Munich - After hitting rock bottom little over a decade ago, Joachim Löw's oft-cited broke the mould at the 2014 FIFA World Cup in Brazil to become the first European outfit to go all the way on the American continent. traces the rise of German football to the pinnacle of the world game...

With an ageing squad, Germany’s national team, as defending European champions, exited UEFA EURO 2000 with a solitary point to their name. The disappointment was compounded by a 3-0 defeat to a second-string Portugal team, as well as a first competitive loss to England for 34 years. It was the watershed moment that triggered the grassroots overhaul of the nation's football landscape. The DFL Deutsche Fußball Liga together with the DFB decided the only way forward was to invest in youth.

With centrally regulated academies introduced at all 36 Bundesliga and Bundesliga 2 clubs, German football slowly began to reap the rewards of its daring rethink. Dortmund's Marco Reus and 2014 World Cup winner Mario Götze are prime examples of the success of the top flight's recruitment policy, while FC Schalke 04's pioneering Knappenschmiede setup has long prided itself on producing the next big thing, with four of its graduates, including Golden Glove winner (l.), helping Germany end a 24-year wait for World Cup glory in Brazil in the summer.

As well as thriving domestically in front of the Bundesliga's famed support base, the likes of Bayern, Dortmund and Schalke have also taken their native-centric credo further afield in the UEFA Champions League. Since 2012/13, Germany's teams have enjoyed three automatic Champions League spots, as well as one play-off place, after usurping Italy in the UEFA rankings. Bayern and Dortmund duly stormed the Wembley gates on 25 May 2013 in the only all-German European final to date to put the country well and truly back on the .

Just as the mandatory introduction of football academies at every Bundesliga and Bundesliga 2 club has transformed the top-to-toe of budding stars across the country, the system has simultaneously spawned a new breed of coaches perfectly crafted to cope with the demands of the modern game. Dortmund's affable tactician Jürgen Klopp (pictured) is a fantastic example thereof, while his 1. FSV Mainz 05 successor Thomas Tuchel, currently on sabbatical, mastered the daily rigours of the Bundesliga to critical acclaim.