Mats Hummels says that Germany are eager to throw down a marker ahead of the looming Euro 2020 finals when they face Denmark in a warm-up friendly.
The Germans open their European Championship campaign against world champions France in Munich on June 15, then face holders Portugal four days later in Group F.
However, Germany had their confidence knocked by a humbling 2-1 defeat to minnows North Macedonia in March following a 6-0 thrashing away to Spain last November and both defeats drew fierce criticism.
After nearly three years out of the squad, Hummels, 32, admitted he had been “nervous” with excitement before joining Germany’s training camp in Austria and says the Germans are eager to impress against the Danes on Wednesday.
“It is very important that we approach these games the way we want to play at the European Championships,” Hummels said, with Germany also playing a friendly against Latvia next Monday.
The Dortmund centre-back was in the German national side which crashed at the 2018 World Cup finals in Russia after finishing last in their group.
Three years on, the Germans want impressive wins over the Danes and Latvians to take into the Euro 2020 finals from June 11-July 11.
“Before the 2018 World Cup, our performances in the friendly games weren’t that convincing. We know that,” Hummels admitted.
Goalkeeper Manuel Neuer will captain Germany on Wednesday against the Danes, whose coach Kasper Hjulmand says the Germans have the “potential” to be crowned European champions for the fourth time.
“They have brought some of the experienced players to this tournament,” Hjulmand told reporters, referring to Hummels and Thomas Mueller, who Loew has recalled despite axing the pair from his plans in 2019.
“On top of that, some of the young players like (Leroy) Sane or (Serge) Gnabry have been around for a long time,” added Hjulmand, who talked up the Germans’ “fantastic quality”.
Denmark face Finland, Belgium and Russia in Euro 2020 Group B.
Following their World Cup debacle three years ago, Germany has much to prove at the Euro 2020 finals, postponed from last year, after which Loew will step down after 15 years in charge.
Hummels says the Germans must start well against France and Portugal before hosting Hungary in their final group match.
“It’s about not giving in difficult moments, taking command and countering,” said Hummels, who made the last of his 70 appearances for Germany in November 2018.