Opinion: Now or never! - The Schweini generation has to finish it off | Sports| German football and major international sports news | DW | 08.07.2014
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Opinion: Now or never! - The Schweini generation has to finish it off

Let's forget the fact that Germany doesn't have a good record against Brazil, it's time for an upset. It has to happen now, according to DW's Volker Wagener, because the 'Schweinsteiger Generation' hasn't proven itself.

It's getting serious, it's all or nothing now. The big four are the only teams left and all of the teams could argue that they now have a right to the title. The Brazilians could say that they have now won five times and deserve to win as the hosts. The Argentinians, could say that it has been a while (28 years) since they've stood at the pinnacle of world football. And the Dutch? If you've been in the final three times and come second every time, then you deserve the trophy. If not, psychiatrists are going to be called in.

Germany: No dirty tactics, no beautiful football, just the right mix

Many teams may lay claim to a right to the title, even the Italians and Spaniards. But they are already back at home and we are still there, in the final four. And that's been the case again and again recently. Runners up 2002, third place in 2006 and 2010. We often looked good, but we didn't get the results. There was always something not quite perfect, not allowing us to make the final step. Even when we were winning there was something missing. Our titles in 1974 and 1990 were thanks to sheer determination. They were hard wins. We were never popular because of this style of play, but we were feared.

Successful repairs, with the engine running

We don't need to talk about Brazil, we just need to look at ourselves. A lot is different this year: beautiful play, fighting spirit and efficiency are all there in equal measure. It's this mixture that gives us the chance of winning the title. Jogi's players are tough (they have run the most of any World Cup team so far), they are good at set-play situations (they've scored five goals from corners, free kicks or penalties) and they are more homogenous than any other team, from Manuel Neuer at the back to Thomas Müller up front.

Even recovering players like Bastian Schweinsteiger and Sami Khedira have come back to strength as the tournament has gone on. The collective is so strong that Mesut Özil's mental weaknesses, Mario Götze's uncertainty and Lukas Podolski's unsteadiness are compensated for comfortably by the group. Even the case of where little Philipp Lahm should play, which almost went to a vote in pubs and living rooms across Germany, was sorted out in the middle of the tournament. We also don't need to be afraid of Brazil's home advantage. Germany has played the various host nations eight times in big tournaments, and we have won every time!

Volker Wagener

DW's Volker Wagener

All of this leads to a sense of self-confidence which makes the team immune to little complaints about why our tactics were wrong against Ghana, or why we didn't dominate Algeria. How we have hated Italy for their focus on winning, while we fell victim to them again and again. Now, beautiful football is a thing of the past. Per Mertesacker has lead the charge.

He countered minor complaints made by an interviewer after the hard-fought win over Algeria with “What do you want? Should we play beautifully and lose?” Germany's football fans applauded his refreshingly uncouth and authentic comments. Now it's primarily about winning and thereafter we can go for the beauty pageant prize, perhaps.

Please finish it off, now!

Behind all of these issues there is one overriding thought: we want to be world champions. Coach Joachim Löw says it is high-time, the team wants it and the fans wearing black, red and gold have wanted it for ages. And now the recipe is right. The resoluteness of those involved also helps.

Jogi Löw must want the World Cup in his hands after all the minor successes since 2006. Schweinsteiger, Lahm, Podolski – the boy band of German football – have now well and truly left their football puberty behind them. After their wild, young years they need to be called to account. Otherwise, this era remains unfinished.

Even Grandpa Klose is still looking for the cream on top for his long career. One more goal and he will be the most successful goal-scorer ever and Ronaldo will have to call and congratulate him. Do it today Miro, and save another goal for Sunday!