Following their dramatic 7-1 thumping of Brazil in the semi-finals, former national team goalkeeper Jens Lehmann is sure that Germany will taste success in Sunday’s World Cup final against Argentina.
Germany managed a 4-0 victory over their South American opponents in the last eight of the 2010 World Cup, after securing a 4-2 win on penalties over them at the same stage in 2006 on home soil.
Lehmann was the starting keeper for the latter fixture, after then-manager Jurgen Klinsmann opted for the former Arsenal shot-stopper over long-time first-choice option Oliver Kahn in the run-up to the tournament.
He saved two spot-kicks in the aforementioned shootout to guide his team to a win, and believes that the side will again overcome their Lionel Messi-led rivals to claim a fourth World Cup title.
‘I’m sure of it, and at the moment I’m frantically searching for a flight to Brazil because I’d love to be there,’ he said. ‘Germany have got greater strength in depth and we’ve got more players who play at the highest level every year.
‘You only need to look at the kind of big international games the Bayern players have been involved in over the last few years. That makes a huge difference because you gain a lot of experience from those sorts of encounters.’
Asked about the potential impact of Messi, who was left on the bench for the 2006 clash as an 18-year-old, Lehmann conceded that the Barcelona forward has the potential to decide the match but trusts that Joachim Low’s side will be able to stifle his influence, just as the Netherlands did in the semis.
‘He’s more than capable of deciding matches on his own, but on Sunday I don’t think he’ll have it any easier than he did in the semi-final against the Netherlands - if anything it’ll be harder for him,’ he stated.
‘Messi is outstanding but Germany have got a more complete attack and they’ll break down the Argentinian defence, although they might have to be patient.’
Sunday’s final at the Marcana will be the third time the two sides have met at this stage in the competition, with a Diego Maradona-inspired Argentina defeating West Germany 3-2 in 1986, before a 1-0 win four years later at Italia '90 saw the European outfit claim revenge.
24 years on, Die Mannschaft are largely considered favourites going into the game but, having somewhat underwhelmed prior to their thrashing of the hosts, will hope that old habits do not creep back in when they take to the pitch for the biggest match in world football.