Football

Teammates refute Hummels' 'arrogance' accusation

Germany's Mats Hummels has accused his teammates of being arrogant in their 4-1 win over Azerbaijan in Group C yesterday morning (Singapore time).

The world champions conceded their first goal since July, but still extended their perfect record in the World Cup qualifiers to five games, thanks to an Andre Schuerrle brace in Baku.

"We were rather arrogant today, which isn't nice, and we made life harder for ourselves than it should have been," Hummels admitted to broadcaster RTL.

The Bayern Munich defender said possession was given away too cheaply and there were sloppy challenges as his side struggled to hit top gear.

However, those remarks were refuted by his teammates in German daily Bild.

Bayer Leverkusen goalkeeper Bernd Leno, who took the place of the injured Manuel Neuer, said: "Arrogant might be a bit too strong. Sure, we have made too many simple mistakes but, overall, the team showed a solid performance and delivered a convincing result."

Right back Joshua Kimmich and fellow centre back Benedikt Hoewedes also disagreed with Hummels' choice of words.

Said Kimmich: "I do not think it was arrogant.

"I believe that Azerbaijan just did not play badly.

"That surprised us. They held the ball well and were aggressive. In the end, we won 4-1, even if we did not show our best performance. That shows what quality we have."

Hoewedes added: "I could have found other words.

"We cannot be quite satisfied because we have played a bit and we had some unnecessary loss of ball possession. We sometimes made life a little difficult."

First-half goals by Schuerrle, Thomas Mueller and Mario Gomez put Germany 3-1 up at the break after Azerbaijan midfielder Dimitrij Nazarov had netted an early equaliser to the delight of the home crowd.

It was the first goal Germany had conceded following seven clean sheets - a national team record.

Schuerrle then added a late fourth goal to put the result beyond doubt.

Germany coach Joachim Loew agreed with Hummels' appraisal and admitted that Die Mannschaft were far from perfect.

"I am satisfied, but there was some negligence. All that glitters is not gold," said Loew. - WIRE SERVICES

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