SOCHI, RUSSIA: Germany's Premier League stars Emre Can and Shkodran Mustafi expect a tough battle against Mexico in Thursday's Confederations Cup semi-final as the world champions chase more silverware in Russia.
Liverpool midfielder Can and Arsenal defender Mustafi have just over 30 international appearances between them, yet are senior figures in a young Germany squad.
Despite resting nearly all of their World Cup winners and bringing an inexperienced side to Russia, Germany's young guns won Group B and face Mexico at Sochi's Fischt stadium for a place in Sunday's Confed Cup final.
Juan Carlos Osorio's Mexicans had to come from behind in all three of their Group A games, drawing 2-2 with Portugal, then beating both New Zealand and Russia by the same 2-1 margin.
Mustafi - one of only three 2014 World Cup winners in Russia - says Germany's young guns are relishing their clash against Mexico's comeback kings.
“Mexico remind me a bit of Chile, it's a team which is very aggressive and can play very varied football," said the 25-year-old Arsenal centre back.
“They are very organised in defence, experienced players and we'll need to be patient.
“We have to find a way to disrupt them and, a bit like us, they have no superstars.”
Mustafi was left on the bench for Sunday's 3-1 win over Cameroon, but is set to feature in a three-man defence against Mexico.
Can has featured in all three matches so far in Russia and says the Germans must play to their strengths.
“We'll be well prepared for this game, everyone is looking forward to it,” said the 23-year-old.
“They are an uncomfortable opponent, similar to Chile.
“They have very flexible players in a technically strong team, it won't be easy.
“But we have no reason to hide, because we have a strong team.
“No one had expected much from us, but the quality is up there.
“Even if we have never played together before, a lot of things are already working well.”
With World Cup winners Sami Khedira and Toni Kroos left at home, Can sees this tournament as his chance to stamp his claim for a place in Germany's midfield at next year's World Cup in Russia.
“The Confed Cup is a chance for me to prove what I can do,” said Can.
“I am going harder into the challenge - it's developing me as a player and a person.
“I don't have that many international matches behind me, but I am one of the most experienced here and I will pull the team along.”