Bayern Munich legend Franz Beckenbauer claims that the success of Bundesliga clubs in this season's Champions League means the German national team is on course to win the 2014 FIFA World Cup.
Beckenbauer, who remains a senior official at the Allianz Arena, has said that the all-German European final at Wembley is an outcome of the nation's drive to promote its youth players and other countries should learn from its success.
"Germany is on its way," he told FIFA.com. "Teams like Bayern Munich and Borussia Dortmund and the national team are on their way, maybe next year on their way to Brazil to win the World Cup. They have a good chance. That means that German football is really on the top."
The veteran added: "I think what helps us in the last 10-15 years is our academies and youngsters, [Bastian] Schweinsteiger, [Mario] Gotze, [Marco] Reus, all these young players, [Manuel] Neuer, they all came from the academies."
Speaking at a news conference in London, the former Bayern player and coach, however, admits that all countries' fortunes change over time.
"Football is like life, up and downs," the German explained. "In the '70s the German teams, with Bayern Munich we won the Champions League three times, six players from Bayern Munich won the European Championship and won the World Cup in 1974.
"And then late in the '70s the decade was finished, then the Italians came, Inter Milan and Juventus. Then the English came: Manchester United, Liverpool, Chelsea and Arsenal.
"Then the Spanish came, their national team won the Euros two times; Barcelona, Real Madrid, for four or five years the best in the world. But now the Germans are coming back. It's up and down, it's a cycle. I hope the period for Germany will be a long cycle!"
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