Facts & figures: Germany

Factbox on World Cup qualifiers Germany: World Cup record:

Previous appearances in finals: 16

Best performance: Winners 1954, 1974, 1990

Runners-up: 1966, 1982, 1986, 2002

Coach:

Joachim Low, who took over after the 2006 World Cup, succeeding Jurgen Klinsmann. He steered his team to the Euro 2008 final where they lost to Spain and is equally confident of a good run in his first World Cup in charge.

Key players:

Michael Ballack (Chelsea). Age: 33. Midfielder.

This is likely to be the last major tournament for the German captain who is desperate for World Cup success after collecting a runners-up medal in 2002. The midfielder also finished on the losing side at Euro 2008. Ballack has mended ties with Loew after a public spat following Euro 2008.

Mario Gomez (Bayern Munich). Age: 24. Striker.

Became the Bundesliga's most expensive transfer when he joined Bayern in the close season for a reported 35 million euros. Yet to replicate his club goal-scoring form for Germany. Deadly in the air and inside the box.

Lukas Podolski (Cologne). Age: 24. Striker.

A goal-scoring machine for Germany, having racked up 37 goals in 69 internationals. The quick left-footer will be Loew's first choice in attack in South Africa.

FIFA world ranking November 2009: 6

How they qualified:

Germany topped European Group Four with a near-flawless campaign in which they won eight out of 10 matches - including both against rivals Russia - and drew two.

Prospects:

German football chiefs have said the team can win a fourth World Cup, with the players also confident of a good run in South Africa. On a good day Germany can beat any team with a deadly attack while their rock-solid defence, which conceded only five goals in 10 qualifiers, will again be a major asset.

A lack of consistency against top teams though will be their main handicap.