Loew relieved by Germany's winning start

September 3, 2006

BERLIN, Sept 3 (Reuters) - Relieved Germany coach Joachim Loew can look forward to a perfect six-point start in Euro 2008 qualifying after his side showed a gap of almost three years had not dulled their qualifying instincts.

Germany were far from their best against Ireland in Stuttgart in their first Group D qualifier on Saturday but managed to grab a 1-0 win thanks to a deflected Lukas Podolski strike.

The Germans should have little difficulty making that two wins out of two when they travel to take on San Marino on Wednesday.

That sort of start would ease the pressure on the inexperienced Loew, who stepped up to replace Juergen Klinsmann after Germany finished third at the World Cup, an event they qualified for automatically as hosts.

'It was a difficult birth but even a difficult birth can produce a beautiful child,' Loew said of the narrow victory over Ireland.

'The goal was always to get six points from the first two games and we can do that now. It will put us in a very good position.'

Loew was particularly impressed to see his patched-together defence keep a clean sheet.

'They did their jobs very well, especially considering they had never played together before.'

Germany were missing all four of the central defenders Loew and Klinsmann took to the World Cup but the new partnership of Manuel Friedrich and Arne Friedrich looked a solid one against the Irish.

Manuel Friedrich took a blow to his ankle but should be fit for the San Marino game.