Germany return to action following their World Cup humiliation with their Nations League debut against world champions France. They'll be out to show that sticking with coach Joachim Löw was the right decision.
After coach Joachim Löw's admission that Germany's focus on possession football cost them in Russia, Thomas Müller hopes that the team can offer fans the "power football" that they want to see, especially against the French.
"When it doesn't lead to goals, possession football can look laborious and slow," admitted the Bayern Munich forward in a press conference in Munich on Tuesday. "So the game against France is a big chance to give the spectators the power football they want to see, because there will be moments where we can transition quickly."
In a lengthy press conference last Wednesday, Löw and national team manager Oliver Bierhoff presented a detailed analysis of what went wrong in Russia. Not everyone was convinced, but Müller at least appears satisfied.
"I think the detail in his explanation was pretty unique and actually quite sensational," he said. "The coach has raised key points which we have all discussed and we're happy to follow him."
Captain Manuel Neuer is also convinced that the decision to persevere with Löw as coach is the right one.
"Of course he was down after the World Cup, as we all were," said the Bayern Munich goalkeeper. "But he's also ambitious and he has a plan. From the very first discussions, it was clear that he is just as hungry as the players."
'The national team stands for integration'
When asked about the issues which have accompanied Germany off the pitch since the World Cup, the players were less forthcoming.
"This isn't about specific names which may have been mentioned in the past," said Neuer, a barely-concealed reference to Mesut Özil's withdrawal from the team. "Fundamentally, we stand by every member of our team. No-one has a special status and each of us is equally responsible for what happens on the pitch."
The players were also asked about the right-wing demonstrations in Chemnitz over the past week in which football hooligans from the region, including some claiming allegiance to local side Chemnitzer FC, have played a leading role. On Monday night, several high-profile German bands and musicians performed at a free concert against right-wing extremism.
"I think the concert in Chemnitz was a good thing. It's good that so many artists and also Chemnitzer FC got involved," Neuer said, referring to the fact that the fourth-tier club has distanced itself from the right-wing protests.
"The national team stands for integration," he continued. "We rely heavily on players from migrant backgrounds who have come to Germany or grown up here, and we're grateful that we've experienced a healthy integration."
Sat between two of the squad's elder statesmen, 22-year-old Julian Brandt gave his opinion on the battle for places in the squad as Germany look to move on from a disappointing summer.
"We have a lot of players who can play in several different positions, including Thomas and myself," said the Bayer Leverkusen forward. "We can both play in the No. 10 role, for instance, or from the wings. We're flexible and that's what characterizes us as a team."