Former Bayern Munich and Manchester United midfielder Bastian Schweinsteiger believes the new Germany generation deserve their opportunity to follow in his footsteps and defend the country's FIFA World Cup crown in Russia.
While Schweinsteiger's midfield colleagues from 2014 – Toni Kroos, Mesut Özil, Sami Khedira and Thomas Müller – will still have key roles to play this summer, there has been something of a changing of the guard and the former Germany captain believes the current crop of youngsters will be just as important this time around, with Joachim Löw's squad boasting nine Bundesliga-based World Cup debutants (Marco Reus, Leon Goretzka, Timo Werner, Julian Brandt, Joshua Kimmich, Niklas Süle, Sebastian Rudy, Jonas Hector, Marvin Plattenhardt).
"It's time for other players. I think Germany can defend the trophy – they've got a real chance," Schweinsteiger, who retired from international football following UEFA Euro 2016, told kicker.
Watch: We take a look back at Schweinsteiger's legendary Bundesliga career
Currently plying his trade with MLS side Chicago Fire, Schweinsteiger's influential hand in Germany's success at Brazil 2014 – his third World Cup finals – means he is perfectly placed to discuss what makes a trophy-winning group tick behind the scenes.
"With that generation, we had a lot to overcome, but we came out the stronger for it and grew into a real group," Schweinsteiger said. "On the field, you need a certain understanding, the right balance and just a good feeling. You need players who lead. You need quality – and we had that, too. To win it, everything has to click, otherwise it doesn't happen."
Whether it happens with the new Germany generation in Russia and the nation become only the third to win back-to-back World Cups (Italy 1934, 1938; Brazil 1958, 1962) remains to be seen, but Schweinsteiger is certain that in Löw they have the right man at the helm to do so.
"I tip my hat to him, and particularly how he always came through different situations in tournaments," Schweinsteiger said of his former mentor. "And also how he leads and gives the team a style. Löw is a world-class coach, who leads; the successes would be unthinkable without him."