Despite his struggles at Bayern Munich, Goetze fires up Germany
Troubled and struggling at Bayern Munich, forward thrives under Loew
(Thomas Mueller 12, Mario Goetze 19, 82)
(Robert Lewandowski 36)
Facing an uncertain future yet still rising to the occasion, Mario Goetze continues to epitomise Germany's hopes and dreams.
Last summer's World Cup-winning strike is becoming an increasingly faded memory, but the Bayern Munich outcast has become the face of Joachin Loew's latest golden generation.
Thomas Mueller may have set Germany on their way to banishing the memory of Poland's historic victory in Warsaw little under a year ago, but at the Commerzbank Arena in Frankfurt yesterday morning (Singapore time), Goetze was their all-action hero, as the world champions reasserted themselves in the Group D Euro 2016 qualifying campaign.
Five days after that euphoric night at the Maracana, Philipp Lahm called time on his international career. The World Cup hangover has lingered for the best part of 13 months.
Few envisaged that the antidote lay with Goetze, the forgotten man of Bavaria.
The 22-year-old's predicament at Bayern has dominated the Bundesliga headlines of late, with honorary president Franz Beckenbauer publicly challenging him to "finally grow up".
A confident performance backed up by two well-taken goals - one of individual brilliance - and a timely goal-line clearance, was a perfect and fitting rebuttal to Der Kaiser.
Loew, too, will feel vindication in his selections. Karim Bellarabi and Jonas Hector's one-touch play in the prelude to Mueller's opener belied their relative inexperience as latecomers to the international stage.
Just 11 months into his Germany career, Hector proved a catalytic wild card which the Polish defence struggled to contain as he provided Mueller and Goetze with an assist apiece.
Bellarabi also impressed, barely a year since making his Die Mannschaft bow, but finesse eluded him, not least when Mueller peeled off Lukasz Piszczek to give the Bayer Leverkusen star licence to shoot.
Germany's ascent to the summit of their Euro 2016 qualifying group, leapfrogging their visitors, was not without more glaring imperfections.
Lahm's sceptre still casts a shadow over their defence, with Emre Can the latest charged with the unenviable tasked of filling his positional void.
The Liverpool midfielder could have been forgiven for expecting his days of being experimentally deployed as a right back to have come to an end.
After Kamil Grosicki was afforded free reign to tee up Robert Lewandowski to hand Poland a lifeline, Loew may share a similar thought process.
For all his endeavours in repelling Lewandowski and Grosicki, Manuel Neuer proved more a cause than cure of Germany's defensive woes at times.
A poor clearance found Grzegorz Krychowiak, allowing Lewandowski to break free to take aim at his advancing Bayern teammate.
Fortune favoured Neuer, but it was not long before Goetze was called to his country's aid again with a headed clearance off the line to deny Lewandowski an equaliser after he was allowed to head unchallenged with the game delicately poised.
His country's eighth strike off the woodwork in this qualification campaign denied the man of the moment a hat-trick but, with a place at next summer's championships now appearing assured, Goetze has restored "uber alles" to the German status quo.
Now to slay the Scots
World Cup-winners Germany are brimming with confidence ahead of Tuesday morning's (Singapore time) Euro 2016 qualifier against Scotland in Glasgow that could see them book their ticket for next year's Finals, after beating rivals Poland 3-1 to take control of Group D.
A win against Scotland, combined with a defeat for Ireland against Georgia, would see the Germans open up a seven-point gap to the third-placed team with two matches remaining and secure a top-two finish for a ticket to France next year, a completely different situation from only a few days ago.
The top two teams of each group automatically qualify with some teams who finish third going into the play-offs.
"The Scots lost (1-0) to Georgia and so at home, if they want to have a chance of qualifying, they must invest a bit more in attack," Germany coach Joachim Loew said.
"So we don't expect to have such defensive opponents as with Poland."
The win over the Poles boosted the Germans' confidence after a shaky qualifying start following their World Cup win last year - suffering a shock 2-0 loss to the Poles in Warsaw 11 months ago.
"We succeeded with a series of combinations and a great positioning game to beat them," Loew said.
"We will remain equally focused in Scotland and win that game as well."
The Germans could arguably now have a somewhat easier task with their next opponents desperate for points, leaving them more space than teams usually do against them.
Toni Kroos echoed Loew's sentiments ahead of the Hampden Park encounter.
"It was a deserved win, but on occasion we invited Poland to attack us, which we have to improve," said the Real Madrid midfielder.
"All in all, it was a good win, but Scotland could be unpleasant opponents to face (after their defeat) and we're been warned."
Loew sprang a surprise before kick-off by naming Liverpool midfielder Emre Can, 21, at right back, but the experiment was only a partial success and the debutant was caught out for Poland's goal.
The Germans were also guilty of several stray passes in midfield.
"We're certainly relieved that we won, but I would have liked to see that we are a little more stable and not play so many bad passes," said Thomas Mueller.
"Overall, we are satisfied. We've beaten the strongest opponents in the group.
"Now we're group leaders, which was where we wanted to be." - Wire Services.
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