World Cup 2014 second-favourites Germany outscored all around them on the road to Brazil and on current form are live contenders at odds of 4/1 to lift the famous trophy for the fourth time in Rio de Janeiro next July.
No other team in Europe accumulated more points than Joachim Low’s side in qualifying and an exciting squad packed with players plying their trade at the best clubs in Europe will fancy their chances of upsetting the favourites on their own turf, when the greatest show on earth rolls back around at the end of the season.
Unbeatable Die Mannschaft are currently the highest scoring international team on the planet.
The Netherlands’ 8-1 thumping of Hungary in their penultimate World Cup 2014 qualifier threatened to take the wind out of Germany’s sails, but their 5-3 victory in Oslo ensured that Joachim Low’s side finished the qualifying campaign with two more goals than their neighbours.
South American top-qualifiers Argentina came within a goal of Germany’s impressive tally of 36 strikes, but Lionel Messi and co played six more qualifying games and lost matches against Uruguay and Colombia in the process.
Low has a fantastic blend of youth and experience among his plethora of midfield options.
Andre Schurrle’s four-goal salvo in the last two qualifiers gives some indication of the competition for places in this Germany side as the Chelsea winger had not started a competitive game for his country since Euro 2012 before the match against Ireland.
The likes of Mesut Ozil, Bastian Schweinsteiger and Thomas Muller will be aware that no matter what they have achieved in their careers young upstarts Schurrle, Julian Draxler and Mario Gotze – to name just three of many – have the coach’s confidence and are ready to step in should the main men lose form.
Germany’s record in major tournaments is only rivalled by next summer’s hosts.
Brazil head the betting at 10/3 for next year’s football jamboree and they are the only other country that can match Germany’s seven appearances in World Cup final matches, with the Selecao winning the trophy five times to Die Mannschaft’s three.
However, Low’s side have a better record in recent renewals – making it to the semi-finals of World Cup 2010 in South Africa and bowing out at the same stage on home soil four years earlier – and have reached six European Championship finals, winning three.