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West Germany compound Denmark's blues in EURO 1988 Group 1

West Germany 2-0 Denmark
Goals from Jürgen Klinsmann and Olaf Thon did the damage.

Jürgen Klinsmann skips through a Danish challenge
Jürgen Klinsmann skips through a Danish challenge Bongarts/Getty Images

West Germany beat Denmark 2-0 to confirm themselves as real contenders yet again, while condemning Josef Piontek's team to an early exit and the end of an era.

While Piontek brought Lars Olsen back in at the back, he opted to deploy Morten Olsen, one of the great sweepers, in midfield. Not only out of position, but creaking at the age of 39, he was comfortably swept aside by his German counterparts. Søren Lerby subsequently struggled alongside Morten Olsen and was responsible for Franz Beckenbauer's team's early goal.

EURO 1988: All you need to know

Lerby headed across his own penalty area with ten minutes gone and when Rudi Völler challenged Peter Schmeichel, the loose ball dropped to Jürgen Klinsmann, who made no mistake. With Michael Laudrup marked out of the game, Denmark, meanwhile, struggled to launch an attack of note.

West Germany's golden boys in Gelsenkirchen
West Germany's golden boys in GelsenkirchenGetty Images

West Germany were in total command but were unable to find the goal their dominance warranted; Frank Mill headed against a post before, finally, with five minutes left, Olaf Thon – the smallest man on the pitch – headed in substitute Pierre Littbarski's corner.

EURO 1988: Team of the Tournament


West Germany: Immel; Buchwald (Borowka 33), Herget, Kohler; Brehme, Thon, Matthäus (c), Littbarski, Rolff; Völler (Mill 74), Klinsmann
Substitutes: Illgner, Wuttke, Eckstein
Coach: Franz Beckenbauer

Denmark: Schmeichel; Nielsen, Lars Olsen, Sivebæk; Heintze, Lerby, Morten Olsen (c), Laudrup (Eriksen 62), Vilfort (Berggreen 73); Povlsen, Elkjær
Substitutes: Rasmussen, Busk, Jesper Olsen
: Sepp Piontek

Referee: Robert Valentine (Scotland)