German coach Jürgen Klinsmann paid tribute to Arsenal goalkeeper Jens Lehmann who had a rare chance to take over from Oliver Kahn in the 2-0 friendly win over Iran in Tehran on Saturday.
Germany's Ernst (right) gets ready to score
Lehmann was given his chance after Kahn was rested for the first ever meeting between the two nations which was watched by a crowd of 100,000 at the Azadi Stadium in the Iranian capital Tehran.
It was the first time in decades that Iran hosted a major world soccer power and according to news reports, another 150,000 fans who could not get tickets waited outside the stadium.
Soccer fans in Tehran's Azadi stadium before the match
According to Reuters news agency, Iranian women were not allowed to see the match after the football federation had upheld a ban on them entering stadiums even though women are the Islamic country's most passionate fans. However, German women were allowed to attend.
Fabian Ernst, after five minutes, opened the scoring for Germany with Thomas Brdaric adding the second in the 53rd minute.
But Klinsmann preferred to bask in the knowledge of having two top class goalkeepers to call upon when his country hosts the 2006 World Cup finals.
A chance to experiment
"We have the fortune to have two such goalkeepers," said Klinsmann, aware of the fierce rivalry between the two men for the number one spot in the national team. "It is a business that we are going to discuss calmly in the dressing room over the next week."
Lehmann did his chances of further appearances no harm at all although Klinsmann is set to keep faith with Kahn.
The Arsenal man was called into action to make three good saves to deny Iran, traditionally one of the strongest sides in Asia, in the 35th, 40th and 41st minutes.
Lehmann (photo) refused to be drawn into protesting his case.
"I would prefer to speak of the experience of playing in Iran in front of such a big crowd," said Lehmann whose team mates received a rapturous welcome. "The discussion doesn't interest me."
Since Germany has already qualified for the 2006 finals as host country, the team used the match as a chance to experiment: In addition to Lehmann, Klinsmann also tested Chelsea defender Robert Huth and Aston Villa's Thomas Hitzlsperger.
"We gained a huge amount of experience here, standing firm in front of an amazing crowd of over 100,000," Klinsmann said, according to Reuters. "We had a very young team. We suffered from some nervousness in the first half, but after that things went smoother against a
very good Iran side."