Germany v Cameroon: Logistical motivation for Low
Joachim Low is hopeful Germany will seal top spot in Confederations Cup Group B and spare themselves another gruelling leg of travel within Russia.
The world champions are back in Sochi on Sunday, where they defeated Australia 3-2 in an entertaining opener, to face Africa Cup of Nations winners Cameroon.
The side finishing top of Group B - Chile are Germany's most realistic rivals for that distinction after the sides shared a 1-1 draw in Kazan on Thursday - will also play their semi-final in the Black Sea resort, which hosted the 2014 Winter Olympics.
"Sochi and Kazan have both been excellent, perfect conditions for a football match," said long-serving boss Low.
"A draw would be sufficient against Cameroon but we would like to win the group. We always play to win.
"If we win, we could look forward to the semi-finals without travelling… again."
— Germany (@DFB_Team_EN) June 23, 2017
Low still admitted he could make several changes, having rotated positions and personnel between the two matches to date with an experimental squad, while he made no substitutions versus Chile.
Opposite number Hugo Broos is unlikely allow himself similar luxuries as the Indomitable Lions are faced with a must-win encounter.
They led through Andre-Frank Zambo Anguissa against Australia but were left to rue several missed chances either side of opposition captain Mark Milligan equalising from the penalty spot with an hour played.
Cameroon have been warmly received by home supporters in their two matches in Russia to date, leaving Broos to deal with the contrast between that welcome and a hostile press contingent, with improvements demanded ahead of August and September's crunch World Cup qualifiers against Nigeria.
"I think the Russian people are with us. They like the way we are playing. They like a team on the pitch who are fighting for every ball and playing, at moments, good football.
"Therefore, I think they choose our side. I'm very happy and so are the players."
On the criticism from domestic journalists, Broos added: "After a year I've become used to it. From that point of view, that's Cameroon.
"We've been doing this for months. We won the Africa Cup of Nations, everything was well. Now we lose against Chile, who are one of the best teams in the world, and draw against Australia and we get those questions again. It's typically Cameroon."
Germany midfielder Leon Goretzka and Cameroon duo Ernest Mabouka and Sebastien Siani are the players who will miss any semi-final date if they collect a booking, having already been yellow carded in the tournament.
Key Opta stats:
- These sides have met three times previously, with Germany winning the first two meetings in 2002 and 2004 before sharing a draw in their most recent encounter in 2014.
- Germany have not lost against an African nation since the 1982 World Cup, when they were beaten 2-1 by Algeria - their only competitive defeat against a side from the continent.
- Die Mannschaft are unbeaten in their last 12 games in all competitions, conceding just five goals in that run (W9, D3).
- Cameroon have won just one of their last five games, losing three of those matches (D1), this after a run of 14 games without defeat.
- Joachim Low will take charge of his 150th game as Germany manager, while his next win will be his 100th. Germany's next defeat will be their 50th overall in competitive football.
- Lars Stindl is the only player to find the net more than once in the Confederations Cup this year, following his strikes against Australia and Chile.
- Only Russia's Fedor Smolov (nine) has hit more shots in the competition than Vincent Aboubakar (eight), although he's hit just one shot on target so far.