When they stepped onto the pitch at the Estadio Mineirao on 8 July 2014, little did the 11 Germany players in Joachim Löw's side know that they were about to create FIFA World Cup history, tearing hosts Brazil and their dreams to shreds in a mind-blowing 7-1 demonstration.

Die Nationalmannschaft would go on to lift their fourth World Cup five days later, with a nail-biting extra-time win over Argentina, but it is that extraordinary semi-final demolition of the Seleção that will forever be associated with their South American triumph.

Since Germany recently hosted Brazil in a friendly in Berlin, before kicking off their World Cup defence in Russia this summer, bundesliga.com checks in with the men who produced one of the tournament's greatest ever performances on that cloudy Tuesday evening in Belo Horizonte.

Germany also demolished the hosts while wearing an away strip inspired by Brazil's most popular club: Flamengo. © gettyimages / Michael Steele

Manuel Neuer

Given the scoreline, it is easy to forget that Brazil actually had more shots on target (13) than Germany (12) in the semi-final, with Neuer forced to make no fewer than seven saves; his furious reaction when Oscar finally netted a last-minute consolation spoke volumes. Widely considered the best goalkeeper in the world, Neuer remains first-choice for Bayern Munich and Germany, although he has been out of action for most of 2017/18 with a foot injury. A four-time winner of the IFFHS World's Best Goalkeeper award, Neuer has inherited the captain's armband for both club and country, and the 31-year-old is now racing to be fit for this summer's showpiece in Russia.

Manuel Neuer is working hard to recover from a foot injury in time for this summer's World Cup. © imago

Philipp Lahm

Lahm sealed himself a place in the pantheon of German footballing greats as he captained Die Mannschaft to World Cup glory in Brazil, following in the footsteps of Fritz Walter (1954), Franz Beckenbauer (1974) and Lothar Matthäus (1990). The Bayern captain provided two assists in the semi-final win before hanging up his international boots at the end of the tournament. He played a further three seasons for boyhood club Bayern, before retiring in May 2017 with over 500 senior appearances and 21 titles to his name. Now an ambassador for Germany's UEFA Euro 2024 bid, the 34-year-old is set to attend at least one Germany game in Russia as part of a DFB delegation.

Watch: From the archives - A tribute to Philipp Lahm.

Jerome Boateng

Like Neuer, Boateng is still part of the first-team setup at Bayern, where he now forms one of the best central defensive partnerships in the world with international teammate Mats Hummels. As well as adding three more Bundesliga titles and a DFB Cup to his impressive trophy collection since the 2014 World Cup, the 29-year-old was voted Germany's Footballer of the Year in 2016, and was also included in the UEFA Team of the Year.

Mats Hummels

Germany were already 5-0 up by the time Hummels was substituted off for Per Mertesacker at half-time against Brazil, but the Dortmund defender recovered from a minor knee complaint to play all 120 minutes of the final against Argentina. After eight successful seasons with BVB – during which he won two Bundesliga titles and a DFB Cup - Bayern's prodigal son returned to the Allianz Arena in the summer of 2016, helping the record champions lift their fifth straight Meisterschale in his first season back. This season, the 29-year-old has been one of the most used outfield players under Jupp Heynckes as Bayern bid for another Bundesliga, DFB Cup and UEFA Champions League treble.

Since their successful World Cup campaign, Boateng and Hummels have become stalwarts of Bayern's defense. © imago

Benedikt Höwedes

Höwedes was one of four players to play every minute of the 2014 World Cup for Germany, along with Neuer, Lahm and Toni Kroos. Having spent his entire career with Schalke, the 30-year-old opted for a fresh start after Domenico Tedesco took over at the Veltins Arena, joining Juventus on loan at the start of 2017/18. Unfortunately, a series of thigh injuries have limited the former Royal Blues captain to just 68 minutes in Serie A this term, putting his chances of going to the 2018 World Cup in serious jeopardy. Undeterred, Höwedes recently told Die Welt that he firmly believes he can make it to Russia.

Benedikt Höwedes remains a household name for Schalke fans even though he's currently playing for Juventus. © DFL DEUTSCHE FUSSBALL LIGA

Sami Khedira

The former Stuttgart midfielder scored Germany's fifth against Brazil in a rampant opening half hour, before making way for Julian Draxler in the second half. The title win crowned a memorable summer for the midfielder, who lifted the Champions League title with Real Madrid just a couple of months earlier. He moved on to Juventus in summer 2015, winning back-to-back league and cup doubles with the Italian giants. Now one of the veterans of Löw's side at the age of 30, he is still a regular starter and has made over 30 appearances in all competitions this season.

Sami Khedira's influence in the German squad has grown since the 2014 World Cup. The midfielder even captained Die Mannschaft in a friendly against France in 2017. © gettyimages / Lars Baron

Bastian Schweinsteiger

The heartbeat of the Germany team in Brazil, Schweinsteiger played a final season at boyhood club Bayern Munich following the World Cup - winning a record-equalling eighth Bundesliga title in the process – before moving to Manchester United in summer 2015. The midfielder took over the Germany captaincy after Lahm's retirement, before stepping down from the international game himself in August 2016. Now a fan favourite at MLS side Chicago Fire, he and his wife Ana Ivanovic recently welcomed their first child, Luka, to the world. Schweinsteiger will return to Bayern's Allianz Arena this summer for a testimonial match, with the Fire set to take on the Reds in an official farewell encounter.

Bastian Schweinsteiger led many Bavarian conga lines in his successful time at Bayern Munich. © DFL DEUTSCHE FUSSBALL LIGA

Thomas Müller

A German famed for his sense of humour and laid-back manner? Don't be fooled by Müller's off-field charisma, though; he's as ruthless as they come when he steps onto a football pitch. The 28-year-old opened the floodgates against Brazil with his 11th-minute strike, and has subsequently won another three Bundesliga titles and a DFB Cup since summer 2014. A one-club man, Müller recently made his 400th senior appearance for Bayern and is now one of the vice captains now that Lahm and Schweinsteiger have moved on. Oh yes, and there's also the small matter that Müller has scored 10 World Cup goals to date, meaning he'll have half an eye on breaking Klose's tournament record of 16.

Watch: Thomas Müller's first 100 Bundesliga goals.

Toni Kroos

If the rest of the world hadn't quite cottoned on to the fact that Kroos was an extraordinary player before Brazil 2014, the former Bayern Munich midfielder removed any lingering doubts at the tournament, especially in the demolition of Brazil. He set up Müller for the opener and scored twice himself in the 7-1 victory, finishing the World Cup with more assists than anyone else (four). He signed for Real Madrid later that summer and has gone on to lift two Champions League titles with the Spanish giants (after the one he won with Bayern in 2013). He also won La Liga in 2016/17 and was included in the FIFPro World XI in 2014, 2016 and 2017.

Watch: Toni Kroos - Made in the Bundesliga.

Mesut Özil

An outrageously gifted playmaker, the former Schalke and Werder Bremen midfielder set up Khedira's goal against Brazil and remains one of the first names on Löw's team sheet in Germany's big games. He recently signed a contract extension at Arsenal, where he won the FA Cup in 2015 and 2017, and just became the fastest player in Premier League history to bring up 50 assists. Expect to see big things of the 29-year-old in Russia this summer.

Mesut Özil (left) and Toni Kroos are a midfield menace no defense enjoys playing against. © imago / Moritz Müller

Miroslav Klose

The former Werder Bremen and Bayern Munich striker carved himself out a slice of World Cup history with the second goal against a Seleçao, overtaking Brazil's Ronaldo as the all-time leading scorer (16). Like Lahm, he chose to bow out at the top after the World Cup, although he kept playing at club level with Lazio until summer 2016. Later that same year he began a DFB coaching course and joined Germany's staff - specifically tasked with fine-tuning the strikers' finishing – and will be in Russia to give Timo Werner et al the benefits of his experience.

Andre Schürrle

The very definition of a supersub! Schürrle started on the bench in Belo Horizonte but came on to play a starring role. Replacing Klose just before the hour mark, he added Germany's last two goals – before going on to set up Mario Götze for the all-important winner against Argentina in the final. He played the first half of 2014/15 with Chelsea – playing enough games to win a Premier League winners' medal the following May – but joined Wolfsburg during the winter break. The attacking midfielder helped the Wolves win the DFB Cup that year before joining Dortmund in summer 2016, and helping them win it the following season.

Andre Schürrle has found his best form this season at Dortmund playing alongside Marco Reus and Mario Götze. © imago / Moritz Müller

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