Munich - Off the Ball,'s weekday feature, casts an eye over some of the offbeat and occasionally controversial tales to have emerged from Germany's top flight sides.

Today, we find out about Franz Beckenbauer's aspirations for the 2014 FIFA World Cup in Brazil, Vedad Ibisevic's youth in America, and some reawakened European hope.

Like most football fans around the world, honorary president of FC Bayern München and legend of German football Franz Beckenbauer can hardly wait for the FIFA World Cup this summer, and he thinks Germany have a great chance of lifting the trophy. "I don't see a team that's better than Germany," said der Kaiser to Beckenbauer certainly knows what he's talking about: He won the World Cup as West Germany's captain in 1974, before coaching the team to victory in 1990, the only person in history to have accomplished that feat.

It's 34 years since Eintracht Frankfurt won their sole European trophy, the UEFA Cup in 1980. Now the Eagles are back on the European scene, the spirit of 1980 reawakened when a record 12,000 fans travelled to an away game at FC Girondins de Bordeaux in November. Club captain is hoping that such fervent support can inspire the current generation of players to write glory. "That was a long time ago, but you can see that the fans want the team to play in Europe. The atmosphere is incredible," he told

With 81 goals in 178 Bundesliga games, VfB Stuttgart's has considerable talent when it comes to football. It is no surprise, then, that as a teenager in the United States, he ditched American football to pursue the beautiful game. "It wasn't for me," he told "I didn't understand the rules!" Ibisevic played for various amateur "soccer" teams, where he "scored five or six goals a game," but his development threatened to stagnate until he was scouted and signed by Paris St Germain as a 20-year-old. Now one of the Bundesliga's most natural finishers, Ibisevic is never averse to offering youngsters advice. "I see really good players in the Stuttgart youth teams today, but making it as a professional depends on your mentality."