Toni Kroos is looking for Germany to show signs of progress against the Netherlands on Friday night, as Joachim Low prepares his side for their fourth clash with Ronald Koeman’s team in less than a year.
The Dutch claimed a comprehensive 3-0 win and a 2-2 draw in the Nations League late last year, before Germany hit back with an entertaining 3-2 win in Euro 2020 qualifying back in March.
Low has refreshed his side since last summer’s ordeal at the World Cup, with the likes of Thomas Muller, Mats Hummels and Jerome Boateng axed from the international scene. Fellow 2014 World Cup winner Kroos, by contrast, remains a key player and will be hoping to underline that fact against an increasingly familiar opposition.
“We know each other very well now,” Kroos said. “Neither team has any secrets from the other. We had chances in all of our games against the Netherlands, and last time we played them we managed to take them and win the game.
“We have lots of new players, new tactics, a new system. Given there have been so many changes, the last few games have been pretty good. We are well on the way and have made progress already.”
After their stale performances in Russia last year, Germany have been keen to experiment tactically as well as introducing new players into the fold – the 3-4-3 system used in the win in Amsterdam, for example, proved effective.
Young striker Luka Waldschmidt is in line to make his senior debut after starting the season with three goals in four games for Freiburg, though first-choice forward Timo Werner will be looking to continue a rich vein of form which has seen him plunder five in three Bundesliga outings.
Kroos will be hoping the new man fits in well in an increasingly youthful-looking German side, and he thinks there is plenty of room for them still to improve. But while he will turn 30 this season, Kroos isn’t thinking of stepping away from the national team just yet.
“There was a big outcry when the coach [cut senior players] earlier this year, but we have improved since then,” he said. “It wasn’t as difficult as the World Cup.
“We are not yet at the end of our development. We didn’t play our best game over 90 minutes even when we won in March.
“I see myself playing at the European Championships, and I want to be consistent.”