Germany are through to the UEFA Euro 2020 last 16 after finishing runners-up in a Group F containing France, Portugal and Hungary. bundesliga.com explains why the three-time winners can not only beat England in the next round, but go all the way...
1) A recalled Thomas Müller
Müller is probably the most unique player in the whole competition, Bayern Munich's Raumdeuter effectively having invented a position in a glittering career which has taken in a record 10 Bundesliga titles, two UEFA Champions League and a FIFA World Cup with Germany. Müller's awkward gait and fun off-field character may lull opponents into a false sense of security, but there is no question that there is significant substance to go with his often wrongly perceived lack of style; a cutting edge alongside the smiles. Müller remains the record scorer at World Cups among active players with 10, but makes chances just as well as he takes them, setting an all-time assist record with 21 as Bayern won the eighth of nine consecutive Bundesliga titles in 2019/20, and adding another 18 last term.
Watch: A Thomas Müller highlight reel
2) History on their side
No team has been crowned European champions more often than Germany, who have lifted the title three times - in 1972, 1980 and 1996. They're also three-time runners-up, most recently losing out to Spain in 2008. Either side of winning their fourth World Cup at Brazil 2014, Die Mannschaft showcased their fabled tournament pedigree by going deep and reaching the semi-finals. Four semi-final appearances represents a competition record, while defeats in the last four to 2012 winners Spain and 2016 runners-up France were only their 10th and 11th respectively from 49 matches in the competition heading into Euro 2020.
3) Winning habit at club level
Germany's winning mentality runs deep. Antonio Rüdiger, Kai Havertz and Timo Werner got their hands on the 2020/21 UEFA Champions League with Chelsea. Twelve months earlier, Müller, Manuel Neuer, Joshua Kimmich, Serge Gnabry, Leon Goretzka and Niklas Süle were the ones hoisting Old Big Ears aloft. Bayern's boys, also including teenager Jamal Musiala and Leroy Sane, added the Bundesliga title to their collection in 2020/21, while Ilkay Gündogan helped Manchester City wrap up the English Premier League equivalent with room to spare. Recalled defender Mats Hummels partnered up with Borussia Dortmund teammate Emre Can to win the DFB Cup, meanwhile, and is one of five surviving members of Löw's triumphant 2014 World Cup ensemble. Suffice to say it'd take a truck load of abacuses to count all the senior winner's medals within the Germany ranks.
4) Group of Death actually an advantage
Being drawn in Group F alongside world champions France and European champions Portugal may not have appeared to be an advantage at first glance, but as well as being one of the favourites for the tournament in their own right, Germany won't mind meeting some other top seeds so soon. Germany can't face reigning world champions France again until the final, which would be the perfect chance for revenge following their 1-0 defeat on Matchday 1. Portugal are the defending champions, meanwhile, and in Cristiano Ronaldo boast the player with the most career goals at the competition, but even he couldn't prevent Die Mannschaft running riot in a 4-2 thumping in the second group game. No prizes for guessing who boasts the psychological advantage ahead of a possible final meeting with the holders. The winner of Ukraine vs. Sweden await in the quarter-finals, if Germany do as they did in the 2010 FIFA World Cup last 16, 1996 Euro semi-finals, 1990 World Cup semi-finals and 1970 World Cup quarter-finals, and dump out England. The Netherlands, Czech Republic, Denmark and Wales are potential semi-finals opponents.
5) Kimmich, jack of all trades, master of some
Kimmich emerged as a world-class right-back at Bayern, making it into UEFA's Champions League Team of the Season as a defender in 2018 and winning the individual award of Defender of the Season in 2020, despite the fact he had graduated into midfield by then. Now regarded as one of the best, if not the best, No.6s in the world, Kimmich completed 89 percent of his passes last season, a league-high among regular starting midfielders in the Bundesliga, as well as averaging 11 miles covered per game and winning eight one-on-ones per 90 minutes. Thiago's departure for Liverpool last season has more than been assuaged. Goretzka is a fine foil for Kimmich in the Bayern midfield, but at international level they also have Gündogan and Toni Kroos for company; the former who top scored with 13 goals as Man City won their fifth league title; the latter who has won three Champions Leagues in his time with Real Madrid.
Watch: Joshua Kimmich the midfielder under the tactical microscope
Kimmich reverting to the right-hand side lets Joachim Löw squeeze three world-class midfielders into his side instead of two, and it's worth remembering that nine of his 15 assists for his country have come from a starting position out wide.