four-man defence. His crosses caused a lot of problems to the Azerbaijan defence and it was also his corners that led to the first goal from Leon Goreztka and to Germany’s third goal. A brilliant through ball to Julian Brandt early in the second half opened up the Azerbaijan defence completely. The showing of potential he has as a playmaking midfielder despite not being played in that position shows how versatile he is. For such a solid performance, I would definitely give him a perfect 10 as well.
Emre Can has been today’s commander-in-chief of the German midfield in the absense of Rudy and Kroos, spraying passes and always contributing to attacks. He provided the stability and security to the attacking German side. Despite playing as a holding midfielder, the best part of his play today was his special long-range unstoppably ferocious strike to add a fifth goal for Germany. Just for that sheer brilliance, I would give him a 9.
Undoubtedly the fastest player on the pitch today, he outran and wore out most of the Azerbaijan players on the left-hand side tormenting the defence and made brilliant runs behind the defence. Unfortunately, his finishing was not up to the mark but he did provide lethal crosses for Die Mannschaft. He is a huge future potential for the Germans and has been in great form for Manchester City as well. For his chance creation and his assist, I would give him a 9.
After quite a long wait, we saw the Thomas Muller we missed, even though in bits and pieces. His runs and interplay with Stindl and Brandt and creating chances for himself and others really marked the return of the “Raumdeuter” on the national team. Unfortunate to not register a goal or an assist. His performance earns him a rating of 8.
He was easily one of the difference-makers in the game, giving a delightful assist for Germany’s second. His pace, skills and interplay with Thomas Müller and Joshua Kimmich caused severe problems on the right-hand side making numerous chances for the Germans. His first touch was not as good and he did waste a few half chances due to it. Only and only for the wasted chances and wasteful first touch, I would give him an 8.
Lars Stindl has been more of a quiet player in this game bursting into life at certain points of the match and then totally going off the radar to come back in with a voracious strike rattling the upright. A few good give-and-go’s with Thomas Müller and a few attempted through-balls behind the defence give him a rating of 8.
The search for a true number 9 for Germany may be over with the arrival of Sandro Wagner. His physical presence, his heading ability and his positioning as a target man are all the qualities Germany has been missing in their centre-forward over the years. Unfortunately for him, he did not get a hattrick in this game as he kept getting chance after chance thanks to brilliant crosses coming in from both the left and right-hand sides.
A decent outing for this young Chelsea defender, he came in place of the injured Niklas Süle, who seemed to be having knee issues before being substituted in the 22nd minute. Rudiger played well defensively for most of the game, venturing forward occassionally. It was uncomfortable to see him losing the ball in defensive positions, trying to play out of the defence. It seems this has exposed his composure on the ball.
The Mönchengladbach defender gets an appearance as a substitute for the injured Shkrodan Mustafi after playing in the Confederations Cup earlier in the year. A few good passes and overall an average performance. He did well clearing the ball saving a certain goal late in the second half, but that alone will not be enough to earn a rating of 8. Hence, I would rate him as a 7.
A very average performance overall. Letting in the goal from Ramil Seydaev at the near post, Bernd Leno’s performance today has been poor. His distribution has also been poor, giving away a dangerous ball in the first half which had to be dealt with by the defence. He was hardly bothered by the Azerbaijan attack but when he got his chance, he didn’t do well enough for me.
Armin Younes, Niklas Süle, Shkrodan Mustafi.