Germany are one of the big favourites and I think they are the only European team other than Spain who can win the World Cup next summer.
German club football is on a high and producing top-class talent. The national team's attacking midfield options are incredible.
But conditions are different in South America: the grass is longer and thicker, and the heat and humidity can be an issue.
Like all of the European teams, Germany will need to adapt quickly to excel.

How do they play?

Germany's typical starting XI
Germany's typical starting XI

Style & formation: Blessed with far more flair than many Germany sides of the past, their fluid 4-2-3-1 is underpinned by Bastian Schweinsteiger and the currently injured Sami Khedira anchoring the side from the base of midfield.
Ahead of them lies creative fulcrum Mesut Ozil, who is usually flanked by the dangerous Marco Reus and Thomas Muller.
Strengths: They have cover in virtually every position and an extraordinary variety of forward-thinking midfielders. Try picking three from Ozil, Reus, Muller, Andre Schurrle, Julian Draxler, Mario Goetze, Toni Kroos, Sidney Sam and Lukas Podolski.
Weaknesses: German teams traditionally have a reliable defence but the current one has creaked of late and they conceded seven goals in two qualifiers against Sweden. Per Mertesacker is approaching 100 caps but he has a perceived lack of pace and can be vulnerable to balls over the top.
The evergreen Miroslav Klose is just one goal shy of Ronaldo's all-time World Cup finals tally of 15, but he will be 36 by the time the tournament starts and a reliable replacement has yet to be found.
Bastian Schweinsteiger

Key player

Bastian Schweinsteiger's glittering CV has one glaring omission - international silverware - and it's something the 29-year-old is desperate to rectify. The winger-turned-central midfielder has been described as the "brain" of the national team by coach Joachim Low, and he is no less influential at Bayern Munich.

One to watch

Earmarked for greatness, Julian Draxler became Schalke's youngest-ever player when he made his debut aged 17 back in 2011. Just over a year later, the gifted playmaker was called up to the preliminary senior squad for Euro 2012. Ten Bundesliga goals last season shows why Arsenal are reportedly interested.

The boss

At the helm since 2006, Joachim Low signed a new contract until 2016 earlier this year but the pressure is on to win a trophy after some agonising near misses. His win percentage of 68% is the highest of any Germany manager.

How they qualified
Germany topped Group C with an unbeaten record, sealing automatic qualification for the 2014 FIFA World Cup™ with nine victories from ten fixtures. Furthermore, coach Joachim Low’s charges hit 36 goals along the way, the most of any side in European zone qualifying. The three-time world champions’ eye-catching attacking displays have thrilled their fans and demonstrated why they are among the favourites to take the title in Brazil.

However, there is still plenty of room for improvement. The 4-4 draw with Sweden in Berlin is a painful memory, especially after Germany had led 4-0 lead. “We still have work to do before the World Cup,” commented Low. “I see two main areas to focus on: we need to stabilise both our defence and our play in the final third.” 

FIFA World Cup finals history
Germany lie third in the all-time world football ranking with three FIFA World Cup triumphs, behind only Brazil on five and Italy on four. The 1954 team won the tournament in Switzerland as rank outsiders, in what became known as the Miracle of Berne. Franz Beckenbauer lifted the trophy on home soil in 1974, and Lothar Matthaus followed suit at Italy 1990.

The Germans have also finished runners-up four times, in 1966, 1982, 1986 and 2002, and came third on four occasions, in 1934 and 1970, and at the last two finals in 2006 and 2010. No other team has played more matches (99) or scored more goals (222) at the FIFA World Cup finals. 

The key players
Keeper Manuel Neuer is the undisputed No1, while many experts believe he is the real deal, equipped not only to follow in the footsteps of Oliver Kahn and Jens Lehmann, but also to develop into one of the best in the world. Full-back Philipp Lahm and schemer Bastian Schweinsteiger earned their international spurs long ago: each has reached 100 caps but is still at their peak.

The next generation appears immensely promising too. Former Real Madrid starlet Mesut Ozil, who now laces his boots at Arsenal was just 21 when he thrilled the crowds at the 2010 FIFA World Cup and is a gifted creative player with passing ability to match the best in the world. Up front, Thomas Muller won the adidas Golden Boot and was named Best Young Player at the 2010 finals, while youngsters Marco Reus, Andre Schurrle, Toni Kroos and Mario Gotze keep getting better and better . 

Coach: Joachim Low

Best performances in a FIFA competition:
 FIFA World Cup Switzerland 1954, Germany 1974, Italy 1990 (Winners), FIFA U-20 World Cup Australia 1981 (Winners)

Former stars: Franz Beckenbauer, Gerd Müller, Lothar Matthaus