CARDIFF (AFP) - Germany coach Joachim Loew was in a relaxed mood Sunday after watching his side reinforce their bid to qualify for Euro 2008 with a comfortable 2-0 win over Wales.
On his debut as Germany captain, Bayern Munich striker Miroslav Klose scored after just five minutes of Saturday's qualifier at Cardiff's Millennium Stadium as the guests ripped open the host's defence.
Klose, who was winning his 70th cap, added a second by scoring his 35th goal for his country with a bullet-header on the hour mark as Germany outclassed a limited Welsh side.
The Germans have now won seven of their eight qualifying games and are five points clear at the top of Group D, with a win over rivals the Czech Republic on October 17 in Munich their main obstacle on the path to Euro 2008.
"The pressure we have been feeling is now gone and I feel we have everything in hand," said Loew.
"We took a big step towards qualification and I am delighted with the result. We began strongly and played some class football.
"There were a lot of positives from the game, but we still have a lot to work on. But this is a strong group of players who work hard."
With just seven points from seven games, Wales coach John Toshack had no complaints. The gulf in class between the sides on the pitch looked every one of the 69 places, according to FIFA's world rankings.
Loew admitted his side took their foot off the gas in the second half, with Klose squandering several chances to complete his hat-trick and the result could have been much higher.
Toshack, who lost captain and West Ham striker Craig Bellamy the night before the game after complications with his newly-born baby, said his side had been carved up by the German attack.
"I could see from the beginning we weren't as I wanted us to be and right the way through the game I could see the difficulties we were having," he said.
"We've not been cut open as easily as that before in the centre of midfield.
"Apart from quality players, the Germans are a very physical and strong team and their work ethic was superb.
"We can have no complaints with the result."
Germany now entertain Romania in a friendly in Cologne on Wednesday night, but if they beat their two main rivals, the Republic of Ireland in Dublin and the Czech Republic in Munich, next month they will be virtually guaranteed qualification.
"We are the group leaders and we have to keep playing like that," said two-goal hero Klose, the top scorer at last year's World Cup.
"We have some good players in the squad who are well established and we are on the right path."
Germany were missing midfielders Michael Ballack and Torsten Frings through injury, while Bernd Schneider was serving a one-match ban, but Bayern Munich's Bastian Schweinsteiger produced a man-of-the-match performance in midfield.
"It was a good performance by us, but we squandered a few chances and we could have scored more goals," said Schweinsteiger.
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