Bayern Munich and Germany defender Jerome Boateng has outlined what the reigning champions must do to get their title defence back on track at the 2018 FIFA World Cup Russia.
Joachim Löw's charges were well below their best in a surprise 1-0 defeat to Mexico in their opening Group F encounter, and the Bayern centre-back – who played the full 90 minutes of that game – admitted it had been, "the worst possible start to the tournament" and that, "the team needs to respond and give [the fans] something to be happy about".
They will get the chance to do so against Sweden on Saturday in what is already a must-win fixture for Löw's charges, especially as the Scandinavians picked up three points against South Korea in their first outing.
"We can't play for a draw," Boateng told the German FA's official website. "But we can’t just go hell for leather and throw everything forward. The most important thing is that we play with more drive. We have to take more risks in the final third, even if that means losing the ball a few times. We have to take more shots."
Watch: Boateng's rise to the top
In order to be as prepared as possible, Germany left their training headquarters in Vatutinki on Tuesday for the two-hour flight south to Sochi, where they will play in the Fisht Stadium.
"We're looking forward to a change of scenery, a new city and a new stadium," said team captain Manuel Neuer in a pre-match press conference prior to the team's departure. "It's about time for something new. Ideally we'd have played against Sweden right away in order to make amends."
If recent history is anything to go by, the chances of that happening are good as Germany are unbeaten in their last seven games against the Swedes, winning five and drawing two. Further cause for optimism lies in the fact that Die Nationalmannschaft have made it to at least the semi-finals in each of the five major tournaments – World Cups or European Championships – under Löw as head coach.
The tactician now has a full squad available to him once again, with Cologne's Jonas Hector having recovered from a cold that kept him out of the Mexico game. He is expected to come into the side in place of Hertha Berlin's Marvin Plattenhardt.