Joachim Low conceded Germany struggled to find a spark in the final third as their much-anticipated Euro 2016 clash with neighbours Poland petered out into a drab 0-0 draw.
Mario Gotze spurned good openings early in each half but the Bayern Munich forward was largely ineffective in the ‘false nine’ role as Poland repelled Germany’s attacking stars with relative ease.
Had Arkadiusz Milik’s footing not twice let him down at the crucial moment, Low might have been staring at a defeat and the coach was quick to call for an attacking improvement at his post-match news conference.
“In the attack today we could not create too many chances,” he said. “The problem was that the whole of our game in the last third was not very fast
“We could not accelerate, we interrupted our attacks and then there were nine or 10 Poland players behind the ball.
“It is not what I expect from [Germany] but you have to accept that both side were very strong defensively.
“High balls into the area are what the Polish centre-backs want, that’s why the strategy was clear to use Gotze in the beginning because normally we combine well.
“We simply could not impose our game style.”
Nevertheless, Low was not in the business of singling out individuals and he defended Thomas Muller and Mesut Ozil when the duo’s form was called into question.
“I’m not worried. Both players are capable to always bring about positive actions in a game,” he said.
“Both of them worked very well defensively. They ran a lot today.
“Maybe they are missing their great chances and luck but this is going to change.”
Perhaps inevitably after a game of few chances, which leaves Germany and Poland level on four points in Group C, Low praised his defence and returning centre-back Mats Hummels.
“Most of all I am satisfied with the defensive aspect,” he said. “The whole team worked very well, We did not concede too many counter-attacks.
“They had a very clear chance after half-time [through Milik] but apart from that [goalkeeper] Manuel Neuer didn’t have to hold any balls.
“We were quite good defensively. Mats had his first game back and both centre-backs, Mats Hummels and Jerome Boateng, were very strong.”