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2-0 against Poles

Podolski seals dream start for Germans

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Polish-born Bayern and Germany marksman Lukas Podolski scored both goals on Sunday evening as Germany downed Poland 2-0 to get their Euro 2008 campaign off to the best possible start. Podolski, named man of the match by European governing body UEFA at the final whistle, was one of five FCB stars to feature in the Germans’ first win at a European championship since 1996, alongside Philipp Lahm, Marcel Jansen, Miroslav Klose and Bastian Schweinsteiger, a second-half substitute for Clemens Fritz.

Coach Joachim Löw defied media speculation before the match by electing to start with recognised striker Podolski instead of Schweinsteiger on the left side of midfield, and was duly rewarded as the hitman took his total to 27 goals in 49 internationals in an end-to-end encounter full of incident.

Klose as provider

The Bayern contingent played a full role in an ultimately deserved victory, full-backs Lahm and Jansen covering acres of ground to supply plenty of attacking impulse as well as solid performances in defence. The Poles upped the tempo after the break but both Munich defenders coped admirably.

However, Bayern strikers were destined to be the stars of the evening. Klose rapidly recovered from misplacing a pass to the unmarked Mario Gomez with only keeper Lukasz Fabianski to beat after just four minutes, coolly laying off from a similar position on the right edge of the box for Podolski to slot home the 20th minute opener. Löw’s men chose to sit on their lead and the Poles set the pace in the ten minutes before and 20 minutes after the interval, but the German defence restricted their opponents to a few long-range efforts.

Schweinsteiger’s determination

Schweinsteiger then produced his best moment of the night, recovering a seemingly lost ball on the edge of the Polish box and squaring towards the penalty spot. Klose’s miscue landed kindly for Podolski, the Bayern striker blasting home on the volley with his trusty left boot from 12 yards to settle the issue with 20 minutes remaining.

The Germans lead the Group B standings on goal difference from Croatia, 1-0 winners over co-hosts Austria earlier in the day courtesy of a fourth-minute Luka Modric penalty. Germany meet the Croats in their second group match on 12 June.