After struggling to beat Austria 2-1 on Tuesday night in Vienna to record their second World Cup qualifying victory from as many games Germany coach Joachim Loew said that his players were under scrutiny.
The victory-secured by Marco Reus’ goal shortly before the break and a converted penalty from Mesut Oezil 10 minutes after the break-sees Germany extend their run of wins in qualifying matches to 12, dating back to September 2010 when they beat Belgium 1-0 in Brussels.
Loew told the team that only those players that show in the next qualifiers against the challenging Sweden and Ireland as well as in the Bundesliga and the Champions League that they can compete at the highest level will be able to call on his good will.
“That depends on the performance the players show in the next few weeks. Of course we will be looking at other players. We have not yet finalized the squad, there are many players we are watching,” said Loew after the victory.
He said that he expected a lot. “To play averagely in the Bundesliga will not be enough. They have to be top players as we have the aim of being a top international side. Average performances will not be good enough in such games,” said Loew who has not yet called up any newcomers since his side was eliminated in the semi-finals of the Euro finals.
After the eighth win in a row against the Austrians, who deserved the equalizer and came very close to securing a point three minutes from the end when Marko Arnautovic missed the empty goal from close range, Loew said that just the three points counted.
Germany top group C with six points from Sweden and Ireland, who both have three points from their one game.
Germany players agreed with Loew that the most important thing from the game was the result. “At the end of the day it is better we win 2-1 and not play as well as it is to play with flair but lose 2-1,” said Thomas Mueller.
But even if Loew was happy with the three points he did not shy away from admitting that there were some problems with his team. “In some areas we need to improve, that is clear,” the 52-year-old said.
Loew told his team that they needed to play pressing against the Austrians, but in the end the 47,000 fans in the sold-out Ernst-Happel stadium saw the home side play the way Loew wanted his side to play.
“We have to work on it for a few months before we are in a position to push forward for a whole match. Our players have to perfect that in the coming months and then play it better,” he said.