No. 38 Mario Goetze, Bayern Munich/Germany
Why he's ranked: Having established himself as a superstar of the thrilling Borussia Dortmund team orchestrated by coach Jurgen Klopp, it was something of a gamble for Goetze to take his talents to Bayern Munich last summer. A moderately impressive first season suggests there is more to come for him at club level, but he remains a vital cog in the German machine.
Key stat: Made his senior team debut for Germany in November 2010 (also first time he was called-up) and became 2nd-youngest German player of all-time (18 years, 166 days old) after Uwe Seeler. Came on in his debut alongside Andre Schurrle to become the first two German players born in unified Germany.
What the experts say: "He is the most skilled and promising German player today. He combines speed and skill like few players in the world." -- Gustavo Hofman, ESPN Brazil
"Only 21, he will travel to Brazil already as one of the most important stars in the German squad. The Bayern Munich midfielder has both the skills and the personality to become the leader of his team. Joachim Loew could use him as an offensive midfielder or as a forward, and he can hurt any rival in both positions. He can form a perfect partnership with [Mesut] Ozil, [Thomas] Mueller and [Marco] Reus. This World Cup could be the launching platform towards his objective: become the best footballer in the world." -- Damian Didonato, ESPN Argentina
- ESPN FC Blogs: Germany