HAMBURG, Germany (Reuters) – Substitute Thomas Mueller scored an 81st minute winner to complete Germany’s 2-1 comeback win over visitors Romania in their 2022 World Cup qualifier on Friday that kept them on course for a spot in next year’s tournament.
The Germans, who have now won all four matches under new coach Hansi Flick, lead the standings in Group J with 18 points from seven matches, six ahead of North Macedonia and Armenia.
They could now seal their spot with a win over North Macedonia next week.
The hosts had the upper hand but it was the visitors who struck first with Ianis Hagi taking on two defenders, slipping the ball through the legs of Antonio Ruediger and then drilling in for the lead in the ninth minute.
Germany had possession and full control, spending most of the first 45 minutes in the Romanian half but lacking some clinical finish, with Serge Gnabry and Leon Goretzka coming close.
Gnabry did find the deserved equaliser in the 52nd, firing in a low shot from the edge of the box for his 20th goal in his 30th international appearance.
The hosts kept combining well as Romania pulled back deeper into their own half and got the winner when Mueller, who had come on midway through the second half, tapped in at the far post after Goretzka headed on a corner.
(Reporting by Karolos Grohmann; Editing by Christian Radnedge)