Germany face USA in Recife on Thursday aiming to close down their former boss Jurgen Klinsmann's team's attack and progress to the FIFA World Cup™ Round of 16. The Stars and Stripes' 2-2 draw with Portugal in Group G on Sunday put them level on four points with Germany heading into their final group game.
A draw in Recife would see Die Nationalmannschaft qualify as group winners with the Americans finishing runners up, knocking Portugal and Ghana out in the process. The German camp and Klinsmann insist both sides are playing for a win, strongly denying any suggestion of a deal being struck for a mutually beneficial draw.
"The play-offs have effectively begun for us," said Germany assistant coach Hansi Flick. "We want to beat the USA to finish the group stages top and play in Porto Alegre. "We looked at the 90 minutes against Ghana to see what we liked and the things we need to improve.
"We want the team to react in a more clever fashion and cut out the space behind when the opposition counter-attack us. We have a few things to iron out and we have enough quality to create chances, but we have to close down the space behind."
Flick said Germany captain Philipp Lahm will remain as a defensive midfielder with the experience of Klose and midfielder Bastian Schweinsteiger to be called off the bench if needed, as they were against Ghana.
"Miro and Basti gave us good options, after going 2-1 down, the team put their foot to the floor to equalise," he said. "We have a clear plan and we know exactly what each player can do. We wanted to beat Ghana, but we were pleased with the way the players reacted even though things didn't go exactly how we had wanted them to."