Both Germany head coach Joachim Löw and captain Bastian Schweinsteiger spoke at a press conference the day before Germany's friendly against Australia. Löw confirmed Manuel Neuer would be rested.
"Results need to come and I expect that, because we are capable of better performances," said Joachim Löw during his press conference ahead of Germany's friendly against Australia on Wednesday night.
The current World Champions haven't been themselves since lifting the title in Rio. A thoroughly unimpressive 1-0 win against Spain and a 4-2 hammering at the hands of Argentina meant the last two friendlies in 2014 had a sour taste to them, but it's the qualifying that has been the bigger problem.
Having squeezed past Scotland, Germany were stunned 2-0 by Poland in Warsaw and then by John O'Shea's last-minute equalizer back on home soil. Even the margin of victory against Gibraltar (4-0) wasn't enough. The friendly against Australia is Germany's premier appearance in 2015 and 'Jogi' wants his side to hit the ground running against the much-improved Socceroos.
"Australia has always been a sporting country that never stops working. Socceroos performance at the Asian Cup was great. Australia had a typically British style, with long-balls, but now you don't see that. They play good football," said Löw.
In terms of selection, Löw did discuss three of his squad. "Holger [Badstuber] and Ilkay [Gündogan] will probably play tomorrow. Manuel Neuer will not play against Australia. He has a knee problem so we won't risk him but he will play on Sunday."
Löw's latest squad selection does not include as many changes as originally believed, but the head coach gave good reason. "Emre Can, Kevin Volland, Max Meyer and Leon Goretzka have a big future, but they should play at the UEFA Under 21 European Championship this summer. Winning the U21 Euros in 2009 gave the likes of [Mesut] Özil and [Manuel] Neuer a push for World Cup in 2010. Players like Volland and Meyer need the same."
Plenty of personnel
When asked about Mario Gomez, who scored a brace in his last outing for Fiorentina, Löw was muted. "It's says a lot about his quality to come back and score twice straight away and if he continues his good form and keeps scoring then maybe he can help us at the Euros 2016, but that is in the distant future."
Löw was equally vague when it came to formations, but knew that while defensive stability remains a cornerstore, attacking inspiration is imperative to success. "The focus is on attack, which has been good but there's always room to improve. Lots has been said about a back-three, and we have looked at this," said Löw.
The inclusion of Lukas Podolski has left many puzzled though, but Löw defended one of his favorite players. "I have no reason to doubt his quality, because I know he still has that physical ability. Lukas has always given 100% and given us his heart. That is very important to me."
Germany will be officially captained for the first time by Bastian Schweinsteiger. Whether or not the Bayern Munich legend will make an appearance remains to be seen, but the midfielder is happy to be back in any case.
"I'm happy to be back. It will be a challenge against Australia they are full of confidence. They are an uncomfortable opponent, physical and have improved tactically and technically."
Schweinsteiger has worn the armband on a number of occasions but after the retirement of Philipp Lahm after the World Cup, the 30-year-old was the outstanding candidate for the job. The Bayern man doesn't think much will change though. "I am the type of player who believes there has to be eleven captains on the pitch in order to win."
Australia is the overture to the main event on Sunday night. Not only do Germany have to beat Georgia but they have to look good doing so. Echoing his head coach's sentiment, Schweinsteiger sent out a clear message at the press conference. "We have to pick up points. We are World Champions, number in the world, and we have to show that."