Germany's 2018 FIFA World Cup hopes are alive and well (just!), but what else have we learned after their last-gasp victory over Sweden?

bundesliga.com handpicks the top five takeaways from the game, with an eye to the defending world champions' decisive encounter with Group F rivals South Korea in Kazan on 27 June.

1) Manuel Neuer is still No.1

Manuel Neuer was beaten for the second time in as many games against Sweden, but the Germany captain came up with some big first-half saves to thwart Marcus Berg. The Bayern Munich custodian could also be seen rallying the troops throughout the contest and kick-started a number of attacks with quick-thinking, inch-perfect passes and throws. Joachim Löw might not yet have settled on his best XI, but there's no questioning his decision to take Neuer - who only played three times in the Bundesliga last season due to injury - to the tournament.

Manuel Neuer kept Germany in the game against Sweden in Sochi. © imago

2) Marco Reus is integral to Germany's chances

After the Matchday 1 defeat to Mexico, there were calls far and wide for Marco Reus - a second-half substitute on Matchday 1 - to start against Sweden. Löw obliged, and it's just as well he did. Reus was a livewire throughout, creating and getting on the end of chances. The Borussia Dortmund dynamo chimed in with the equaliser shortly after the restart and had a word in the ear of Toni Kroos - encouraging him to shoot - moments before the Real Madrid man whipped in the dramatic winner in the last minute of added time. Suffice to say Germany would be on their way home without him.

Marco Reus is playing at his first major tournament since UEFA Euro 2012 following years of injury hurt. © gettyimages / Nelson Almeida

3) Sebastian Rudy did what Sami Khedira didn't

Something of a surprise inclusion in Germany's starting line-up at the expense of 2014 World Cup winner Sami Khedira, Sebastian Rudy provided the defensive shield and discipline all but absent in the game against Mexico. The no-frills Bayern midfielder sat deep, giving the full-backs and Kroos freedom to push on, safe in the knowledge that someone other than the two central defenders had their backs. He also hit the mark with 18 of his 19 attempted passes before being taken off with a broken nose, two minutes before Ola Toivonen put Sweden ahead. Coincidence? We think not. As long as Germany are in the competition, Rudy has to play.

4) Mario Gomez brings the best out of Timo Werner

Another decisive roll of the dice saw VfB Stuttgart striker Mario Gomez enter the fray for Julian Draxler at the start of the second half, as Löw went 4-4-2. The 32-year-old's target-man qualities proved an immediate distraction for the Sweden defence and, although he missed chances to get on the scoresheet, his presence alone enabled strike partner Timo Werner to pull out wide and run at the opposition as he does so effectively when partnered with Yussuf Poulsen for RB Leipzig at club level. That’s exactly what happened in the second half in Sochi, his turn of pace not only teeing up Reus to level the score but also drawing the foul from Jimmy Durmaz to set up the match-winning free-kick.

Timo Werner (2.l.) and Mario Gomez (2.r.) offer two very different threats in the Germany attack. © imago

5) Julian Brandt is ready to light up Russia

Germany might have taken the lead earlier but for the width of the goalpost. Julian Brandt, thrown on with four minutes of normal time remaining, provided the heart-in-the-mouth moment, drilling a fierce effort against the woodwork from 20 yards. He did something similar as a substitute against Mexico, too. That's two chances out of nothing, which is more than some of his teammates have mustered in 180 minutes. His energy, pace and skill in the one-on-ones are three more reasons Löw picked him in his final squad over Manchester City's Leroy Sane, and why he merits a full World Cup debut against South Korea. Just imagine the damage he'll do…

Watch: Julian Brandt's top 3 Bundesliga goals

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