South Korea v Germany: Reus and Werner wary of pace and Son
Germany are bracing themselves for the pace offered by South Korea's attack in their crucial final World Cup Group F clash, with Timo Werner particularly wary of Son Heung-min.
Joachim Low's side came back from the brink in their previous outing against Sweden, ultimately winning 2-1 after falling behind in the first half.
A defeat would have sent Germany packing, but Toni Kroos' sumptuous late strike saw them move level on three points with Sweden.
Their final group outing in Kazan on Wednesday is vital for both sides, as Korea – despite losing their first two games – can still qualify with a victory if they beat Germany by more than two goals and Mexico defeat Sweden.
Given the world champions' troubles so far, a loss to South Korea is by no means out of the question, with Werner and Marco Reus well aware of the threats posed by their Asian counterparts.
"They have a lot of pace – especially up front," Reus told reporters. "They have versatile players who have caused problems for teams at this tournament already."
Werner added: "They have very quick players, Sweden were more about power and size, whereas South Korea are smaller but pacey.
"Son is up there with the best in the world, we have to keep an eye on him. We shouldn't be looking at our opponents too much, though."
Jerome Boateng's late red card for two bookable offences in 11 minutes means Low will be forced into at least one change on Wednesday, with Bayern Munich's Mats Hummels likely to come back into the starting XI after a neck injury.
He may even be partnered with club team-mate Niklas Sule, given Antonio Rudiger's shaky performance against Sweden.
As for South Korea, their unenviable task has been made even more difficult by the news midfielder Ki Sung-yueng will miss out with a calf injury which rules him out for two weeks.
"A medical inspection at a hospital showed that Ki damaged his left calf muscle," a Korean Football Association (KFA) official told Yonhap News. "He needs two weeks of treatment."
If Germany were to ultimately be eliminated from the competition after this match, they would be the third successive reigning champion to not get out of the group stage.
South Korea - Son Heung-min
If Korea are to produce an unlikely result, they need to score goals and their best hope in that regard is the Tottenham forward. He has been one of few bright sparks for a team which has been accused of being overly aggressive and lacking creativity.
Germany - Marco Reus
The reigning champions simply have not clicked yet, with underwhelming performances from a number of key players resulting in changes. But one player who has kept a consistent level in their two games is Reus, who has looked a constant threat in attack with his presence in the area and craft.
KEY OPTA FACTS
- Germany have won all five of their World Cup games against Asian opponents, scoring 19 goals in total and keeping clean sheets in each of their last three.
- Son attempted eight shots in South Korea's defeat to Mexico – three more than Korea managed in their opening match against Sweden (five shots).
- Germany's victory over Sweden was their first at the World Cup when conceding first since 1998, a 2-1 win over Mexico.
- Korea have lost their last four World Cup matches in a row, their joint-worst run – they also lost four in a row between 1986 and 1990.