WORLD CUP HISTORY: Few have World Cup pedigree like the Germans do. Only Brazil and Italy have won more World Cups. Three times a German captain has hoisted the trophy, in 1954, 1974 and 1990. In all, Germany has played in seven World Cup finals. Even in 2006 at home, an average side made it as far as the semi-finals, only to lose to eventual champs Italy in extra time.
QUALIFICATION: As per usual, qualifying produced little drama for Germany. Finishing four points clear of Russia atop their group was enough for advancement. Going undefeated and conceding just five goals through the ten matches, Germany sent a clear message to all their would-be opponents in South Africa.
KEY PLAYER: Bastian Schweinsteiger. With the loss of captain Michael Ballack, someone needs to step up. In a deep team, Schweinsteiger will now have the chance to shine. Generally used out wide by Joachim Loew, the Bayern Munich man may be pushed back inside to make up for the absence of Ballack. Powerful, technical, and typically German, Schweinsteiger has all the ability and tools to star at this World Cup.
EXPECTATIONS: Any football observer expects Germany to take a deep run in South Africa, but they do find themselves in a challenging Group D. They have three tough matches in Ghana, Serbia and Australia, but even without their skipper it would be hard to bet against the Germans from coming through.