Seven Bayern players victorious on Saturday evening
7 in one go! On Saturday evening, seven FC Bayern players were in action for their national teams in EURO 2020 qualification – and with great success:
Penalty hero Neuer and goal scorer Goretzka
Thanks to the Bayern axis of Manuel Neuer, Joshua Kimmich, Leon Goretzka and Serge Gnabry, Germany have booked their ticket to EURO 2020. A 4-0 (HT: 1-0) win over Belarus was enough for Joachim Löw’s team to secure qualification for next year’s finals, as the Netherlands could only manage a goalless draw in Northern Ireland. This Tuesday, Germany will be able to make sure they win the group with a win in their final qualifying match against Northern Ireland.
Gnabry was the provider with a cross which set up Matthias Ginter in the 42nd minute. The defender fired home to put the Germans 1-0 up after Neuer had just foiled the visitors’ best chance of the first half with an impressive save two minutes earlier. Two minutes after the break, Goretzka doubled the lead with a volley before ex-Bayer Leverkusen player Toni Kroos wrapped things up with a brace in the 55th and 83rd minutes. In the 75th minute, Neuer again showed his exceptional quality when he saved a penalty from Igor Stasevich. Like his three Bayern teammates, Kimmich started the match and played for the full 90 minutes in central midfield.
Alaba scores in Austria win
David Alaba provided the initial spark for Austria’s 2-1 (HT: 1-0) win over Northern Macedonia, which secured the Austrians’ qualification for EURO 2020 ahead of schedule. The 27-year-old defensive player put his team into the lead in the 7th minute before Gladbach’s Stefan Lainer doubled the lead after the break. The North Macedonians provided an exciting finish to the match when they pulled one back through Vlatko Stojanovski, but the 93rd-minute strike came too late. With one matchday to go, Franko Foda’s team have already secured the runner-up spot behind group winners Poland.
Lewandowski comes off the bench in win for Poland
Poland’s record scorer Robert Lewandowski enjoyed a quieter evening. The 31-year-old came off the bench in the 63rd minute of Poland’s 2-1 (HT: 1-0) win in Israel. The Poles had already qualified for EURO 2020 next June prior to this matchday, which is why coach Jerzy Brzęczek was able to grant his top scorer a breather. Krzysztof Piatek (4th minute) and Grzegorz Krychowiak (54th) scored the goals for the Eastern Europeans, while Munas Dabbur netted for the Israelis two minutes from time. The three points mean Poland have already secured the top spot in qualifying group G with one match still to be played.
Croatia show tenacity, Perišić nets
Croatia, with Ivan Perišić also won their group, ensuring qualification for EURO 2020. In their final qualifying match, the World Cup runners-up showed their tenacity in Rijeka and were able to celebrate with a 3-1 (HT: 0-1) win over Slovakia despite being behind at the break. Nikola Vlašić (56th minute) and Bruno Petković (60th) turned the game around after Róbert Boženík had put the visitors ahead after 32 minutes. Bayern midfielder Perišić made sure of the three points with a goal in the 74th minute. Slovakia had to play with ten men from the 66th minute onwards following a second yellow card for Robert Mak.