Thomas Muller has warned Germany fans not to expect Sunday’s World Cup final against Argentina to be as easy as their semi-final win over Brazil.
The 24-year-old was joint-top scorer and named Best Young Player at the 2010 World Cup and he has made another major contribution this time around, scoring five goals to help Germany through to final.
One of those goals came in the astonishing 7-1 thrashing of the host nation in the last four, but he insists nobody in the Germany camp is getting carried away by that result.
“I don’t know what kind of a game it will be (on Sunday), but I don’t expect it to be 5-0 at half-time,” the Bayern Munich forward said at a press conference.
“That would be nice, but it’s probably going to be tight like it was against Algeria or France.”
Germany led Brazil 5-0 at the break on Tuesday with many members of Joachim Low’s team admitting they had to pinch themselves to see if it was really true.
Defender Mats Hummels was quoted in the Daily Mail as saying the players had agreed during the interval not to go out and embarrass Brazil in the second half, and Muller confirmed such a decision was made.
“It was about not trying to humiliate our opponents or showboating,” he said.
“We wanted to carry on playing normal football and not get arrogant, but that’s quite normal – it was the players’ initiative.”
As a result, Muller says Germany were able to “concentrate on preserving energy and avoiding injuries” in the second 45 minutes against Brazil, a game that was also played 24 hours before Argentina’s 120-minute goalless encounter with Holland, which was eventually decided by penalties.
Germany could therefore be fresher, but the real difference in the eyes of captain Philipp Lahm is likely to be their experience.
“Experience is important,” said the 30-year-old, who has lifted eight trophies for Bayern Munich in the past two years.
“I think if you look at club level, many of us have already been involved in big games. Whether they were positive or negative is not important, but we all have experience in a Champions League final, DFB-Pokal final, or whatever.
“We’re always playing at the very top level and when you go through our squad, you’ll see we’ve all got that experience and it’s certainly an advantage for us.”
Lahm is therefore also very confident that he will be lifting a trophy into the air for the ninth time since August 2012 on Sunday, and he already has plans for afterwards.
“I think I’ll just have an early night,” he said.
“By that, I mean in the early hours.”
Should Germany triumph in Rio, they will return to Germany for a reception in Berlin on Tuesday, along the so-called fan mile linking the Brandenburg Gate and the Siegessaule.
“We’re very grateful for the support of our fans,” said the national team’s general manager Oliver Bierhoff.
“In the past, we’d been faced with the question of how we would celebrate with our fans.
“After the 2006 World Cup, we did that after finishing third. In 2008, after coming second at the European Championships.
“This time, we’ve decided only to celebrate together with our fans if we win the title, and we are absolutely adamant that we will do it,” stressed the former German international.