Two goals from Mario Gomez gave Germany a 2-1 victory over Netherlands in their Euro 2012 Group B match on Wednesday, putting them on the brink of the quarterfinals, while the Dutch face a potential early exit.
Gomez fired the Germans into a 24th-minute lead after turning in the area and firing past keeper Maarten Stekelenburg, following a superb Bastian Schweinsteiger pass.
The pair combined again 14 minutes later, with Gomez thundering in his third goal in two matches from the right, before Dutch forward Robin van Persie cut the deficit in the 73rd with his first goal of the tournament.
The result lifted Germany to six points from two games, following their 1-0 opening win over Portugal, while the Netherlands teeter on the brink of elimination with two defeats in the group, following their opening loss to Denmark.
On a hot and humid evening in eastern Ukraine, Germany, who had lost their second group games in the last two major tournaments, put in a performance worthy of their title favourites tag.
Yet it was the Dutch, who had the first chance, when midfielder Mark van Bommel sent English Premier League top scorer Van Persie clear, but he was unable to beat keeper Manuel Neuer.
That chance triggered an instant reaction from Germany, with Mesut Ozil's volley rattling the foot of the post and the ball rolling into Stekelenburg's hands.
Gomez, who scored the goal against Portugal, then took matters into his own hands again and, courtesy of another well-timed Schweinsteiger pass, spun in the area and coolly slotted the ball home to give Germany the lead. The forward, who again started ahead of Miroslav Klose, added a second in the 38th with a fine drive from a tight angle.
Netherlands coach Bert van Marwijk brought on Bundesliga top scorer Klaas-Jan Huntelaar and Rafael van der Vaart at the start of the second half to add some urgency going forward, but it was the Germans who kept piercing the Dutch defence at will.
Neuer was called to the rescue, palming a Van Persie shot wide, while Dutch playmaker Wesley Sneijder's curled effort on the hour sailed wide.
Van Persie was not yet done, though, firing into the net after 73 minutes to set up a nervous finale, although the Germans held on for the victory.
Portugal have three points after beating Denmark, who also have three points, 3-2 in the earlier group game.