World Cup 2018 Qualifying Campaign Index


Sunday, 26 March 2017

World Cup 2018 Group C Qualifier

"We did absolutely everything we needed to in the match."
Azerbaijan - Dimitrij Nazarov 31'
Germany - Andre Schürrle 19', 81', Thomas Müller 36', Mario Gomez 45'

Jogi is proved right (again) with Andre Schürrle is among the scorers as Germany make it five matches, five wins, in their World Cup qualification campaign.

Schürrle double helps Germany get the job done in Azerbaijan
Andre Schürrle scores two as Germany cruise past Azerbaijan

Schürrle inspires world champions to fifth win in five

Joachim Löw stresses need for improvement but happy with result

"It was a bit like a cup game against a team which plays a tier below you. If you're not concentrating on the g ame from the outset, they can cause you problems. We hadn't played together for some months, so our play wasn't totally in sync. There were some issues and the game didn't go exactly as we planned. However, in the end, we can be pleased with the result."

When asked if he was surprised with Andre Schürrle's performance, he replied "No, I was not surprised. He's had some struggles in Dortmund as of late, but nevertheless, he remains confident in himself. He looked excellent in training and I hope he can carry this momentum forward with him back to Dortmund for the next few weeks."

Delighted with the faith his coach showed in him, Schürrle replied "My performance is a lot about the confidence that Jogi Low gives me. I can go back to Dortmund with a good feeling." from

Jogi tut allen gut
Even Bild commented on how joining up with the national team, and Jogi, had done some players the power of good.

Joachim Löw also commended his team's ability to be decisive against the smaller nations " I have to compliment our dressing room leaders. Over the eight to ten years we have almost always picked up clear wins against the smaller nations, in contrast to other nations who have had problems in their qualifications. That comes down to the players who lead the team and our strong base attitude."

As to what needs improvement "We gathered more on a few important details. After the equaliser we pushed a bit high up, but my hope was that we would generally make fewer mistakes. It was not quite so smooth as it has been in the last year. Again, we need a few more games and more time training together."

Wanting to keep the "pecking order open" was the reason why Bernd Leno was picked this time over Marc-Andre ter Stegen. "Manu is the undisputed Number One, but after him we have very, very good alternatives."

Looking ahead to the Confederations Cup, Jogi said "I have not been given many more ideas about the Confederations Cup. Of course we have discussed names but for now we are waiting until May to review how things develop." but admitted "Everything is geared towards the 2018 World Cup, even though the U21s have an important tournament coming up as well. I will spare a few players here and there for the Confederations Cup. The World Cup takes priority." -

Loew frustrated by bench-warming Germany stars

"Andre made a good impression with me last week, physically he is very fit and has trained well," said Löw.
"I hope the game in Azerbaijan will give him a boost for the coming weeks in Dortmund.
"I would wish that players like him or Joshua Kimmich get more game time. But I can not tell the club coaches what to do."

Löw says Kimmich's future lies on the right side of Germany's defence and, with Lahm to retire from all football in June, he hopes Ancelotti sees things the same way - or he risks losing a prized asset.
"It would be nice if Bayern could plan with him in this position," said Löw.
"At the European Championship Kimmich exploded out of nowhere and still has his whole career ahead of him, so it goes without saying that they will want to keep him."

Post-match press conference

Post-match interview

Starting Line-Up:
Bernd Leno, Joshua Kimmich, Mats Hummels, Benedikt Höwedes, Jonas Hector, Sami Khedira, Toni Kroos (Sebastian Rudy), Thomas Müller, Andre Schürrle, Julian Draxler (Leroy Sane), Mario Gomez (Mesut Özil)

Training, Baku, 25 March 2017

Press Conference, Baku, 25 March 2017, with Sami Khedira

Germany seek to continue perfect qualifying campaign in Azerbaijan
Joachim Löw has demanded his team maintain their impressive form since Euro 2016 ahead of their latest World Cup qualifier in Baku. Germany are contending with several injuries to key players and a long trip but Löw said that "shouldn't be an excuse."
"It is not that easy with a long trip and the time difference, but that shouldn't be an excuse," he said. "I am convinced if we go into the game with the right concentration we will also win."
"I have great faith in my players, we know we can find the right solutions, and if we play the way we can, we will win the game," he said.

"It is our first qualifier for a long time. Our objective is clear. We want to secure qualification for Russia 2018 without dropping any points. So for us the aim is clearly to get three points. We know that it will not be easy because the conditions are not ideal, having a long journey there, time to adjust etc. but I am convinced that we can win this game if we have the right levels of concentration."

Khedira Kapitän! Löw: "Er ist ein Vorbild, ein Leadertyp"

Addressing the personnel issues as the World Cup qualifiers resume tomorrow, Joachim Löw confirmed that Sami Khedira will be his captain: "He is a leader, has an exemplary attitude, a good communicator, a winning mentality and professionalism. That is what Sami Khedira is about."

Benedikt Höwedes will start next to Mats Hummels in defence, the break having been good for him. Mario Gomez will start up front. Speaking of the striker, Jogi explained "He always causes problems for defenders. I think we're going to get a lot of chances."

They have not yet decided who will be in goal tomorrow. Marc-Andre ter Stegen performed well against England, but Bernd Leno and Kevin Trapp have also been good in training. A decision will be made after the final session with Andreas Köpke tonight.

Germany's Ozil still doubtful for Azerbaijan qualifier - Löw

"Yesterday Sami Khedira, Mario Gomez and Julian Draxler trained normally with no problems at all," Loew told reporters in Baku. The three players were also sidelined for the England game.
"Everyone trained apart from Mesut," Loew said. "He will have to wait until the last training (session). He had back problems and received treatment yesterday and today. We will train today and then decide."
Joachim Löw confirmed his confidence in Andre Schürrle "His situation at Dortmund is not exactly ideal. On the other hand I know what his strengths are. He is dynamic and is dangerous in front of goal. He was really, really good in training and was clinical. He impressed with his fitness."

He also applied his comment to Azerbaijan as a nation: "The same goes for the team as the country as a whole. You can see their development from 2009 to 2011. They have had a sporting boom here. The team has developed their football and tactics. They beat Norway and drew 0-0 with the Czech Republic. They are doing well and definitely have a chance of finishing in second place. They defend very well, are very fit and robust. They will obviously be highly-motivated playing against a team like us"

Summary of the full press conference on

Reise nach Baku - 24 March 2017

Flight from Düsseldorf to Baku

Weigl out, Özil misses training - 24 March 2017
Julian Weigl will not join the Germany national team for their trip to Azerbaijan. The 21-year-old midfielder suffered a painful bruise to his thigh during the first home win over England in 30 years on Wednesday evening, and was replaced by Emre Can in the 66th minute. Weigl left the team base in Kamen on Friday morning.
Meanwhile, Mesut Ozil is suffering from back problems and sat out the final training session in Kamen this morning. Die Mannschaft will begin their journey to Baku at 14:30 CET today.

Training, Kamen, 24 March 2017

Leipzig's Timo Werner suffers injury blow - 23 March 2017
RB Leipzig striker Timo Werner will miss Germany's World Cup qualifier against Azerbaijan after picking up a hamstring injury in Wednesday's friendly against England.
Germany coach Joachim Löw praised Werner for what he termed "an insane amount of running" during the game, but Leipzig's rising star appears to have paid the price for his high-intensity performance after suffering a hamstring tear in his left thigh.

In a dfb statement accompanying the squad announcement, Joachim Löw spoke of the remaining qualification campaign "Our aim is to confirm our qualification as quickly as possible. So far we're doing very well and we don't want to slow down. The match in Baku is far from easy. They recently won at home against Norway, so we've been warned. But I have a lot of faith in my players. We know we have the tools to find the right solutions. If we play how we know we can, we'll win." - 17 March 2017

The full squad for the first international break of 2017 can be found on my page for the England friendly four days prior.

Last updated 27 March 2017
With thanks to everyone, especially Sarah, Lucille, Susanne and Silke.
Anything else you think I should include on this page? Let me know!