Germany coach Joachim Low has admitted that his team are misfiring and struggling to finish their chances despite winning both their opening 2014 FIFA World Cup Brazil™ qualifiers.
Loew's team opened their Brazil 2014 campaign with a 3-0 win over minnows Faroe Islands in Hanover a week ago followed by Tuesday's 2-1 win over Austria in Vienna. However, they failed to finish a string of chances in both and Loew admits his team are not playing with the same fluidity and confidence they exuded in winning all ten of their UEFA EURO 2012 qualifiers.
"We are lacking some ease and calm in our game, not everything is working well," he told German daily Bild. "We need to stabilise our game. Sometimes it's good when the deficits are obvious, then we know which areas we have specifically to focus on. We need to do some work on the basics again and that is the phase we are currently in."
Germany face the Republic of Ireland in Dublin on 12 October, without captain Philipp Lahm who is suspended, then Sweden in Berlin four days. After six years in charge of the national team, Low has come in for criticism since his team were knocked out of EURO 2012 in June after losing 2-1 to Italy in the semi-finals.
"I do not think it is unreasonable that we are now being looked at more critically," he said. "So be it, we all have to deal with that, including the trainer, the expectations on us are now extremely high, but we will not be swayed - we need to keep moving forwards," said Low. "Since 2008, we have won 20 out of our 22 high quality games, it can't be that we are as bad as is now being suggested in some quarters."
After Low's Germany shone at the 2010 FIFA World Cup with some eye-catching attacking football to finish third, beating both England and Argentina en route to the last four, the coach says his team has now plateaued. "We took giant strides in the first six years, but the steps we are taking now near the top can't be as great. We are now at the level were you can't afford to make mistakes," he said.