Germany are just one match away from a fourth World Cup success, but face the daunting task of tackling a Lionel Messi inspired Argentina at the Maracana on Sunday. However, they needn’t be worried.
The ever-efficient Germans have overcome a group that featured Portugal, the United States and Ghana, before seeing off Algeria and France without the need of extra-time and penalties. Then came the astonishing dismantling of hosts Brazil, with the record-breaking 7-1 victory booking their place in the World Cup final where they will face Argentina.
The national side have always shown well at major tournaments, only to fall at the last two hurdles – since the 2006 World Cup, Germany have always featured in the last-four – but they have been considered a work in progress when they do so and have not tasted World Cup success since the 1990 triumph in Italy.
But this year will be different, and here are five reasons why.
1. Germany’s attack has gelled together like no other
Thomas Müller may have taken the plaudits for his five goals during the World Cup, but they have come as a result of the likes of Toni Kroos, Mesut Özil and Bastian Schweinsteiger forming an allegiance that no other team has shown signs of matching. The understanding between Germany’s attacking pack was not only in full evidence against Brazil, but in their victories over Portugal and the United States, and their willingness to get forward sees them more often than not overwhelm their opponents and create space for an extra man.
2. In Müller, Germany may not have the most gifted of strikers, but he’s a natural finisher
The Bayern Munich striker may not have the skill set of Messi, but he has the instinct of a natural predator if you place him anywhere near the opposition’ goal. His finishes can seem like the most simple of efforts, yet it is these such goals that will win a nation a World Cup. Much like Miroslav Klose, whose entire 16-goal haul at World Cups have come within 12 yards, Müller can have the biggest influence on the game by the smallest of efforts.
3. Lahm’s return has solidified the defence
Germany’s defence was criticised early in the tournament when they conceded twice against Ghana, but Joachim Loew went against everything he said when he returned Philipp Lahm to his natural right-back position. Per Mertesacker was ousted at centre-back to make room for Jerome Boateng, with Mats Hummels and Benedikt Höwedes making up the back-four, and they have formed a far more solid unit than their early form suggested. Hummels’ fitness for the final will prove to be hugely influential.
4. The squad are oozing calmness
It takes a lot to rattle a German, especially when their team are coming off a 7-1 thrashing of Brazil. So when the team turned out for a spot of volleyball before their training session on Thursday, it was no surprise that the likes of Ozil and Sami Khedira were laughing and joking (although the extremely short shorts were largely uncalled for). A glance at the Argentinian team will show you a side that are under pressure to deliver, and the longer they go into a match without a goal the more tense they become. The last side Germany faced like that was Brazil, and we all know how that ended…
5. Germany are a team of winners
17 of Germany’s 23 man squad have enjoyed silverware since the last World Cup, ranging from the Champions League to the FA Cup, the DFB-Pokal to the Italian Cup. With the just a handful of Loew’s squad yet to experience the enjoyment of winning a major trophy, Germany will be hungry for more, and what better to satisfy your appetite than to secure the World Cup trophy.