Joachim Low feels his Germany players are ready for a rest as their energy-sapping season draws to a close in Gibraltar this weekend.
Germany travel to Portugal’s Estadio Algarve to take on the Euro 2016 qualification minnows exactly 11 months on from their World Cup final victory over Argentina.
Many of Germany’s regulars endured gruelling campaigns at club level off the back of their World Cup exertions and, perhaps unsurprisingly, Die Mannschaft’s form has suffered something of a hangover after the glory of Brazil 2014.
The world champions could begin Saturday’s match as low as third in Group D and four points adrift of leaders Poland – who beat Low’s men in Warsaw last October.
And, after a 2-1 friendly defeat to United States on Wednesday that saw Germany give up a lead given to them by Mario Gotze, Low said his squad is looking forward to a break.
“What we need to do now is to keep up the concentration and to play a good game against Gibraltar,” the coach commented.
“We need to keep the concentration as high as in the first half of this match. I believe it is very important for the players that they now have three or four weeks’ holiday.
“It was a tough season for the players and it took a lot of energy. Therefore we will be glad when the season is finished on Saturday.”
Usually so impressive in qualification campaigns, Germany have taken just 10 points from their first five fixtures this time around.
But anything other than a comprehensive victory this weekend would count as one of the biggest shocks in footballing history, with the finest moment of Gibraltar’s campaign coming when Lee Casciaro scored their first competitive goal to equalise against Scotland in March.
Scotland went on to win that game at Hampden Park 6-1, and David Wilson’s side have conceded 26 times in their five qualifying games to date.
However, Gibraltar escaped the reverse fixture in Nuremberg with a respectable 4-0 defeat, and Germany skipper Bastian Schweinsteiger insists the world champions do not expect to simply turn up and win.
“We won’t make the mistake of underestimating Gibraltar,” the Bayern Munich star told Dfb.de.
“Of course we know we are better than Gibraltar – it’s clear that we have to pick up a win, but it doesn’t have to be double digits.
“It has to be a good game from us there. We have to find the breakthrough against a team which will sit back a lot.”
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