Lahm talks up German World Cup hopes
Germany captain Philipp Lahm believes the experience of playing a Champions League final has boosted their chances of World Cup success in Brazil.
The Ballon d'Or candidate, according to outgoing manager Jupp Heynckes, told Bild that the extra confidence could help Germany lift their first World Cup since 1990.
Bayern Munich's treble success and Borussia Dortmund's surprising run into the Champions League final has turned around the situation in Germany. Earlier this year Germany team manager Oliver Bierhoff had played down their chances of success in next year's World Cup.
"It is rather impossible to win the title in 2014," Bierhoff said in March and explained that he did not see any European team lifting the trophy in Latin America.
But the recent success in German club football has given Germany new confidence. In late May, both Bierhoff and Bayern Munich chief executive Karl-Heinz Rummenigge had predicted that Germany will be among the favourites in Brazil and in an interview with Bild, Lahm has echoed those statements.
"When you have reached at least the semi-final of all recent tournaments then you are already among the favourites," Lahm said.
The right-back does not believe the recent success in club football upped the pressure on Germany, moreover he believes it helps them.
"The pressure on the national team to have to win a title has stayed the same," he added. "I am of the opinion that the starting situation actually got even better through the German success as every player profits from playing in a Champions League final. This experience furthers every single national team player - and boosts your confidence."
Six games into their World Cup qualifiers, Germany have won five games and drawn one. They lead their group eight points ahead of Austria, Ireland and Sweden, who have played five - Austria and Ireland - respectively four games.
Austria will take on Sweden in Vienna in a Group C qualifier on Friday. Ireland should be narrowing the gap to Germany as they await the outsiders Faroe Islands in Dublin on Friday.