Joachim Low spoke with respect and praise of Slovakia ahead of their last 16 tie, saying: "They are a different opponent than Northern Ireland, they are a lot stronger. We will not get many chances."
But, at full-time on Sunday, the dominant performance and authoritative 3-0 scoreline sent a warning to the rest of the teams left at Euro 2016: Germany are getting stronger by the game and will be tremendously difficult to get past.
Three goals against a Slovakia side who qualified for the knockout stage with a goalless draw against England was by no means an underwhelming result. Low’s men created chance after chance – producing 15 shots in the first half, the most of any team in the first half of a game at Euro 2016 - and finally saw their goal machine turn on with 30-year-old frontman Mario Gomez scoring the second.
Every player on the pitch for Germany did their job and provided a consistent threat in their position. Joshua Kimmich and Jonas Hector were assured in the full-back areas and Bayern Munich shot stopper Manuel Neuer reminded everyone why he is the best goalkeeper in world football.
Julian Draxler came in for Mario Gotze and deservedly won the man of the match award after smashing in a volley while unmarked at the near post. The 22-year-old was a skilful and pacey outlet for Germany. He's the youngest player with a goal and assist in a European Champonship game to his name since 2008.
Gomez has scored four goals for Germany in 2016, twice as many as any other player. His five goals in his last six starts at the European Champipnships have made him his country’s joint-top goalscorer at the tournament (five goals) alongside Jurgen Klinsmann. Push the button and Gomez will score, they said - and they were correct.
Sixty per cent possession, 21 shots, eight corners and three excellent goals.. Germany didn't battle their way to the quarter-finals, they cruised. The performance was electric, ruthless and done without any doubts whatsoever. The World Cup 2014 winners look like they’re just getting started.
A tricky tie against either Italy or Spain awaits but this was exactly the kind of statement Low’s team needed to make ahead of such a big game. Indeed, Germany have never beaten Italy in a competitive game so replicating the performance and attacking verve of the Slovakia match is essential.
For now, at least, Germany can await their toughest test of Euro 2016 comfortable in the knowledge that they're the best team in the last eight.