VIENNA - Germany striker Mario Gomez
enjoyed a night to remember in Vienna on Friday, scoring both
goals in a 2-1 win over Austria in the same stadium where three
years ago he endured one of his most embarrassing gaffes.
Gomez probably still cringes at the Euro 2008 group match
where he contrived to miss from three metres against the same
opponents, somehow scooping the ball into the air and seeing it
headed off the line by a defender.
Although Germany won 1-0, he was substituted and the match
effectively ended his tournament as he lost his starting place
in the team and made only a brief appearance in the final as a
There was no hint of trauma as he returned to the
Ernst-Happel stadium to snatch a late win for an injury-hit,
below-par and weary Germany against feisty opponents in their
Euro 2012 qualifier.
"In the second half, he was always on the mark," said coach
Joachim Low after a difficult match against opponents 70 places
below Germany in the world rankings and determined to cause an
"He only had a bit-part at the World Cup and also at Bayern
at the start of this season. But he is bursting with
self-belief. He has the self-assurance to turn a chance into a
It was the perfect way to end a season which has seen Gomez
revive his career.
The 25-year-old became the Bundesliga's most expensive
signing when he joined Bayern Munich from VfB Stuttgart two
But he struggled in his first season with the Bavarians and
made only four substitute appearances for Germany at the World
Cup last year.
This year, an injury crisis at Bayern let him back into the
first team and he took the chance with both hands, finishing as
the Bundesliga's top scorer with 28 goals and also scoring eight
times in the Champions League.
His tally included a remarkable six hat-tricks.
Low, who fielded a starting line-up with an average age of
24, admitted that Germany were far from their best despite
notching their sixth straight win Group A.
"It was a lucky win and we did not make the most of our
technical superiority," said Low, whose players now face a
long-trip to Azerbaijan for another qualifier on Tuesday to
round off an exhausting season.
"We made too many mistakes, did not play clearly and, in
every part of the team, we were not precise or dynamic enough."
Without directly mentioning the international calendar, Low
added that the short break after last year's World Cup in South
Africa had caused knock-on effects for his players throughout
"I had the feeling that a lot of players, especially the
ones who took part in the World Cup, were at the limit of their
strength after a long season," he said.
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