Joachim Löw is expecting a physical test in Germany's Confed Cup opener against Australia in Sochi. The Socceroos feature a number of names that will be well very familiar to fans of the Bundesliga.
German national team coach Joachim Löw is anticipating a tough test for his young squad in their Confederations Cup opener against Australia, from whom he expects a "rugby mentality."
"Australian football is influenced by rugby a bit," Löw told German public broadcaster ZDF on Sunday. "They are physically strong, have a great mentality, never give up and never give you a moment to breathe. They're a team who are hard to play against."
"We can't just expect that everything will function seamlessly," he said. "It will be important to shed any nervousness we might have as soon as the game starts."
Germany have traveled to Sotchi in southern Russia as World Cup champions but the squad contains only three players who lifted the trophy in Brazil three years ago - Shkodran Mustafi, Matthias Ginter and captain Julian Draxler.
Indeed, at 24 years and four months on average, Germany have the youngest squad of the eight Confed Cup teams and the onus is on newcomers such as Timo Werner to step up to the mark.
"We don't all know how fit we are after a long and hard season," admitted the 21-year-old RasenBallsport Leipzig striker. "Now comes an unpleasant game in which the Australians will try to take us on with their physique and toughness.
"But we have a duty to win the three points. We need to get a quick goal and then exert some dominance."
At least two members of the Australian squad will be familiar to the Germans - goalkeeper Mitch Langerak of newly-promoted Bundesliga side VfB Stuttgart and Mathew Leckie, who has just been relegated with FC Ingolstadt but is set to line up for Hertha Berlin next season.
"The key for us is to believe in the way we play," said veteran Tim Cahill, 37, who scored 56 goals in 226 Premier League appearances for Everton and has found the net 47 times in 91 games for the Socceroos. "We know they are a young side, but we also know they have a lot of great players.
"There is a lot of pressure on them as a country to do well here and on their players, who are fighting for a spot at the World Cup. They know they have to produce. But if we play the way we know we can, we can definitely beat them."
Indeed, Australia's recent record against Germany isn't that bad. In 2011, they celebrated a shock 2-1 victory over an under-strength German side in Mönchengladbach before drawing 2-2 with the World Championsin Kaiserslautern in 2015.
Despite a the 4-0 hammering Australia suffered at the hands of Brazil in a friendly in Melbourne last week, coach Ange Postecoglou is in bullish mood.
"People forget this [Confederations Cup qualification] is an award for something we achieved," he told reporters on Sunday, referring to the Socceroos' 2015 Asia Cup triumph. "It wasn't just given to us."
"It's a great test for us, but I am not buying into the idea that we are playing against a weakened team - I think that's a bit of a myth."
"We won't hide and we won't shy away. We are going to play our football against what is probably the best team in the world. We want to win it, mate!"
mf/pfd (AP, SID, dpa)