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Poldi and Schweini on target for Germany

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Poldi and Schweini on target for Germany

Postby FCBayernNews » Sun Mar 29, 2009 2:30 pm

Bayern trio Lukas Podolski, Bastian Schweinsteiger and Philipp Lahm all contributed positively as Germany continued their trek towards a place at the 2010 World Cup in South Africa. The Germans ran up a routine 4-0 victory over the minnows of Liechtenstein on Saturday evening, although those who had predicted a torrent of goals were to be disappointed.

The 25th win of Joachim Löw's tenure as coach means the three-time World Cup winners cement their lead at the top of Group 4 on 13 points, four clear of Russia, 2-0 winners over Armenia, and six ahead of Finland, winners by the same score away to Wales.

A 43,368 full house at the Zentralstadion in Leipzig saw a former Bayern duo hand the home side an early 2-0 advantage. Michael Ballack converted Schweinsteiger's fourth-minute cross for the opener, before Marcell Jansen doubled the lead five minutes later. Schweinsteiger made it three after 48 minutes, slotting into an empty net from Podolski's shot, before the FCB striker himself added the fourth a short time later. The goal was Poldi's 32nd in a Germany shirt, taking him level with Klaus Fischer in the country's all-time goalscoring list.

Schweini and Co with routine win

"It's always good when you win and score yourself," the Bayern hitman commented, "we said before the games against Liechtenstein and Wales that our aim was to win both. We've taken the first three points today, and we want the next three on Wednesday in Wales." Podolski and Lahm completed the full 90 minutes, while Schweinsteiger gave way to Leverkusen enforcer Simon Rolfes two minutes from time.

"We had plenty of chances, but at the end of the day, you have to be satisfied with a 4-0 win. We have to keep it going on Wednesday," Lahm remarked. Immediately after the final whistle, Schweinsteiger was already thinking ahead to the next challenge. "We created lots of openings, but unfortunately, we didn't convert many of them. Now we're looking forward to Wales." Victory in Cardiff would see Schweinsteiger and Co take another lengthy stride towards a berth in South Africa.

Ribéry's left-footed winner

Elsewhere, 2006 World Cup runners-up France breathed new life into their faltering qualifying campaign, all thanks to Franck Ribéry. The Bayern midfielder struck the only goal of the game away to Lithuania with a firm 20-yard drive on 67 minutes to seal a narrow but deserved victory for Les Bleues. The French now have seven points from four matches in Group 7 and lie third behind the Lithuanians (nine points from five matches) and Serbia (12 from five).

The Netherlands and Bayern captain Mark van Bommel are closing in inexorably on a place at next year's finals after a comfortable 3-0 home win over a weak Scotland eleven. Klaas Huntelaar (29), Robin van Persie (45+1) and Dirk Kuyt (76, pen) scored at the Amsterdam Arena to hand the Dutch maximum points from four matches in Group 9, which they lead by a yawning eight-point margin from Iceland and Scotland.

Neighbouring Belgium suffered a major setback in their quest for a place in South Africa. In the absence of the injured Daniel van Buyten, the Red Devils lost 4-2 at home in Genk to Bosnia Herzegovina and slipped to fourth in Group 5, fully eight points off leaders Spain. However, the Belgians are only two points short of second place, which would earn a play-off for a ticket to the 2010 finals.
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