Germany captain Michael Ballack has claimed that the three-time World Cup winners should not be considered amongst the favourites for the 2010 finals.
Germany, under head coach Joachim Low, finished ahead of Russia in their qualifying group to reach the finals in South Africa and their impressive record in the competition dictates that they are considered challengers for the biggest prize in football.
As West Germany they won the competition in 1954, 1974 and 1990, while as a unified country they have reached at least the quarter-finals in the past four tournaments, losing in the 2002 final to a Ronaldo-inspired Brazil.
But Ballack, who will lead Germany when their campaign kicks off against Australia on June 13, is unconvinced that his team-mates have the necessary quality to trouble the favourites, Brazil and Spain.
"We do not have the consistency or strength in depth in the squad," Ballack told Kicker magazine. "We have been too weak, particularly in friendlies, to be able to say that we have the class to beat everybody else."