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Germans off to flyer

Klose and Müller on target in 4-0 romp

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A sizeable Bayern contingent contributed positively to Germany's impressive 4-0 thrashing of a weak Australia side on Sunday night, as Joachim Löw's men produced the best performance of an otherwise low-key World Cup to date. Miroslav Klose took his overall tally to eleven goals at the finals and Thomas Müller also scored in the second half, with team captain Philipp Lahm, defender Holger Badstuber, midfielder Bastian Schweinsteiger and late sub Mario Gomez completing the Munich backbone to the side.

Former FCB man Lukas Podolski opened the scoring with a left-foot drive from Müller’s cut-back after just eight minutes, before Klose doubled the advantage with a header from Lahm’s cross midway through the first half. Australia had Tim Cahill red-carded for a challenge on Schweinsteiger, before Müller fired the third after 68 minutes and sub Cacau rounded off the scoring 20 minutes from time.

Klose strike settles Germans

The 62,660 at the Moses Mabhida Stadium in Durban witnessed an impressive display from the three-time winners, certain to earn them respect in the matches to come. Müller burst down the right on eight minutes and delivered a fine cut-back into space inside the box for Podolski to smack home the opener. Klose missed with the goal at his mercy after 25 minutes, but made amends two minutes later with a trademark header from Lahm’s cross.

A good display and the goal were a relief for Klose after a difficult season in the Bundesliga. “I know what I can do. I felt great today and made a contribution,” he declared after winning a 97th senior cap. As ever, the striker put the team ahead of his own performance. “I think it all went very well for us. It’s incredibly important for it to work out straight away in the first match. Other teams will respect us now, but we’ve achieved nothing yet, although you could see our young team really enjoying itself.”

Cool customers Müller and Badstuber

At the other end of the experience scale, Bayern youngsters Badstuber and Müller looked supremely composed as each won his third cap. Badstuber turned in a solid display at left-back, with Müller crowning an increasingly assured display with a well-taken maiden international goal. “We wre well-organised and refused to be intimidated by the Australians. We can be very pleased with a 4-0 win,” he summarised.

Schweinsteiger reproduced his recent fine form for Bayern in the role of midfield organiser, riding a number of rough challenges from a physical Australia side. Cahill’s dismissal on 56 minutes for a sliding tackle on the 25-year-old ended the Aussies’ lingering resistance. “Winning is good for our confidence, because you’re always a bit tense beforehand and you don’t know where you stand. We played some good football, and we just need to keep that up,” Schweinsteiger commented. “However, we have to be keeping it tighter at the back.”

Lahm urges caution

Lahm had every reason to be pleased with his debut as captain at a World Cup, but he too issued a warning. The Bayern stalwart cleared Australia’s solitary decent chance of the match off the line in the opening minutes with keeper Manuel Neuer beaten. “Let’s not forget we were a bit lucky right at the start,” said Lahm. “Before the tournament, we were convinced we could do well, but there’s a long, long way to go.”

The Germans’ next Group D fixture is on Friday against Serbia, beaten 1-0 by Ghana in the afternoon match. A win would see Löw’s side safely through to the Round of 16 in advance of their third game against the Africans on Wednesday 23 June. “There’s only one target for us now: a place in the last sixteen as soon as possible,” declared Schweinsteiger.