8th July 1990: this was the day when Germany lifted the World Cup trophy for the last time in their impressive football history. The German side, at the time led by the iconic Franz Beckenbauer, defeated Argentina at Stadio Olimpico in Rome thanks to an Andreas Brehme's late goal from the penalty spot, thus avenging the 3-2 defeat at the Mexico 86 final.
Germany’s UEFA qualifying round was a walk in the park. They finished at the top of the group with nine wins and only one draw in ten matches. Germany proved to have some impressive firepower, as they scored thirty-six goals during the qualifying stage and conceded only ten. One might claim that Joachim Löw’s side were placed in an easy group with only Sweden and maybe Austria and Ireland capable of threatening their dominance. Although there is some truth to that statement, Germany managed to put up some consistent and impressive performances, especially at Aviva Stadium in Dublin when they hammered Ireland 6-1 and one year later when the Germans clinched a 5-3 at Stockholm against Sweden.
Germany were placed at Group G alongside with Cristiano Ronaldo’s Portugal, Ghana and the United States of America. At a first glance, the Germans should walk through into the next stage of the competition without any major troubles since that maybe only Portugal might be able to cause them some concern. On the other hand, it is also fair to say that if Ronaldo does not fully recover his physical condition in time for the World Cup, Portugal will certainly not pose any major threat to the Germans. The US and Ghana are fairly unpredictable, but none of them seems capable of disturbing the Germans' leadership.
Joachim Löw has been responsible for the German side’s evolution since his arrival at the team in 2004, first as an assistant manager and, from 2006 onwards, as the team’s head coach. Löw injected “new life” into the team, and although he has not yet managed to win any major international competitions, he is undoubtedly preparing the future of the Mannschaft. A tactical mastermind, Joachim Löw implemented a versatile 4-2-3-1 on his side to replace Germany’s already “worn” 4-4-2 system. His new tactical approach can be easily transformed into a 4-3-3 and relies on the constant incursions from the team’s wing backs that provide enough support to Özil and Müller, who usually work as an advanced playmaker and an inside forward respectively.
Germany are not only favourites to win their group but they are also firm favourites to win the tournament, especially in a moment when they seem to be the strongest team among the top contenders.
16 June 2014: Germany 2 Portugal 0 Best Odds 10/11 @ Paddy Power
21 June 2014: Germany 2 Ghana 0 Best Odds 4/11 @ Ladbrokes
26 June 2014: USA 1 Germany 3 Best Odds 3/10 @ William Hill
Goalkeepers: Neuer, Weidenfeller, Zieler
Defenders: Lahm, Boateng, Durm, Howedes, Hummels, Mustafi, Ginter, Mertesacker, Schmelzer
Midfielders: Khedira, Bender, Schweinsteiger, Grosskreutz, Draxler, Götze, Kramer, Kroos, Müller, Özil
Forwards: Volland, Klose, Podolski, Schürlle, Reus