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Star player:
Michael Ballack

Previous appearances:
1934 (third place), 1938 (first round), 1954 (winners), 1958 (fourth place), 1962 (quarter-finals), 1966 (runners-up), 1970 (third place), 1974 (winners), 1978 (second round), 1982 (runners-up), 1986 (runners-up), 1990 (winners), 1994 (quarter-finals), 1998 (quarter-finals), 2002 (runners-up), 2006 (third place).

How they qualified
Liechtenstein (a)      6-0
Finland (a)               3-3
Russia (h)                2-1
Wales (h)                1-0
Liechtenstein (h)      4-0
Wales (a)                2-0
Azerbaijan (a)          2-0
Azerbaijan (h)          4-0
Russia (a)                1-0
Finland (h)               1-1

Perennial strong performers in tournaments, Low's side are sure to be contenders again in South Africa. If the likes of Ballack, Miroslav Klose and Mario Gomez click then a quarter-final spot could be the very least they could expect.

Strange but true
Having played in 16 World Cup finals, Germany have failed to get past the first round only once, in 1938. After Austria was annexed by Germany earlier that year, Nazi politicians ordered six star Austrian players too compete alongside Germans. The team was far from united, however, and could only draw 1-1 against Switzerland, losing the replay in front of a hostile crowd in Paris.

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