Germany coach Joachim Low turned his attention to next month's crucial 2010 FIFA World Cup South Africa™ qualifier with Russia after a 4-0 win against Azerbaijan on Wednesday.
A win in Moscow would seal Germany's place in the finals in South Africa next summer. However, a defeat in the Russian capital would leave their fate out of their hands in the tightest group in Europe. A draw would leave Germany in pole position for qualification, but Low is not contemplating playing for a point on 10 October.
"We cannot afford to do that," he said. "We have got to try to attack and get a goal. Russia will have their chances so we have got to try to win there."
Low admitted that the league standings for Group 4 do not lie with Germany just a single point above Russia. One will claim the automatic qualifying berth for the FIFA World Cup, with the other having to go through the play-offs, and Low claims there is very little between them.
"Without a doubt they have some great individuals," Low told ZDF television. "They are on the same level as us and we have seen that in recent years, particularly at the last European Championships. It is a very important game for us and it is also very important for the Russians, but we will be very well prepared. We are not feeling the pressure yet."
Germany end their qualifying campaign against Finland on 14 October when Russia must travel to Azerbaijan, whose coach Berti Vogts was satisfied with his side's showing in Hanover against Germany.
A red card for their captain Samir Abbasov five minutes into the second half with the score still finely poised at 1-0 for the hosts was the turning point, according to the man who led Germany to their last major title at UEFA Euro 1996. "With just ten men against 11 robots, we could no longer cope," Vogts said.
With Liechtenstein picking up an unexpected point against Finland tonight, Azerbaijan have slipped to the bottom of the group and Vogts has promised to try and correct that situation while doing his home nation a favour next month when Russia arrive in Azerbaijan, although he is convinced Germany can qualify off their own back anyway.
"Maybe we will give Russia a hard time in Baku," Vogts said. "But I don't think Germany need any help. They are so strong and have a great balance and I have to congratulate Joachim Low on the team he has."