Germany stars Thomas Müller and Marco Reus said that every player in Joachim Löw’s 23-man squad is raring to go as the world champions go in search of a vital victory against Sweden on Saturday.
After suffering defeat in their opening game of a World Cup for the first time since 1982, Löw’s team have come under intense scrutiny and pressure to improve upon the performance against Mexico.
Müller - the World Cup’s top-scoring active player - knows the pressure is on as Germany look ahead to their second Group F game. The Bayern Munich forward, and his Borussia Dortmund countryman Reus, are both keen to write the wrongs of the Mexico loss themselves.
“We have to win both games and the pressure on us is enormous,” Müller said at a pre-match press conference in Sochi on Wednesday. "I think everyone wants to play from the start and play all the time. Everyone wants to bring his skills to the game, so of course I’d be frustrated not to play. We want nothing more than to win.”
Müller started and finished the game in Moscow last Sunday, while Reus came on from the bench to make his first ever World Cup appearance. The injury-ravaged attacker says he discussed his place on the bench with Löw well before the first game, but “hopes that [his] name will be on a different part of the team-sheet on Saturday.”
“The coach hasn't told me that I'll play,” Reus, who missed the 2014 World Cup and 2016 Euros through injury, told reporters. “It's my goal to play, but I have no problem being on the bench, I was injured for a long time, so I spoke a lot with the coach and it's his job to select the team.”
Alongside Reus and Müller, Germany team manager Oliver Bierhoff spoke to reporters and he and Müller made the same point in reference to a need for patience. Germany produced over twice the amount of shots as Mexico in their opener, but failed to find the target.
“The crux is that composure can’t be trained,” Müller said. “Now we need to show patience and purpose.” While Bierhoff added “If we stick to the gameplan and show our quality, we can pass this test. It will be a tough game, but patience is key. There are more tough games to come.”
The belief remains, as Bierhoff says, that there are more games to come in this tournament beyond the group stage phase. But as both he, Reus and Müller all pointed out, the games against Sweden and South Korea are nothing short of must-win matches.