Mario Gomez continued his great run at Euro 2012 with two more goals as Germany took a giant step towards the quarter-finals with an unsteady 2-1 victory on Wednesday over the Netherlands, who are still alive to reach the knock-out stages.
After scoring Germany’s sole goal in their opening victory in Group B over Portugal, Gomez scored in the 24th and 38th minutes for a 2-0 Germany lead at Metalist Stadium in Kharkiv.
The Dutch pushed forward for all their Euro lives and Robin van Persie pulled a goal back in the 73rd minute to make it 2-1. But it was not enough.
The victory gives Germany six points atop Group B while Denmark and Portugal both have three points and the Netherlands remain alive with zero points.
The game started in fantastic fashion as van Persie got behind the German defence but could not beat German keeper Manuel Neuer in the seventh minute from close range.
Germany were unfazed and had a chance of their own just a minute later as Mesut Oezil struck his left foot blast off the near right post.
Germany stormed ahead 1-0 in the 24th minute as Bastian Schweinsteiger sent a perfectly-timed through ball to Gomez, who ran onto the ball, turned and then beat Dutch keeper Maarten Stekelenburg.
The Dutch keeper proved his star status 10 minutes later, making a great save on a Holger Badstuber header from four yards out after a free kick from Oezil.
But Germany doubled their lead in the 38th minute with the magical Bayern connection as Schweinsteiger fed another pass into the box where Gomez sent a powerful blast just inside the far left post for his third goal in two games.
Dutch coach Bert van Marwijk reacted at half-time bringing in Rafael van der Vaart and Klaas-Jan Huntelaar for Mark van Bommel and Ibrahim Afellay.
Stekelenburg was forced to make a double save in the 52nd minute - both times stopping German defender Mats Hummels.
The Dutch picked up the pressure shortly thereafter and German keeper Neuer made a superb stop on van Persie in the 58th minute and Jerome Boateng threw himself in the way of Wesley Sneijder’s blast in the 71st minute.
But the German defence could not stop van Persie from pulling a goal back in the 73rd minute as the Arsenal attacker raced across the edge of the area before unleashing a blast through the legs of Badstuber and past Neuer to make it 2-1.
The Oranje were in essence taking shooting practice against Neuer.
But they could not overcome the Bayern Munich keeper.
The end of the match did have a negative for Germany as Boateng saw yellow in the 87th minute - meaning the defender will miss Germany’s next contest with a second bookable offence in the tournament.
Germany’s final Group B match is Sunday against Denmark in Lviv while the Netherlands take on Portugal in Kharkiv.