Joachim Low insists there is still plenty to come from a Germany side that sealed their World Cup spot next summer with a ninth qualifying win from nine on Thursday.
The 3-1 victory over Northern Ireland at Windsor Park maintained Die Mannschaft’s 100 per cent record ahead of their final group game against Azerbaijan on Sunday, when Low’s side will look to complete their most convincing preliminary campaign of all time.
The scary thing for other nations bound for Russia is that even after such a commanding victory, Low sees further room for improvement in the reigning world champions.
“With the World Cup coming up Germany need to improve in many more areas, deny the opposition any opportunities to score, ideally,” he claimed.
“We did what we had to do on Thursday but with a view to the World Cup there’s a lot of work to be done.”
Perfection is what Low is chasing and it is attainable in terms of this qualification campaign.
The chance to make it a perfect 10 victories from 10 is why his players were not allowed a celebratory pint in any of Belfast’s pubs on Thursday night.
“Are we going to celebrate and have a few beers? Give the players time off to spend in Belfast pubs? No, that would be utterly unprofessional and it’s just not our style,” Low insisted.
“We will strive to win 10 games from 10 and that, plus the goal average, will hopefully result in Germany’s most successful qualification campaign in our history.
“In September 2016 we looked at our group and told ourselves we wanted to dominate that group, make no compromises and possibly not drop any points either, which we’ve managed to do with a neat goal average to boot.
“There’s every reason for us to be satisfied.”
Northern Ireland boss Michael O’Neill feels this German squad could be even better than the one that went all the way in 2014, with only six of the players Low had in Belfast World Cup winners.
Were the rest of them to secure international football’s most coveted prize four years on, Germany would emulate the Italian sides of 1934 and 1938, and the Brazilian outfits of 1958 and 1962 in successfully defending their title.
Sebastian Rudy, whose brilliant second-minute strike from distance set the Germans on their way on Thursday, has warned the other countries hoping to lift the World Cup in Russia that the current holders do not want to hand it over.
“I’m absolutely delighted for Die Mannschaft,” Bayern midfielder Rudy told DFB.de.
“It was important for us to score an early goal so that we could calm our nerves slightly. We dominated the game; our opponents were somewhat passive and let us play our way. It wasn’t easy but it was a commanding victory.
“We want to defend our title, of course. We’re not going to Russia just to join in – we want to achieve something there.”