Germany edge combative Austria
Germany edged a combative Austria 2-1 to confirm their top spot in Group C after Tuesday's 2014 World Cup qualifier in Vienna.
After a 3-0 victory against the Faroe Islands in Friday's first qualifier, Germany secured another three points thanks to goals in either half from Marco Reus and Mesut Ozil to stay top of Group C with six points, ahead of Ireland and Sweden, who defeated Kazakhstan 2-0 on Tuesday.
Werder Bremen midfielder Zlatko Junuzovic saved Austrian honour with a 57th-minute goal in their first match of the campaign in front of 47,000 spectators at the sold-out Ernst Happel Stadium.
An Austria side containing nine players who ply their trade in the German Bundesliga had started strongly, with a first chance after just three minutes, but Bayern Munich defender Holger Badstuber got between VfB Stuttgart's Martin Harnik and goal.
Although the Germans tried to fight back, their opponents had the best chances of the half, with Harnik and veteran international Andreas Ivanschitz shooting just wide of the net on several occasions.
Borussia Dortmund's Reus finally broke the deadlock a minute before half time, slotting a Miroslav Klose assist past Austrian goalkeeper Robert Almer.
The Germans were then awarded a penalty seven minutes into the second half when Austria's Veli Kavlak brought down Thomas Mueller.
Dutch referee Bjoern Kuipers pointed to the spot, and Real Madrid's Ozil expertly converted to make it 2-0.
The Austrians' early fighting spirit reappeared however as Junuzovic hit the back of the net five minutes later.
A mistake by German skipper Philipp Lahm almost allowed Guido Burgstaller to equalise with 20 minutes left, but further pressing by the Austrians failed to alter the scoreline, despite a couple of good chances for Marko Arnautovic.
"I'm very happy with the result because we got three points away in Austria against a strong team," Germany coach Joachim Loew said after the match.
"With the game itself, I'm only marginally happy... all the Austrian chances came from errors on our part. After the 2-1, we should have controlled the game. We were lucky Arnautovic missed that chance."
Austria's Swiss coach Marcel Koller regretted that his team's performance did not secure at least one point.
"We showed we could play well but unfortunately the points didn't reflect that," he said.
"When you lose, you're not happy. But how it happened, how they played, that was good. We need to keep that up," he added, as Austria prepare to face Kazakhstan twice next month.
Germany next face Ireland away and Sweden at home in October.
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