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Jul 13, 2014

German media upbeat ahead of final

Michael Ballack and Santiago Solari break down the potential starting lineups for both Germany and Argentina.

The German media was in upbeat mood ahead of the World Cup final against Argentina in Rio de Janeiro.

Coverage of Sunday's match made the front covers of every national newspaper with Die Nationalmannschaft entering their eighth final seeking to add to the World Cup titles won in 1954, 1974 and 1990.

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The broadsheet Frankfurter Allgemeine Sonntagszeitung's front page did not contain a headline and instead displayed a DFB badge with four stars in anticipation of the team's fourth title. Its sports section, which featured a framed picture of the Germany starting XI, was headlined: "A day for eternity."

The Berliner Morgenpost depicted a game of Scrabble made up of the Germany XI with the term "Weltmeister" -- "world champions" -- highlighted.

Die Welt am Sonntag featured a picture of Joachim Low and his key players on its front page, with the headline "The game of their lives" -- apparently a play on the film of the same name about the U.S. team that stunned England at the 1950 tournament. Along with quotes about the leading protagonists in the match, Italia '90 winners Andreas Brehme, Rudi Voller and Lothar Matthaus are pictured celebrating their triumph over Argentina.

The biggest German tabloid, Bild am Sonntag, described the final as "The last tango in Rio" and added: "Today, 80.8 million hearts beat for you." The cover featured pictures of German fans photoshopped into the jerseys of Thomas Muller and Bastian Schweinsteiger.

Confidence is high in the German media ahead of the final.

Inside the tabloid, the 1990 World Cup-winning captain Matthaus backed Die Nationalmannschaft to bring the cup back to Germany

"Maybe Germany are the biggest favourites in a World Cup final ever," Matthaus said. "Argentina were my favourites to win it before the World Cup, and they have indeed made it far, but they have not convinced me, and I have not seen an outstanding Lionel Messi. Now German are the favourites, not only for me but for football fans all over the world, aside from the Argentina fans."

West Germany defeated Argentina 1-0 in Rome in 1990, making amends for their defeat to the same opposition four years earlier, and Matthaus added: "The Argentina teams from 1990 and 2014 are a bit similar in their structure.

"They had Maradona back then, and today have Messi, but not a lot besides him -- especially if Angel Di Maria does not play."

German chancellor Angela Merkel, who will be at the final in Rio on Sunday, summed up the mood of her nation when addressing reporters: "Let's hope it'll be a good day for Germany team. Just win it, no matter how."

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