Germany started their 2012 European Championship Group A qualifiers with a 1-0 away win against a strong Belgium at Brussels' Koning Boudewijn Stadium. Seasoned striker Miroslav Klose's goal earned Germany a deserving win against their neighbours and the first three points in the qualifiers.
Germany was forced to make two chances to the starting eleven which lost against Spain in the 2010 FIFA World Cup semifinals as both Arne Friedrich and Jerome Boateng were out injured with the duo being replaced by Holger Badstuber and Marcell Jansen; while the then suspended Thomas Mueller was back in the side. On the other side the young Belgian "Red Devils" did cause some worry initially for the Germans, but the longer the match lasted the more control Germany had over the proceedings. As had been expected Germany couldn't reproduce their World Cup form so early in the season still they showed their winning spirit to take home the three points.
Belgium looked to be the more active side in the first session with Germany committing too many mistakes and playing a lot of wrong passes. 17 year old Anderlecht sensation Romelu Lukaku had the first chance of the night but his effort was blocked by Manuel Neuer in the German goal before collecting the ball. And thereafter both sides had their chances in an open game with a slight advantage for Belgium.
But things would change soon after the break as it was a team effort from Bayern Munich players on both sides. It was the 51st minute as Daniel van Buyten tried to clear the ball out of danger, but it is blocked by club team mate Bastian Schweinsteiger, the ball goes to an alert Thomas Mueller who finds Miroslav Klose in open space and the striker slots home coolly past an onrushing keeper Logan Bailly. Germany could have doubled their lead in the 70th minute when captain Philipp Lahm broke free on the right, centred the ball for Thomas Mueller but his shot just went wide of the goal. Belgium did try to get back into the match, but they just couldn't really bother the German goal in the second session. It ended 1-0 for Germany and they now face Azerbaijan on Tuesday at home in Cologne.
A small funny anecdote from the match in the end, something which I have never seen in such a high profile international match. Belgium's Steven Defour came on as a second half substitute. Defour had been named as no. 15 on the match sheet and should have worn the number on both sides of the jersey. On the front he had a small 15 correctly printed on his jersey, but at the back it showed No. 14. It could have caused some confusion if he had been carded by the referee, but that didn't happen...