GDANSK, Poland (AP) – Germany coach Joachim Loew's bold gamble to reshuffle his entire forward line against Greece paid off in a big way.
Two of the three new men up front scored in the Germans' 4-2 win in the European Championship quarterfinals and Miroslav Klose showed why, at age 34, he remains a strong rival to Mario Gomez as the team's main striker.
Wingers Marco Reus and Andre Schuerrle tormented the Greek defense with runs on the flanks, with Reus especially exposing the Greeks on the right before capping a bright display with a spectacular fourth goal.
Loew used Gomez in the three group matches and the Bayern Munich striker scored three goals to secure wins against Portugal and the Netherlands.
However, he was ineffective against Denmark in the final group game and gave way to Klose against the Greeks.
Klose, who had come off the bench for Gomez every game, was slow to find his form and fitness after playing little for Lazio because of hamstring and back problems.
Loew kept stressing, however, that Klose was making excellent progress and he demonstrated that by scoring Germany's third goal to broke Greece's spirit and raise his total to 64 in 129 games - four goals short of Gerd Mueller's national record.
While Gomez is a classical penalty-box finisher, Klose is faster and combines better with playmaker Mesut Oezil in the one-touch passing game Loew likes his team to play.
Klose opened a lot of space for his teammates with his rapid movement against Greece while the addition of Reus and Schuerrle gave Germany more speed that left the Greek defense looking ragged and tired.
Showing Germany's depth in attack, Loew left out Lukas Podolski, who made his 100th appearance for Germany earlier in the tournament, and Thomas Mueller, who won the Golden Boot at the 2010 World Cup.
And Reus took his opportunity, showing why he is considered one of the brightest German prospects after scoring 18 goals in Borussia Moenchengladbach's march to a Champions League spot for next season.
''First game, first goal, it was great. At 1-1, our control had slipped. So it was great to come back. We kept attacking and the goals finally came,'' said Reus, who is moving from Moenchengladbach to Bundesliga champion Borussia Dortmund next season.
Schuerrle had an outstanding season for Mainz before moving to Bayer Leverkusen, where he stayed somewhat below expectations in the first year there.
But his pace on the left was evident from the start against Greece and he could threaten Podolski's spot on the left.