2018 World Cup Qualifying - UEFA, Group Stage
  • Leon Goretzka (8', 66')
  • Sandro Wagner (54')
  • Antonio Rüdiger (64')
  • Emre Can (81')
  • Ramil Sheydaev (34')

Germany beat Azerbaijan to maintain perfect qualification record

Leon Goretzka inspired Germany to a 5-1 rout over Azerbaijan as the defending champions wrapped up their World Cup qualification campaign in style.

The Schalke midfiedler's brilliant backheel sent the hosts on their way to victory at the Fritz-Walter-Stadion in Kaiserslautern on Sunday.

Sandro Wagner also continued his fine form by scoring his fifth goal in five caps as Germany topped Group C, having already booked their chance to defend the trophy at next summer's World Cup in Russia.

Ramil Seydaev did equalise for Azerbaijan before half-time, but they fell apart after the break, conceding three times in 12 minutes from Wagner, Antonio Rudiger and Goretzka, with Emre Can adding a stunning late fifth.

Germany finished 11 points clear of Northern Ireland, whom they beat 3-1 in Belfast on Thursday to reach Russia, with a 100 percent record.

Joachim Low's side went ahead in impudent style after just eight minutes when Goretzka stunned Azerbaijan.

Gara Garayev failed to deal with a corner and, when the ball bounced to Goretzka, the midfielder, with his back to goal, produced a fabulous backheel from seven yards which flew past Kamran Agayev.

Wagner twice went close, while Lars Stindl had a shot blocked before Azerbaijan stunned the hosts by equalising 11 minutes before the break.

Seydaev latched on to Tamkin Xalilzada's pass on the left and twice bamboozled Chelsea's Rudiger before beating Bernd Leno from an angle.

It got worse for Germany immediately afterwards as Shkodran Mustafi was forced off injured and replaced by Matthias Ginter, the second enforced chance after Rudiger replaced Niklas Sule early on.

But the hosts recovered and nine minutes after the break Wagner did grab his goal when his far post header just crossed the line to finish off a patient Germany move.

Ten minutes later it was 3-1 when Rudiger's header was deflected in off Dan Mori and Goretzka added a fourth soon after, tapping in Leroy Sane's centre.

Can then capped the victory with his first Germany goal with nine minutes left when his 30-yard rocket beat Agayev.