In which Herr Ballack discusses – in German, with English subtitles, mind – his World Cup memories with FIFA.com, plus what chance a Germany win in Brazil this summer.
Cruyff's wonderful Holland got close in 1974… but no cigars.
Arsenal teenager Serge Gnabry has a "big chance" of making Germany's World Cup squad, according to Arsene Wenger.
Group G fixtures:
Germany v Portugal
June 16 Salvador, 1700
Germany v Ghana
June 21 Fortaleza, 2000
USA v Germany
June 26 Recife, 1700
FIFA World Ranking: 2
Head coach: Joachim Low
How they qualified: Germany's qualifying campaign was as convincing as you could get – ruthless, you might even say. They went unbeaten in Group C, with nine wins from ten games. They also banged in 36 goals - more than any other team in the European qualifying section. No one sends out a message of intent quite like Germany.
World Cup pedigree: Formidable, fearsome, though not exactly flawless in recent years. Still, only Brazil and Italy have won more than Germany's three World Cups (1954, 1974, 1990). No other team has played more matches at the finals (99). They've also scored more goals (222) in World Cup finals than any other team.