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Philipp Lahm: We're close to our dream

A look at Germany's run to the final game and the loyal fans celebrating their success since the beginning of the tournament.

Germany skipper Philipp Lahm said the players were "a step away from making our dream come true" and warned that talk of a "golden generation" would mean nothing if they were defeated by Argentina in the World Cup final.

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Lahm, Bastian Schweinsteiger, Miroslav Klose and Lukas Podolski were the first of a new generation of Germany players in 2004 -- the last time Die Nationalmannschaft failed to reach the last four of either the European Championship or the World Cup.

Ten years on, all four are still around, while a steady flow of new talent coming through to the international scene has led many in the media to describe this as a "golden generation."

But Lahm told reporters that Germany would have to lift the trophy for such talk to be justified, adding: "We are a generation with quality.

"We all know what's at stake. Our generation has developed and matured over the years. We have many players who are pillars at great international clubs. We have shown that we prepare perfectly for tournaments.

"We are only one step away from making our dream come true and we are fully focused on the final so that we, at last, bring back the trophy to Germany."

Nine of the 11 likely starters on Sunday have participated in at least one Champions League final, and seven -- Manuel Neuer, Lahm, Schweinsteiger, Sami Khedira, Toni Kroos and Thomas Muller -- have won the biggest club trophy.

Lahm believes that experience could help Germany on Sunday, saying: "It's not only about Die Nationalmannschaft but also about club football. Lots of players have been able to gather experience at the highest level, and that is an advantage during such a tournament."

Also speaking at the news conference, Germany team manager Oliver Bierhoff praised the years of work carried out by the scouts and coaches who discover and nurture players.

"Reaching the final is a huge success for football in Germany," he said.

"Philipp Lahm's youth coach, the discoverer of Thomas Muller, the Bundesliga youth academies... they are all part of this success. They all have a stake in it. This success has not come overnight, but has been in the making for many years."

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