Liverpool midfielder capped an excellent performance with his first goal for Germany as Joachim Low’s side thrashed Azerbaijan 5-1 on Sunday night.
Germany 5-1 Azerbaijan
World Cup Qualifier, Fritz-Walter-Stadion
October 8, 2017
Goals: Goretzka 8′ 66′, Wagner 54′, Rudiger 64′, Can 81′; Seydayev 34′
The current World Cup holders had already qualified for next year’s tournament in Russia, allowing Low to experiment for their final Group C clash in Kaiserslautern.
That saw Can make his first start for Germany since June, deploying at the heart of the midfield, flanked by Lars Stindl and Leon Goretzka.
It was Goretzka who got the hosts off to the perfect start, beating Kamran Agayev with an impudent backheel from close range, but Azerbaijan striker Ramil Seydayev equalised on 34 minutes.
Sandro Wagner, who featured for Hoffenheim in both of their Champions League play-off clashes with Liverpool in August, put Germany back in front after half-time.
Then Chelsea defender Antonio Rudiger sent the ball past Agayev to extend Low’s side’s lead, before Goretzka capped his double just two minutes later.
Germany’s performance was as clinical as ever, and it fell to Can to deliver the final blow to Azerbaijan.
The 23-year-old picked the ball up from Matthias Ginter 30 yards out, before stepping forward and firing an unstoppable effort into the top corner to make it 5-1.
It was Can’s first goal in 18 appearances for Germany, and one well-deserved, following an outstanding all-round performance.
Can had 139 touches of the ball, more than any other player, and attempted 126 passes, with a success rate of 89.7 percent, as well as making three successful tackles.
His display in the No. 6 role, albeit against lowly opposition, should pique the interest of Jurgen Klopp.
Jordan Henderson was unimpressive as England’s holding midfielder in both of their qualifiers in October, with the Reds captain not offering enough dynamism in the middle of the park.
Can could be the ideal replacement in the Liverpool midfield, as Klopp seeks to prove his future lies on Merseyside.
Germany won every game in their qualifying group as they booked their place in Russia, scoring 43 goals and conceding just four, and should head into the World Cup as heavy favourites.