Germany headed into the 2014 World Cup finals as one of the favourites, but there were still a few concerns.
Some of the key players, such as Sami Khedira, had suffered injuries in the 2013-14 season, while some, like Mesut Ozil, did not have the best of forms in the latter stages of the campaign.
One German player who had been superb throughout the season was Marco Reus, who scored 16 goals and provided 13 assists in just 26 Bundesliga starts. There were also five goals and two assists in nine Champions League fixtures.
Borussia Dortmund may have eventually finished second behind Bayern Munich in the league, but Reus was hailed by many as the best German player in Europe for the 2013-14 campaign.
A versatile attacking midfielder, Reus was set to be the star for Germany in Brazil, but he picked up an ankle injury in a friendly international against Armenia before the tournament began and was ruled out.
It came as a bitter blow to many German fans, but Joachim Low's side have managed without him so far, qualifying for the final and retaining their chances of becoming the first European team to win the World Cup in South America.
Former Germany international midfielder Dietmar Hamann has said that the 25-year-old was a ‘big loss’, and believes he is Germany’s best attacking player.
‘I think he is Germany's most influential and best player going forward but they are in the semis now without him’, Goal.com quotes the former Liverpool and Manchester City star as saying. ‘So it is difficult to say he would improve them but, yes, I am a big fan and he is still a big loss’.
Hamann made the comments ahead of Tuesday’s semi-final tie between Germany and Brazil at the Estadio Mineirao in Belo Horizonte that ended in a 7-1 victory for the three-time world champions.
Despite Die Mannschaft’s flawless performance against the hosts, one suspects that Hamann is unlikely to change his opinion on who the best attacking German player is.
Master class from Germany. Clinical,organised, hard working,unselfish and humble. Very proud of the team. One to go.— Didi Hamann (@DietmarHamann) July 8, 2014
The destruction of the Selecao on Tuesday was a team effort, as Thomas Muller, Toni Kroos, Sami Khedira and Mesut Ozil all shone - some more than the others, yes, but no one was ‘head and shoulders’ above the rest.
There were many who suspected that Germany might struggle in the knockout stages without Reus, but so far they seem to have done well without him.
That’s not to say that Low would not have wanted him, but this German side have shown that they are not dependent on any one individual.