Leon Goretzka insists Germany's players are to blame for their shock defeat to North Macedonia and not under-fire head coach Joachim Low.
Germany lost 2-1 on Wednesday to the side ranked 52 places below them in the FIFA rankings – their first World Cup qualifying defeat since September 2011, a run spanning 35 games.
The loss was Die Mannschaft's second in four competitive matches, having also been thrashed 6-0 by Spain in November's Nations League clash.
Low recently announced he will quit his role with the national side after the rescheduled Euro 2020, though Germany's poor form – just five wins in their last 11 matches – has led to calls for a change before the tournament.
But Goretzka, who started all three of Germany's March qualifiers, has absolved the long-serving head coach of any blame for the latest calamitous loss, which leaves Germany third in Group J.
"We players are to blame for the defeat and no one else," he told ZDF. "We felt a touch of euphoria in the country after beating Iceland and Romania.
"We have just got to tell ourselves now that it is behind us. You have to see that the scaffolding is becoming even more stable. In any case, that is primarily the job of the players."
Die besten Antworten gibt man auf dem Platz! #MiaSanMia #WeiterImmerWeiter #StillHungry @FCBayern pic.twitter.com/MaHpiFrslQ
— Leon Goretzka (@leongoretzka_) April 3, 2021
Goretzka marked his return to club duty on Saturday with the winning goal in Bundesliga leaders Bayern Munich's 1-0 win over closest challengers RB Leipzig.
He has been a key player once again for Bayern this term, featuring 28 times in all competitions, 21 of those appearances coming in the Bundesliga.
The midfielder's drilled finish against Leipzig from a Thomas Muller cutback was his fifth Bundesliga goal in 2020-21, adding to five assists – only Muller (25) and Robert Lewandowski (41) have been directly involved in more for Bayern in the league this season.
Goretzka also leads the way among Bayern midfielders in the Bundesliga for recoveries per 90 minutes (8.98) and is behind only Javi Martinez (2.57) for interceptions, with 2.27 a game on average.
Bayern are reportedly eager to agree fresh terms with Goretzka on a new contract, with his current deal set to expire at the end of next season, and the 26-year-old has indicated he is ready to commit to the club.
"I feel very comfortable here," he said. "Bayern has helped me a lot in the last few years to take the next step in my career. That is why the tendency is clearly towards Bayern."
Standout matches today