KAZAN • Marco Reus has no intention of allowing South Korea to get in the way of Germany progressing to the last 16 today now that the World Cup holders have already saved their skins once.
Reus was a substitute in the 1-0 defeat by Mexico, but started against Sweden and rewarded Joachim Low's selection with a goal and an assist in the 2-1 victory.
It meant Germany avoided the ignominy of becoming the sixth team to crash out as World Cup holders at the group stage, but they are not safe yet.
Low's team need to win by a two-goal margin in Kazan to be sure of advancing to the knockout rounds.
"South Korea have very fast, agile and versatile players who create a lot of problems for many teams," said Reus, who expects the Asian team to copy Mexico's tactics of counter-attacking through Germany's midfield.
"However, I am quite convinced that if we play in a liberated way and with the same fluent style, quality and passion that we invested against Sweden, South Korea will have a hard time beating us."
After missing out on Brazil four years ago, Reus arguably has more reason than most to make sure Die Mannschaft avoid an early departure. The Borussia Dortmund forward missed Brazil 2014 with torn ankle ligaments, Euro 2016 with a groin problem and Germany's 2017 Confederations Cup triumph with torn knee ligaments.
Goals by Timo Werner, Germany's Confederations Cup top scorer (three goals) and first-choice striker who has not yet netted at the World Cup.
GROUP F PERMUTATIONS
South Korea v Germany
Singtel TV Ch141, StarHub Ch222 & Mediacorp okto, 10pm
Mexico v Sweden
Ch142 & Ch223, 10pm
A draw with Sweden will seal passage to the next round.
Lose and they can still advance at Germany's expense if they have a better goal difference.
Need to better Sweden's result against Mexico.
Need to better Germany's result against South Korea.
Can qualify only with a big win over Germany, while Sweden lose to Mexico by another large margin for them to progress with a superior goal difference.
The 29-year-old is among a handful of players who did not win the 2014 World Cup that Germany are increasingly looking to rely on.
Central defender Niklas Sule, who four years ago had just won promotion from the third division, is likely to start today in the place of the suspended Jerome Boateng, a World Cup winner who was sent off against Sweden.
Holding midfielder Sebastian Rudy, who started against the Swedes, broke his nose in that game, but should he be fit to play he would probably be picked ahead of veteran Sami Khedira, 31.
Forward Julian Brandt is also in line to start after providing a spark as a substitute against Sweden. The 22-year-old struck the post ahead of Toni Kroos' winner. "We have a lot of alternatives, that is the structure of our squad," said Low.
Forward Timo Werner has admitted the Germans have seen little of South Korea, other than their defeats by Mexico and Sweden, but will do their homework. They at least know all about Tottenham Hotspur striker Son Heung Min, who used to play for Bayer Leverkusen in the Bundesliga.
"In Son Heung Min, they have an internationally well-known player," said Werner. "He has shown what he can do, so I think we really need to keep an eye on him."
South Korea have also confirmed German suspicions that they will try to hit the defending champions on the break.
"I expect them to come out strong and try to score as many goals as possible, which could allow us some space at their back," midfielder Ju Se Jong said.
"We'd have to take full advantage of that with our quick counter-attacks through (Lee) Seung Woo or (Moon) Seon Min."
AGENCE FRANCE-PRESSE, REUTERS