Germany resisted a late rally by the Czech Republic to clinch a well-deserved victory in this meeting of the Group D pacesetters.
Kevin Kuranyi headed in twice before Milan Baroš's goal set up a nervous finish. Unbeaten Germany are three points clear of the Czech Republic, who are now ahead of the Republic of Ireland only on goal difference.
Germany on top
It took the visitors just 58 seconds to threaten when Bastian Schweinsteiger's effort from a narrow angle was repelled by Petr Čech. The tempo remained high, with Bernd Schneider nodding a cross from Marcel Jansen past the left post and Schweinsteiger testing Čech again. The goalkeeper then denied the FC Bayern München midfielder for a third time in the first ten minutes with a superb reflex save.
The home No1 remained busy as Lukas Podolski forced another stop from distance but Germany kept pressing and shortly before the break their dominance told. A Torsten Frings corner from the left found Kuranyi and he rose highest to head acrobatically past Čech. In total control, Germany then hit the crossbar through Podolski who unleashed a powerful shot after Kuranyi set him up.
After the interval the Czechs improved, with Jan Koller having an attempt blocked and Baroš going close twice. Germany responded in the 62nd minute with a fantastic counterattack and the rampaging Philipp Lahm's pinpoint cross from the left was nodded in by Kuranyi. With 15 minutes remaining, Jan Polák's long-range strike deflected off Baroš's foot and past Jens Lehmann.
Unbeaten run ends
The Czech Republic had hope again, but despite promising efforts from the goalscorer and Tomáš Rosický their unbeaten start to qualifying ended. They will aim to bounce back against Cyprus on Wednesday while Germany resume qualifying against San Marino on 2 June.
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