By Robin Bairner in Fortaleza
Germany coach Joachim Low has warned his side against failure to win their second World Cup group stage encounter, against Ghana in Fortaleza.
Although Portugal were swept emphatically aside in the opening encounter, the Germans have historically struggled in their second match of major competitions and Low is eager that this group avoids that pitfall.
“It’s great to win the first game, but we have to continue. One win isn’t enough. So our objective is to maintain our focus,” he told the media.
“For example, Italy lost against Costa Rica and Netherlands almost didn’t beat Australia.
“In a psychological aspect we have to be very careful and pay a lot of attention. We saw this in 2008 and 2010.”
He is aware, however, that the African side will pose a dangerous threat, particularly after losing their opening match against USA 2-1.
“It will be a game that they think is a final. If they don’t win, they probably won’t go through to the next phase, so they will fight and will fight to the end.
“They are strong and are very fit. They like playing forwards. They have many players who play at well-known clubs. Even in high temperatures, they run for 90 minutes.
“We must be stable and have a good defence. All players have to take on this role. We need to be one team on the pitch. To defend jointly and to attack jointly as we did against Portugal and have ball possession, that would be very good.
“If we face a one-off game, it’ll be difficult in these high temperatures.”
Low also praised Thomas Muller, who scored a hat-trick against the Portuguese, not only for his contribution on the field but because of his comportment off it.
“He’s always there, he’s always there to score a goal,” he coach said. “He motivates his colleagues, he’s very positive – he talks to everyone. He is a team player who brings everyone together. He is able to transmit this happiness and that is important for our squad.”
After refusing to speak about the duel between the Boateng brothers, Jerome of Germany and Kevin-Prince of Ghana, Low turned his attention to Bastian Schweinsteiger, who was overlooked in the opening match after a slight injury issue.
“Schweinsteiger is very important for us as a team and me as a coach. He analyses everything and he is very good to talk to. Even not having played, he will recover his fitness. We can see he is much better in the training sessions. We always need to have him,” the 54-year-old commented.
Germany faced Ghana at World Cup 2010, beating the African side 1-0 in the group stages thanks to a Mesut Ozil goal.