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From Manuel to Mario

Germans grateful to Bayern contingent

Germany opened their Euro 2012 campaign with a win, defeating Portugal 1–0 in their first group match largely thanks to fine contributions from the seven Bayern men in the starting line-up. Coach Joachim Löw's side can now book a place in the quarter-finals with a victory over World Cup runners-up the Netherlands on Wednesday.

The match winner on the night was striker Mario Gomez, a slightly surprising choice at centre forward ahead of experienced ex-FCB man Miroslav Klose. “He's been a regular for the whole season and scored lots of goals," explained Löw, whose faith in Gomez was repaid on 72 minutes with the winning goal. It was Mario's first goal at a major tournament, and an exceptionally important one to boot. “It speaks volumes for his quality. One chance, one goal," the head coach continued.

Penalty box assassin

“I thought to myself: you'll get one more chance, and that's what happened," the player said after his 45th goal in 58 matches this season. Klose was warmed up and ready to replace the Munich striker, but returned to the bench after the match-winning strike. “The cross was deflected and landed right on my forehead, so it wasn't especially difficult," Gomez noted. Shortly after his opener, he narrowly failed to put away a second after excellent build-up play by Thomas Müller.

“Mario's unbelievable in the box at moments like that," commented captain Philipp Lahm, “it was an important goal for him personally." Dortmund centre-back Mats Hummels, who played alongside Holger Badstuber in a reprise of their long partnership in the Bayern youth section, reckoned Gomez was “the decisive factor in the win."