Germany want to end their ‘slap in the face’ year by beating the Netherlands in Gelsenkirchen on Monday and preventing the Dutch from reaching the Nations League knock-out phase.
The Netherlands need just a point to qualify for the semi-finals after their 2-0 win over France on Friday, which sent Germany down to League B.
But relegated Germany could dash Dutch hopes of topping Group A1 with a win in their final game of 2018, which would hand first place and a semi-final berth to France.
After losing 3-0 away to the Dutch last month – one of a record six defeats the Germans have suffered in 2018 – head coach Joachim Loew needs a moral-boosting win as he rebuilds his team in the wake of their World Cup disaster.
“We have a point to prove and will do everything to win this match,” said Loew in Sunday’s press conference.
“It’s a shame for us that we can no longer turn the situation in the group, now we have to learn the right lessons and make the most of a disappointing year.
“We want to sign off with another strong performance to prove we are on the right track.
“We have been one of the most consistent teams over the last 10 years – this year was a real slap in the face, which was disappointing, but now it goes on.”
Germany are rebuilding after a woeful World Cup when they crashed out after the group stages in Russia. A youthful team, with an average age of just 24, beat Russia 3-0 in Leipzig last Thursday.
Goals by Leroy Sane, Serge Gnabry and Niklas Suele saw off the Russians in a friendly, but Loew is likely to name a more experienced side against the Dutch.
– Revitalised –
Toni Kroos and Mats Hummels, both 2014 World Cup winners, are expected to come into the midfield and defence respectively.
Chief playmaker Marco Reus must shake off a bruised foot to make the starting line-up while Thomas Mueller is likely to come off the bench for his 100th appearance for Germany.
Loew says he wants to see Germany take their chances against Ronald Koeman’s revitalised Dutch, who inflicted a first defeat on France since their World Cup triumph with Georginio Wijnaldum and Memphis Depay scoring in Rotterdam.
“At the World Cup, our game lacked momentum and the killer instinct, we played too wide and we must focus more on attacking the opponent’s goal,” said Loew.
“We are on the right path, but we must continue to improve.”
The Netherlands meanwhile are resurgent after failing to qualify for the finals of both Euro 2016 and this year’s World Cup, but Koeman is taking nothing for granted despite his side hammering Germany in Amsterdam last month.
“I think the game against Germany will be more difficult than France,” said Koeman.
“The French like to play deep, Germany will attack and we have to be ready for that.
“It’s not realistic to say we are favourites, in the first round Germany were better for part of the game.
“We have a good balance, we are on a good way.”