Germany depart for South Africa today with their coach Joachim Low happy with the way his side has prepared for the FIFA World Cup™ so far.
After a two-day break following a 3-1 win over Bosnia-Herzegovina, the Germans congregated in Frankfurt today before flying out to Johannesburg this evening on board a chartered plane. Making the flight is a squad of 23 players who Low believes can make history of their own in the southern hemisphere, even though the event will also be a first for many of them.
"We have young players who are technically very good and the potential is high," he said. "Everybody has worked hard, but we still have another week of hard work ahead.
"We have a good team with great will and a great atmosphere. Everybody is passionate in training and that makes me certain that we can play a good tournament - I have lots of faith."
"He always speaks his mind clearly and openly - for me, Philipp Lahm is an important person to talk to," said Low after announcing the Bayern Munich player would replace the injured Michael Ballack as the leader of his side on the field. "I know that I am always going to get open and honest feedback from him."
He also knows he can rely on Lahm, who scored the opening goal of the World Cup in Munich four years ago and whose goal against Bosnia-Herzegovina last Wednesday was Germany's last from open play before they kick off their campaign against Australia next Sunday.
However, several other positions of Low's side are yet to be decided. Miroslav Klose has failed to impress in his two starts over the last week while his replacement in both games, Cacau, gave the team new verve and energy when he came on.
"I had not expected (Klose) to explode after just three or four days - he just needs match practice," said Low, defending his selection of the Bayern Munich striker who scored just three times all last season.
"He needs a few more good training sessions and he will get those in South Africa. Then Miroslav will show what he is capable of at the tournament."
Likewise, Thomas Muller has shone in his two short appearances, giving Low food for thought over the next seven days before he has to hand in his first World Cup team sheet promptly 90 minutes before kick-off in Johannesburg.
"I struggle to consider anything a regular starting XI," said Low on the German Football Association (DFB) website. "A team usually finds its feet during a tournament; things develop. Of course at the World Cup we will need players like Cacau and Muller who can put their mark on a game."