France squeezed a 1-0 victory out of an unconvincing performance in Wednesday's World Cup qualifier in the Faroe Islands while Germany laboured to a 2-0 win in Azerbaijan.
France had forward Andre-Pierre Gignac's low 42nd-minute shot to thank for a triumph that lifts them within five points of Group Seven leaders Serbia with a game in hand.
With striker Thierry Henry injured and playmaker Franck Ribery only fit enough to come on in the second half, the former world champions struggled for rhythm although they never looked like conceding against dogged opponents.
Azerbaijan were no pushovers in Group Four either.
They made a bright start in Baku only for midfielder Bastian Schweinsteiger to give Germany the lead against the run of play, driving the ball in from the edge of the box in the 12th minute.
The visitors rode their luck on a couple of occasions before Miroslav Klose made up for a dreadful first-half miss by doubling the lead with a header in the 54th minute.
Germany lead the group with 19 points from seven games, four more than second-placed Russia who have played six matches.