Rewind to May 1, 2013. Bayern Munich had just finished a 3-0 thrashing of Barcelona at Camp Nou to complete a 7-0 aggregate victory and advance to a Champions League Final match against Borussia Dortmund, who had similarly beaten Real Madrid 4-3.
The Bundesliga was on top of the world, and it seemed like a forgone conclusion that Germany would brush aside all opponents at the World Cup the following summer in Brazil.
But after a tough year for German football, with Spanish clubs dominating the Champions League, it seemed like most of the pundits across the world had perhaps forgot about Joachim Loew’s side.
Brazil was tapped as the favorite to win the tournament at home, and even without star players Neymar and Thiago Silva heading into the semifinal, there were some who questioned if Germany could eliminate the hosts.
There is nobody doubting the Germans anymore.
Just 30 minutes into the semifinal, Brazil, the most successful nation in the history of international soccer, trailed 5-0 to the Germans.
The announcers could find no words; the fans were distraught; it seemed that even the Brazilian players had given up hope in the wake of the German attack.
This was history in the making, the most memorable semifinal in World Cup history since 1970 when Italy beat West Germany 4-3. But while most focused on the collapse of one of the powers of world soccer, it was the Germans who deserve all the praise.
Although no one could have predicted a 7-1 scoreline when the final whistle blew, the end result, a German victory, should have been predicted.
Coming into the match Germany had on its side Thomas Mueller, one of the best goalscorers in the world, Manuel Neuer, the best goalkeeper in the world, Miroslav Klose, the greatest World Cup goalscorer ever and numerous other superstar players all over the pitch.
Brazil had Sideshow Bob (David Luiz) and Hulk.
It wasn’t the perfect start for the Germans, as Brazil used the emotion of the crowd to push forward in the early going, but after an 11th minute strike from a set piece by Mueller the home nation started to retreat into its shell.
But even the hardest of shells could not have protected Brazil from what was about to occur. Over the span of eight minutes, Germany would score four more goals, and seal the match and the teams eighth World Cup final appearance.
It was an onslaught of one touch passing, clinical finishing and, granted, some truly atrocious defending from Brazil. But it was the quality of the German side the made the difference on the day.
“It was important to counter their passion and emotions with calmness, patience and persistence,” Low said to German television network ZDF following the match. “Also with courage and (belief) in our own strength. Brazil were shocked, they did not expect that.
“We scored five goals in 18 minutes. It’s clear that they were shocked. We knew that if we were quick on the counters, and go straight into attack after winnings balls they will be discouraged.”
Brazil, who had cut it close in the knockout rounds up to this point narrowly getting past Chile and Colombia, were shell shocked by Die Mannschaft’s (The Team) ruthless ability in the box and never stood a chance.
Even a teary eyed Luiz, who captained Brazil in place of suspended Thiago Silva, had to admit Germany were by far the better side.
“They were better than us,” Luiz said according to BBC Sport.
Goalkeeper Julio Cesar, the star of Brazil’s penalty win against Chile in the round of 16, said even though the Brazilians will feel responsible, the Germans deserved to win.
“The players are going to apologize, but Germany were strong, and we have to acknowledge that,” Cesar said.
Now Germany moves on to the World Cup Final, at the legendary Maracana, where it will face the winner of the other semifinal between Argentina and Netherlands.
Whichever side wins beware, this is a German team on a mission, and it looks to be hitting its stride.