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‘Totally focused’

Lahm, Müller and Co aim for crowning glory

Germany and their seven-strong Bayern contingent are just one step away from claiming a fourth World Cup crown, 24 years after the country’s previous triumph. The whole nation is in a state of fevered anticipation prior to Sunday's final against Argentina in Rio de Janeiro, and the players can also hardly wait.

“We're really looking forward to it and we're ready!” declared Philipp Lahm a few hours before the squad's departure for Rio, where the Bayern and Germany captain is determined to lead his men to victory. “We're fired up,” agreed Thomas Müller, “a World Cup final is the biggest game of all for a player. Our sense of anticipation is as big as you'd expect.”

However, the squad is fully focused too, because no-one expects an easy time of it against the team spearheaded by superstar Lionel Messi. The Germans have moved on rapidly from the extraordinary 7–1 demolition of Brazil in the semi-finals. “We know how hard it will be on Sunday,” stated Müller, “we'll throw everything we've got at it, with all our abilities both in terms of skill and fighting spirit.”

Total focus

“We start again from scratch,” agreed team manager Oliver Bierhoff, “we still have one very large step to take.” Bierhoff thinks the rerun of the 1986 and 1990 World Cup finals will be “a completely different ball game. Argentina keep it tight and give you very little space.” Müller knows it will be physically gruelling: “We'll have to run ourselves to the limit especially when we're tracking back.”

Germany's top scorer at the tournament on five goals warned against too much focus on Messi, who has four goals to his name. “We have to defend against Argentina and not just one individual,” said Müller, although he acknowledged the Barcelona player’s special status. “We always have to have someone on him. If he gets round one of us someone else has to be there. We need a united team performance.”

“We're totally focused,” commented Lahm, “when you’re as close as this, it calls for total concentration!” Müller promised that he and his team-mates would “dig deep” so that the fans in Germany could organise “a couple more barbecues.” Lahm ended with a rallying call: “We want to bring the World Cup back to Germany again at last. That's our job on Sunday.”