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Germany make a winning start

Japan 0-3 Germany Michael Ballack provides a goal and an assist as Germany begin their Asian tour with a win.

Japan 0-3 Germany

Michael Ballack gave an outstanding display for Germany in their 3-0 win against Japan in a friendly international in Yokohama today.

One goal, one assist
The FC Bayern München midfielder and national team captain set up Miroslav Klose's opening strike on 54 minutes with a free-kick that goalkeeper Seigo Narazaki palmed into Klose's path, leaving the Werder Bremen striker with a tap-in. Fifteen minutes later Ballack was released by Gerald Asamoah and shook off a defender before beating Narazaki with a vicious effort from the edge of the area. Klose sealed a comfortable victory with his second goal in added time.

Debut for defenders
Germany coach Jürgen Klinsmann changed his normal 4-4-2 tactics for the first match of his team's tour of Asia and looked to a more attacking 4-3-3 lineup, handing debuts to right-back Patrick Owomoyela and left-back Christian Schulz.

Bright start
Germany started brightly and could have taken the lead after only 42 seconds. Bernd Schneider fed the ball to Fabian Ernst in the box, but the Bremen midfielder pulled his shot wide. The pace of the game slowed considerably after that and Germany needed 15 minutes before coming close again, when Ballack was denied twice. However, the captain's efforts were rewarded after half-time as the visitors triumphed at the scene of their 2002 FIFA World Cup final defeat - a match Ballack missed through suspension.

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