With his side set to face Uruguay in Saturday's third place play-off, midfielder Marcell Jansen echoed captain Philipp Lahm's hopes that Germany's young side can emulate the rise of FIFA World Cup™ finalists Spain.
Despite suffering key injuries in the run up to the finals, Germany have played some of the tournament's best football, hammering both England and Argentina before losing Wednesday's semi-final 1-0 to Spain.
Joachim Low's side may have failed to reach the final but there have been many positives to take from their tournament, including the unearthing of rising stars Mesut Ozil and Thomas Muller. European champions Spain face the Netherlands in Sunday's final in Johannesburg and Jansen says Germany are hoping to emulate the progress made by La Roja's in recent years.
"Despite the injuries, the team has always shown character and team spirit and underlined what can be achieved in a tournament like this," said Jansen, referring principally to regular captain Michael Ballack, who missed the FIFA World Cup with an ankle injury. "In terms of development, we have taken a giant step forward. Maybe we can achieve the same success the Spaniards started three years ago."
A 'flu virus hit the Germany squad at their base in Erasmia on Thursday night, with coach Joachim Low, Lahm and Lukas Podolski all affected. Striker Miroslav Klose, who is just one short of Ronaldo's all-time World Cup goalscoring record of 15, has a back injury and is struggling to be fit, while reserve goalkeeper Tim Wiese has a knee injury.