Joachim Low says his Germany side must take advantage of any opportunity against Australia tomorrow in their FIFA World Cup™ opener. The three-time world champions are considered favourites to top Group D but Low has warned the German fans they can not underestimate the Socceroos.
"We have respect for Australia," said Low. "I think it is going to be an intense match. With respect to four years ago, teams have improved and I expect to see a fascinating World Cup.
"We have studied Australia repeatedly and this team is great in defence. They play a great defensive system and the strength of Australia is the capacity to get organised. Of the last 28 games they have played, they didn't concede a goal in 17 games and that says something about their defensive system. They can also destroy their rivals' game."
The Germans, however, have not lost a group game since 1994, winning their last five opening games. Low is confident his team will find a way through Australia's defensive wall.
"I think we can crack this defensive wall with fast counter-attacks," he said. "We must catch them unaware. We have to apply this tactic. This team will not allow many goalscoring opportunities and we have to make the most of our chances. We must be able to put pressure and create opportunities. I am positive because when my team finds rhythm in a game, we create chances and we have many players that can score."
Low has selected the youngest Germany squad in 76 years for this tournament and has been impressed by the talent he has at his disposal. "We have a very young team that can develop," he said. "I have been with the team for six years and we have developed players and acquired international reputation in recent years. For us to reach the Euro 2008 final was a success."
I think we can crack this defensive wall with fast counter-attacks.
The Germans enjoyed a fine preparation with 3-0 wins over Malta and Hungary before claiming a 3-1 triumph over Bosnia-Herzegovina in Frankfurt prior to travelling to Pretoria. "We have a team which has grown together over the last few weeks," he said. "We have players with a lot of talent. They are highly motivated and all of our players are fit to play and this for me is very positive. We want to put Australia in a tight spot."
Low believes they could not have asked for a better venue to start their FIFA World Cup adventure. "The Moses Mabhida Stadium is great," he said. "We have a magnificent pitch, the fans are here and so really we are looking forward to starting to play. The fans are expecting something great and we are ready to deliver."
Low is set to stick with out-of-form Miroslav Klose ahead of Cacau in the lone striker's role, as well as partnering new Manchester City signing Jerome Boateng with Per Mertesacker at centre-back. Sami Khedira looks set to take injured captain Michael Ballack's place in midfield.