Hummels unhappy with ‘arrogant’ Germany
Mats Hummels has accused his Germany team-mates of being ‘arrogant’ in Sunday’s 4-1 win away to Azerbaijan which left the defending champions with five straight wins in World Cup qualifiers.
The Germans leaked their first goal since July, but they still extended their perfect record in Russia 2018 qualifiers as Andre Schuerrle scored twice in Baku.
“We were rather arrogant today, which isn’t nice, and we made life harder for ourselves than it should have been,” Hummels admitted to broadcaster RTL.
The Bayern Munich defender said too much possession was given casually away and there were sloppy challenges from Germany, who struggled to hit top gear.
First-half goals by Schuerrle, Thomas Mueller and Mario Gomez put Germany 3-1 up at the break after Azerbaijan midfielder Dimitrij Nazarov had netted an early equaliser to the delight of the home crowd.
It was the first goal Germany had conceded following seven previous clean sheets — a national team record — dating back to their 2-0 defeat against France in the semi-finals of Euro 2016.
Schuerrle then added a late fourth goal to put the result beyond doubt.
Germany were at near full-strength, but head coach Joachim Loew agreed with Hummels’ appraisal and admitted they were far from perfect.
“I am satisfied, but there was some negligence. All that glitters is not gold,” said Loew, whose greatest success in his decade in charge was steering Germany to the 2014 World Cup title.
“The game we delivered wasn’t up to our standards.”
But after group rivals the Netherlands crashed 2-0 against Bulgaria on Saturday, Loew praised his side for shutting the door on Azerbaijan after the hosts equalised with half an hour gone.
“However, I have to pay our leading players a compliment,” said Loew.
“Over the last eight to ten years, we have always won against the smaller nations, unlike other countries, who have had their problems in qualifiers.
“That’s down to the players who lead the team, the basic settings are correct.”
This was Germany’s fifth win in five World Cup qualifier, leaving them top of Group C with 20 goals scored and just one conceded.
It was also their eighth game unbeaten, including friendlies and qualifiers, since losing to Les Bleus in Marseille last July.
“We have absolutely fulfilled our duty of five (qualifying) games and five wins,” added Loew.
“It was a bit like a cup game against a team that plays a league below you.
“If you do not start with full commitment from the beginning, you make them (play like they are) a league higher.
“You could see we hadn’t been together for four months and things aren’t happening automatically, so ultimately we can be satisfied.”
Schuerrle, whose second goal nine minutes from time sealed the win, rewarded the faith shown by Loew despite a series of below-par displays for Borussia Dortmund.
“It was a hard bit of work, we lost a few too many balls and were a bit too loose in the challenge,” admitted Schuerrle.
“But we did well to shut the door by making it 3-1 at the break.”
“It does me good to score goals, but it’s up to me take my performances back to Germany and repeat them for Dortmund.”
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