World Cup 2010 Germany Analysis: Nationalmannschaft Must Be Respectful, But Not Fearful's Peter Staunton evaluates the Nationalmannschaft's chances of progressing deep into the tournament...
Aside from the fact that Jerome Boateng may come up against his brother, Kevin Prince, should Ghana summon the Portsmouth midfielder, there is little pleasantness to be found in Germany's group stage draw at the 2010 World Cup.

Arguably, the Mannschaft will face the strongest opposition of any of the seeded teams as Australia, Ghana and Serbia all topped their respective standings in the qualification process and along with Germany, comprise four of the form qualifying teams.

A family affair: German of Ghanaian extraction, Jerome Boateng

That said, Jogi Loew should not be fearful of the draw, although a modicum of apprehension is certainly to be expected. Germany do not 'do' inferiority complexes and will justifiably see themselves as group favourites. However, there are pitfalls to be found at every turn and unlikely as it sounds, each team in the section has the potential to take points from any of the others.

The Germans begin their campaign on June 13 against Australia. A Teutonic win, not outside the realms of possibility by any means, coupled with a draw between Ghana and Serbia that day, could give Loew and company an immediate advantage in the listings. Then again, should the Socceroos, adept at holding teams rather than beating them, snaffle points then it could blow the group wide open.

Arguably the tie of Group D, and possibly the entire group stage, comes on June 18 when Die Elf face Serbia in Port Elizabeth. Radomir Antic has already expressed his confidence at making it past the preliminaries and the delectable tussle between two excellent sides at the Nelson Mandela Bay Arena could be a game to be relished, especially if the flames of elimination are licking either team's ankles.

Nonetheless, the Germans will be hopeful, and indeed, expectant, that qualification to the second phase will be all but complete by the time Ghana are encountered. With the group stage put to bed, the Germans can kick into life at the knock-out phase.

Assuming that England top their standings, Germany would take on either USA, Algeria or Slovenia in the last 16; the Yankees being the most likely opposition - a side not without their merits. However, Germany being Germany, and the Mannschaft being the archetypal 'tournament team', a place in the quarter-finals, most probably against Argentina, a team defeated in 2006 on home soil, is the minimum to be expected.

Spain outclassed Germany at Euro 2008 but there will surely be more attacking dexterity to Loew's number in the shape of Mesut Oezil and perhaps Toni Kroos or Thomas Mueller by the time a potential semi-final rolls around.

USA despatched Vicente del Bosque's nubile charges at the Confederations Cup with a mammoth effort and that sort of work rate could see Germany take their place in another World Cup final against Brazil.

Optimistic that may be, but Germany do not enter tournaments without the intention of winning. Also, European Championship and World Cup draws have a frequent habit of favouring the Germans. Although the group stage looks like a precarious path, the knock-out phase seems more straightforward. Which is exactly why I'm tipping Germany to go all the way to Soccer City.

Peter Staunton,