German fans breathed a sigh of relief as Jürgen Klinsmann's team bore the fruits of moderate success. Germany, and Kevin Kuranyi specifically, disposed of Austria 3-1 in Vienna on Wednesday.
Former striker Klinsmann only once forgot that he wasn't playing
German manager Jürgen Klinsmann started his managerial career with a 3-1 friendly win over Austria here on Wednesday as he bids to rebuild confidence after the Euro 2004 fiasco.
A first ever international hat-trick from VfB Stuttgart's Kevin Kuranyi ensured Germany victory over their neighbors in what new Germany coach Jürgen Klinsmann hopes is the first step towards success in the 2006 World Cup on home soil.
"To win the first match is a bonus," enthused Klinsmann. "I was nervous and excited but I have to get used to that. I am delighted with the way my players approached this match."
With no club coaching experience to call upon, 1990 World Cup winner Klinsmann, 40, took up an unfamiliar place in the dug-out alongside assistants Joachim Loew and Oliver Bierhoff. The trio was quickly on their feet to celebrate as Kuranyi latched on to an exquisite pass from Michael Ballack -- an inspiration in his first match as captain -- to slot home just 96 seconds into the match.
"Michael Ballack led the team brilliantly," lauded Klinsmann. "He is a world class player and will grow into the role."
The lead was short-lived as Austria leveled in the 10th minute with Rene Amerhauser unleashing an unstoppable left-footed drive that left Oliver Kahn with no chance.
Asamoah's return lauded
Schalke 04 front-man Gerald Asamoah -- back after two years in the wilderness -- went close to restoring Germany's lead on 17 minutes but his lob landed on top of the net. It was one of many indications that the Germans had been addressing the offensive problems that had led to a goal-starved Euro 2004 campaign.
Germany carved open the better chances but things were less assured at the back. The new central defensive pairing of Werder Bremen debutant Frank Fahrenhorst and Bayern Munich's Thomas Linke looked fragile at times.
Kuranyi hat-trick delights coach
Klinsmann congratulates scorer Kevin Kuranyi.
After the interval, Klinsmann's troops stepped up the tempo and with 61 minutes on the clock Kuranyi struck again leaping highest to bullet a header into the bottom corner. The Brazilian-born attacker, 22, then sealed his hat-trick on 73 minutes after Austrian goalkeeper Thomas Mandl fumbled a long ball into his path. "Everything went according to plan," said Kuranyi. "The manager put his faith in me and I repaid it with three goals."
Chelsea defender Robert Huth celebrated his 20th birthday with his international bow five minutes from time as Klinsmann underlined his emphasis on giving youth a chance. Brazil are Germany's next opponents on September 8 in Berlin and it will be interesting to see whether Klinsmann recalls some of the more recognized stars for the clash with the World Cup holders.
New Germany captain Michael Ballack.
Despite the win new skipper Ballack, 27, insisted Germany have to improve considerably if they are to be touted as contenders for the 2006 World Cup. "It was a new beginning with a new coach," explained Ballack. "But we still have an inexperienced team and a lot of work in front of us. Two years is not that long to prepare."