Bundesliga Bundesliga 2


Thrill of anticipation: Germany's fans were in great expectation as Joachim Löw's men kicked off their Euro 2012 campaign in Poland and Ukraine against Portugal Seven Bayern Munich players featured against Christiano Ronaldo (r., against Jerome Boateng) and Co. in Germany's hard-fought opening game One of them was Mario Gomez, who broke the deadlock after 72 minutes with a header from Sami Khedira's cross to seal all three points for Germany Bastian Schweinsteiger (l.) pulled the strings in the second game against Rafael van der Vaart's (r.) Netherlands side, and he provided assists... ...for both of Mario Gomez's (r.) goals in the action-packed 2-1 which saw Germany well on course after the knock-out stages Yet, a defeat against Denmark and Portugal overcoming the Netherlands in the parallel game would still have meant Germany would have had to travel home. Lukas Podolski marked the three-times European champions' 1-0 on his 100th cap, but their northern neighbours soon levelled matters which added to the tension... ...until ten minutes from time, Bayer Leverkusen's Lars Bender on one of his few forays forward struck Germany's winner Head coach Joachim Löw surprised most by choosing a much-changed first eleven for the quarter-final encounter against Greece, handing Miroslav<br> Klose (back, r.), Andre Schürrle (front, 2nd l.) and Marco Reus (front, c.) starting berths over Gomez, Podolski and Thomas Müller Germany struggled for a long time to find a way through Kyriakos Papadopoulos (r., of Schalke 04) & Co.'s deep-lying defence However, goals from Philipp Lahm (r.), Sami Khedira, Miroslav Klose and Marco Reus (l.) eventually helped Germany to a 4-2 victory Final stop: Germany met match against Italy in the semi-finals, where Mario Balotelli (l.) & Co. proved too clever Toni Kroos (l.) was one of three new players in Germany's starting line-up, but Löw's tactical changes came to no avail Reus, who put on an outstanding display in the previous match against Greece, came on at half-time and saw one of his free-kicks hit the crossbar.<br> Germany's efforts came too late as Balotelli's two first-half goals saw Italy through 2-1 There was much disappointment after the 2-1 defeat, in which Müller came on for the final stages Meanwhile, on club level, the Bundesliga started strengthening their squads for the 2012/13 season. Czech <br> Republic international Vaclav Pilar was snapped up by VfL Wolfsburg... ...but the club lost their Croatian striker Mario Mandzukic (front), who with three goals topped the scoring charts at Euro 2012 Wolfsburg found a replacement, though, in Bas Dost, the Dutch first division's top goalscorer with 32 strikes in 34 games, who arrived from SC Herenveen Surprise package Borussia Mönchengladbach, fourth in the 2011/12 campaign, signed Spanish defender Alvaro <br>Dominguez as a replacement for Dante who joined Bayern Munich
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