Any team hoping to get their hands on the Euro 2012 trophy will first have to get past Germany who are now the number one title contenders, German winger Marco Reus said on Saturday.
A day after a 4-2 win over Greece sent them into the last four, Reus, nicknamed 'Rolls Reus' for the quality of his game by British media, said Germany had been improving since the start of the tournament and were now the team to beat.
England play Italy in their quarter-final on Sunday and a victory for the English would set up a mouth-watering last-four clash, a repeat of their last-16 match-up at the 2010 World Cup which Germany won 4-1.
"Before the tournament we said we want to win the title," said the 23-year-old Reus, who was on target against Greece on his European Championship debut. "We have kept improving and anyone wanting to get the title will have to get past us."
"England have also been improving. They are good and have an important player back with Wayne Rooney. But I think we are a better team both individually and as a unit."
Proof of that point was the fact that coach Joachim Low restructured his team's front-line with three changes against the Greeks but the three-times European champions looked to have lost none of their firepower.
"We know exactly how strong we are," said fellow winger Andre Schurrle, another young player who slipped into the team seamlessly against Greece.
"The coach wanted some changes and you could see that there was no compromise in the quality of our performance. It is a huge advantage to have so many outstanding players."
Germany have stretched their winning streak in competitive games to 15 games and with the enthusiasm of the younger generation there is little to suggest they cannot extend it on June 28 in Warsaw.
"We can say in a way that there is another generation, younger players coming forward," said Schurrle. "Bastian Schweinsteiger and Philipp Lahm, who have been around longer they are a bit of an older generation," said Schurrle.
"So it is some fresh air coming in and that mix [of young and old] is right."