Germany coach Joachim Low: Hard work starts after perfect campaign
Germany have completed a perfect qualification campaign for the 2018 World Cup, making it 10 wins from 10 matches with a 5-1 win over Azerbaijan on Sunday, but coach Joachim Low said they must "remain grounded."
The World Cup holders averaged more than four goals a game and conceded only four, bettering Spain's 10 victories during their 2010 qualifying campaign on goal difference.
Having already ensured qualification with a win in Northern Ireland, Germany crushed Azerbaijan thanks to a Leon Goretzka brace and further strikes by Antonio Rudiger, Emre Can and Sandro Wagner.
But Low told reporters after the match: "It would be a mistake to take this qualification as a measuring stick.
"Sure, it was good. But there will be other calibres of team at the World Cup."
Germany hope to become the first country to defend the World Cup since Brazil's back-to-back wins in 1958 and 1962, and Low warned that their work had only just begun.
"We should remain grounded -- there's still plenty to do," he said. "I want to achieve something very big in a few months. It's very difficult to win the World Cup twice in a row."
Schalke midfielder Goretzka, who scored three goals in five appearances in the qualifiers, said he was happy with the performances over the past 13 months.
"That was a good campaign," he said. "We've shown consistency, also against teams which parked the bus. We scored more than two, three goals in nearly every match."
Sunday also saw Thomas Muller become the Germany player with the most wins in qualifying matches for major tournaments.
The Bayern Munich star has appeared in 39 matches in total, with 34 of those being won, surpassing the record set by former captain Philipp Lahm.
Stephan Uersfeld is the Germany correspondent for ESPN FC. Follow him on Twitter @uersfeld.