Should Spain lose against Japan, Germany would have to beat Costa Rica on Thursday in the last group game (8 p.m. CET, in the FAZ live ticker for the soccer World Cup, on ARD and on MagentaTV) in order to overtake the Spaniards in the table.

Because the “Furia Roja” won the opening game 7-0 against the Central Americans.

However, the DFB team does not want to get involved in such arithmetic games.

In al-Shamal, Thomas Müller stressed that an 8-0 result for a World Cup was extremely unrealistic.

Furthermore, such an approach would not be “healthy”;

To take such a risk right from the start, Bayern's attacking player continued, was too high.

Nevertheless, success is a must: "When world football looks at Germany against Costa Rica, I think that we are the favorites from the outside.

I think it's absolutely clear that we have to win.

But of course we have respect.”

The DFB therefore first asks the question: how to beat Costa Rica?

Müller went into the footballing detail for this.

It depends on a good positional play, then something dynamic and unexpected is needed on the offensive.

The opponent should be pulled out of his positions, sometimes through paths that the viewer doesn't even see at first.

And you need a good counter security.

The latter, according to Müller, does not mean waiting for the opponent with numerous players in the center circle, but putting them on an equal footing when the opposing team wins the ball and thus taking away their direct pass options.

Niclas Füllkrug, who can hope to play for the national team from the start for the first time, was reluctant to talk shop, but made it clear: "A win against Costa Rica is a must for us." The good feeling that that should help DFB team drives through after the respectable 1-1 draw against Spain.

Of course it's always better to catch up, said Füllkrug, it's a bit like turning a game.

Above all, he himself contributed to this with his late equalizer, an encouragement for the coming task.

"We're going to need a few more golden moments.

Many games are point and button,” said Müller.

He also looked back with satisfaction at the duel with the southern Europeans.

"I'm positive that we can hold our own against difficult opponents at the highest level.

I wasn't so sure beforehand," he said, praising the team's commitment and discipline.

The team appeared more compact, the distances between the individual parts of the team could be kept small, and the defensive line was more aggressive than usual.

With these means, the DFB-Elf managed to keep Spain far from the goal.

At the same time, Bayern's offensive player spoke of humility, whether the goal difference was still negative and only one point on the credit side.

"There's no reason to be euphoric." He added self-critically: He was surprised not to have fired a single shot on goal at the tournament when things were going so well in training.

Füllkrug confirmed the latter and agreed with his colleague, who is more experienced in World Cup games: "It was the right step, but it's still 1-1.

That gives us energy, but that's not the end of it." The starting position is a bit reminiscent of 2018, when the DFB selection should only have beaten South Korea (0: 2) after the late win against Sweden (2: 1), to advance to the round of 16.

"What puts a smile on our faces is that we have a chance of making it to the round of 16 and then showing the football world what we're made of," said Müller optimistically, but a "power of the late goal" wanted himself did not develop with the team at that time.

It was "a similar situation," said Müller.

"Now we just have to do it differently."

Müller did not want to answer whether he himself or Füllkrug should act as a striker against Costa Rica or whether both should be called up together.

"My role has always been the same, I try to lead the way," said Müller.

But the line-up is up to national coach Hansi Flick.

Torheld Füllkrug does not see himself as competing with Müller.

"Stupid question," he said on the subject of whether he or Müller should storm against Costa Rica.