Toni Kroos expects Germany will be in for a hard time when they meet the Netherlands for Friday’s Euro 2020 qualifier.
With three wins in four games, Germany sit six points above third-placed side Holland behind surprise Group C leaders Northern Ireland.
The outcome of Friday’s showdown in Hamburg, therefore, could have a big impact on their respective qualification hopes. While victory will put Germany in a very strong position, a Dutch win will restore their chances.
The two teams have, though, been evenly-matched in their three encounters across the past year. Both have claimed one win and a draw in the UEFA Nations League and in their Euro 2020 qualifiers.
What’s got Kross worried, however, is the progress Holland have made since Dutch icon Ronald Koeman’s arrival as manager in February 2018.
The former Everton boss has since overseen a drastic turn around in performance from a team that failed to qualify for their last two major tournaments.
“They have improved so much in the last two years,” Kross told reporters in a press conference on Thursday.
“Our games have always been tight and high quality. I’m expecting another tough match.
“With the number of changes we’ve gone through, we’ve certainly not reached our limit yet. The Netherlands can hurt any team. Our job is to stop them.”
Unfortunately, for Germany, there will be no Leroy Sane or Leon Goretzka to call upon due to injuries.
Also missing are Julian Draxler, Thilo Kehrer and Antonio Rudiger for Die Mannschaft’s qualification fixtures, with Northern Ireland coming up next Monday.
But head coach Joachim Low is confident the likes of Bayer Leverkusen’s young star Kai Havertz, who has just three caps to his name, will be up for the challenge in filling in for his injured players.
“He has real quality and can be a star player over the next few years,” said Low.
“He still needs to develop and improve, though. He’s shown his class so far and I’m sure that he will establish himself.”
The Germany and Holland match starts at 20:30 (CET) on Friday night.