Can Germany translate Champions League success in to World Cup glory?
German clubs look set to dominate in Europe, but can the national side follow suit?
The Spanish national team had long been criticized for being the most talented side never to win an international honour.
The likes of Raul, Santiago Canizares, Fernando Hierro, Vicente, Fernando Morientes were all supremely talented players, a majority of whom won big with their respective clubs.
At international level, they always had a serial underachievers and a chokers tag around their necks. High hopes were pinned on the 2006 squad but they too failed to win the World Cup in Germany.
At club level, Real Madrid lifted the Champions League trophy in 2000 and 2002, followed by Barcelona in 2006. That was a period when English football dominated Europe.
Spain has bossed at club and international level since 2008. FC Barcelona won the Champions League comprehensively in 2009 and 2011 and were semi-finalists in 2008, 2010, 2012 and 2013.
The Spanish Armada are unbeaten in all international competitions since their unexpected reversal to Switzerland in the first game at the 2010 World Cup.
Two European Championships and one World Cup makes them the mighty rulers of world football at present. Their success is largely due to the possession hogging, one-touch passing style of football Josep Guardiola installed at Barcelona in 2008.
The recipe of success at club level was replicated by Luis Aragones and later by Vicente del Bosque on the world stage. Many other Primera Liga teams too started playing to this new style of football.
Top teams in Europe such as Manchester United, Inter Milan, AC Milan, Bayern Munich had no answer to Barcelona's master strategy. Parking the bus helped Jose Mourinho's Inter Milan in 2010 and Roberto di Matteo's Chelsea in 2012 but these were rare exceptions.
Real Madrid are probably the only Spanish team to play the counter attacking style of football. Since last year, the high intensity pressing right from the forward line and switching gears from defence to attack in seconds has given Real Madrid the advantage over Barcelona.
This might have been carefully noted by tacticians Jurgen Klopp and Jupp Heyenckes of Borussia Dortmund and Bayern Munich respectively. In fact, they have gone on to improve Mourinho's strategy to combat the possession game of Spanish teams.
As we saw in round of 16 versus Manchester United, Real Madrid are not even half as potent when they have possession as they are on counter attacks.
Last week, Bayern Munich and Borussia Dortmund let Barcelona and Real Madrid have all the possession they wanted. However, they let the Spanish giants pass the ball around in areas that were not harmful enough.
At the slightest chance, defensive midfielders Ilkay Gundogan and Sven Bender of Dortmund and Bastian Schweinsteiger and Javi Martinez of Bayern used their astonishing levels of physicality to pressurize and snatch the ball away from the Spanish and start pacey counter attacks that resulted in eight goals being put past their Spanish opponents.
Playmakers Xabi Alonso, Xavi Hernandez, Mesut Ozil, Andres Iniesta, who have so often roamed around midfield pinging passes and through balls were choked and trampled upon by tireless harrying by their German opposition, making them seriously ineffective.
Once the Germans had possession, it was quickly moved on to electric wingers a la Jakub Blaszcykowski, Marco Reus, Arjen Robben and Franck Ribery who made the most of the counter attacks they had.
Did 23rd and 24th April 2013 witness a seismic change in modern football history? If the strategy the Germans displayed so efficiently dismantled the top two teams of football at present, does that make the high physicality, counter attacking football the hottest strategy in football?
If national trainer Joachim Low can incorporate the tactics put on show by fellow Germans Klopp and Heyenckes, it could lead to a new team set to take centre stage in Europe and around the world.
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