Germany became World Cup winners for the fourth time after Mario Gotze fired in a dramatic extra time winner to break Argentina hearts.

The 1-0 victory at the Maracana was the first time a reunified Germany had won the tournament after West Germany last lifted the trophy in 1990.

While German chancellor Angela Merkel cheered from the stands, more than 200,000 descended upon Berlin's Brandenburg Gate to watch as 24 years of hurt came to an end.

But how did Joachim Low steer Die Mannschaft to the title? IBTimes UK highlights five key reasons why they were crowned world champions.

Klinsmann legacy

Germany were in a state of flux following a dismal Euro 2004, the second consecutive European championships the superpower had been elminated at the group stage. Coach Rudi Voller was replaced by Jurgen Klinsmann with Low as his assistant. The former Germany striker got the ball rolling by overhauling his aging squad, building a new one around a younger generation including Philipp Lahm and Bastian Schweinsteiger. Per Mertesacker said at the World Cup: "He was the first to trust a very young generation. Thanks to him, the wind of change was blowing at the DFB. What Jurgen Klinsmann started back then continues to live on."

Bayern Munich axis

Germany's stand out players at the World Cup came from the same club: Bayern Munich. From goalkeeper Manuel Neuer and defender Jerome Boateng to midfielders Toni Kroos, Thomas Muller, as well as Lahm and Schweinsteiger, Munich's stars were the heartbeat of Low's side but when he wanted to inject added impetus he turned to Gotze, also of Munich.


Manuel Neuer proved himself to be the best goalkeeper on the planet at the World Cup by commanding not just his own penalty area but his side's entire defensive half. The 28-year-old conceeded just four goals in the whole tournament and showed his tactical nous by snuffing out opposition attacks with charges out of his area.


Germany dropped just two points from qualification on the road to Brazil, scoring 36 goals. They arrived in South America at a purpose-built training campus in Bahia, east Brazil, which lied no more than a two hour flight to each of the nation's three group matches. The Adidas miCoach Elite Team System that Low and his assistant used to analyse his players is one of the most advanced in the world and not even the injuries to Marco Reus and, during the warm-up at the final, Sami Khedira could put the buffers on Low's World Cup charge.

Path to final

Germany needed extra time to defeat Algeria in the round of 16 and squeezed past France 1-0 in their quater final clash thanks only to a Mats Hummels header. However, any jitters Germany may have felt were exorcised in the 7-1 demolition of hosts Brazil. Five up at half time, Low was able to withdraw Hummels, Khedira and Miroslav Klose early on to save them for the final. Argentina, on the other hand, toiled against the Netherlands for 120 minutes before a penalty shootout decided their fate.