LEIPZIG - Germany stayed top of the World Cup Group Four qualifying table by destroying Liechtenstein 4-0 on Saturday. Captain Michael Ballack and Marcell Jansen scored inside the first eight minutes before Bastian Schweinsteiger and Lukas Podolski completed the rout early in the second half. Germany, who also missed a host of chances, have 13 points from five matches. Russia are second on nine points and have a game in hand. The home side made their intentions clear from the start when the luckless Mario Gomez headed a Jansen cross just wide after 20 seconds. Ballack fired the opening goal after four minutes when his powerful volley from the edge of the box gave Liechtenstein keeper Peter Jehle no chance. Jansen was also on target four minutes later when he pounced on a bad clearance by Jehle to score from close range. An unmarked Ballack should have added a third goal in the 36th minute but his weak chip was blocked by the keeper. Podolski then went close with a low drive and Jansen hit the crossbar with a header before the break. Schweinsteiger made it 3-0 after 48 minutes before Podolski took his goal tally to 32 in 61 international appearances. However, Podolski's fellow striker Gomez drew another blank as he made it 13 matches for Germany without a goal. Next up for the Germans is a game against Wales in Cardiff on Wednesday.
28 March 2009
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