Germany's stand-in captain Philipp Lahm says his side did what they came to Brussels to do by leaving Belgium with three points to kick-off their UEFA EURO 2012 qualifying bid.
Lahm, who skippered Germany to the semi-finals of the 2010 FIFA World Cup, is due to hand the armband back to Michael Ballack when coach Joachim Löw decides the veteran midfielder is back to full fitness. But the full-back remained captain in Belgium and paid tribute to Miroslav Klose, whose 53rd international goal earned Group A victory six minutes into the second half.
"We really wanted to take three points from our first qualifying game and we did," Lahm told UEFA.com. "They had one or two chances but we were the better team over the 90 minutes and even had a couple of excellent opportunities to win by more. Klose's a very important player to us and not just for his goal."
Klose's goal had FC Bayern München written all over it as Bastien Schweinsteiger robbed his club-mate Daniel Van Buyten of the ball before Thomas Müller provided the killer pass. Going behind took the stuffing out of a young Belgium team that proved they were no respecters of lofty reputations by setting about the UEFA EURO 2008 runners-up in the first half.
Visiting midfielder Sami Khedira said: "Belgium played very well in the first half. They have a very good team, a very young team with many good players. We play Azerbaijan next and that is a game Germany should win."
Playmaker Eden Hazard, at 19 one of the young players Belgium are pinning their hopes on, felt a draw was in their grasp. "They had more possession than us and they scored a goal more than us, from a mistake, and that was the difference," Hazard said. "If you take that away then I think we could have taken a point from this game."
Belgium have not qualified for a major tournament since the 2002 FIFA World Cup and face a testing trip to Istanbul to face Turkey on Tuesday. Captain Thomas Vermaelen faces the task of lifting his side for a match which will be crucial to the country's hopes, even at this early stage.
The Arsenal FC defender said: "I'm proud but we lost and at the end of the day you want a good result. OK, we were playing Germany but I want to get a result against Germany, against Spain, against everybody. It's all about the points and today we lost."
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