When the German ship beached itself upon the Brazilian coast during the summer months it did so in the hope of acquiring a chalice that had eluded them since 1990.
The Klinsmann and Low reign
When Jurgen Klinsmann began his short tenure in 2006, he began to manufacture the team into the international force they are today. Since, Germany have reached the semi-finals of every major competition up until the Brazil World Cup, losing out to Spain in the 2008 European Championship final.
With Klinsmann stepping down in 2008 it was time for a change at the helm. Joachim Low, Klinsmann’s understudy, stepped up through the ranks to command the side. With an emphasis on attacking football Germany began to build its very foundations on resolute, efficient football.
The solitary unit swept through the group stages with relative ease and their semi-final win over Brazil, a 7-1 drubbing, ripped the heart out of the Maracana and the Brazilian nation. Only once before, when Alcides Ghiggia scored the winning goal for Uruguay in the 1950 World Cup final had the infamous hub of Brazilian football been silenced.
In the final they met a man that may go down as the greatest footballing to ever live in Lionel Messi. Destiny was calling for a player who had won everything in world football and wanted to emulate his boyhood hero Diego Maradona. But football is a team game, and unlike Argentina, Brazil, and Portugal, Germany we’re not so reliant upon one individual. Winning the World Cup was done so due to the cohesiveness of the side and the collective group of players were rewarded with the ultimate prize.
Post World Cup
Their subsequent rematch against Argentina, just under two months after their victory in Rio, had little meaning. Their 4-2 defeat, many believed, was nothing more than a friendly exchange that had no real bearing on either competitor’s.
But when John O’Shea, marking his 100th cap for the Republic of Ireland, netted a last gasp equaliser at the Gelsenkirchen he did so marooning the German side 3 points adrift of the early pacesetters in Group D.
— FAI (@FAIreland) October 14, 2014
As if still drunk by their riches achieved over the summer months Germany have only secured a solitary win in their European Championship qualifying campaign.
After their defeat to Poland, their first qualification defeat since 2007, Mario Gotze simply sniggered when asked whether the Germans were in a slight crisis. But results in football speak for themselves and Low believes his side that used to be the hunter, were now the prey.
Per Mertesaker had already expressed that he was finding it difficult to find the motivation and aim when he began life back in the Premiership after an extended summer holiday and Mesut Ozil, despite playing out of position at club level, appears to be struggling as well.
If Germany, like many believe they can, are to follow in the footsteps and dominate international football like Spain, France, and Brazil before them, then the side must find the hunger for success once more. It is undoubtedly hard to find that motivation when the trophy that eluded them for so many years is finally within their grasp, but what separates the best from the rest, is finding the drive and hunger to emulate that success time and time again.