On July 8th 2014, Germany shocked the world as they defeated Brazil 7-1 in the semi-finals of their home World Cup to reach the Maracana Stadium showpiece. Joachim Low’s troops were ruthless that day and produced an intense defensive performance under serious pressure in the final to deny Lionel Messi and Argentina a World Cup triumph.

The better side won that day and the best side will win the World Cup next summer – you don’t win a World Cup by getting lucky. Germany, well fancied at around 5/1 to lift the Jules Rimet Trophy for the second time in a row, will be quietly confident of more international glory in the near future and they may even win this year’s Confederations Cup despite fielding a weakened side.

But that is what makes this Germany side so great; their strength in depth is unrivalled in world football. Argentina have the best strike force by some way but it is hard to put too much faith in their defence whilst Brazil, Spain and France will be there or thereabouts but cannot match Germany in terms of consistency and reliability. Low’s men are a well-oiled machine and they will take some stopping in Russia next summer.

Some believed that Germany would struggle to adapt after losing the likes of Philipp Lahm and Bastian Schweinsteiger to retirement but Low is blessed with a talented pool of capable replacements and the World Cup champions have coped just fine. In fact, Germany have been imperious throughout qualifying, winning all six games and scoring 27 goals in the process.

At the other end of the field is where Germany stand out as the elite force in international football. Low’s side have conceded just once in over 540 minutes of football – an incredible achievement. Manuel Neuer is still one of the best goalkeepers in the business whilst the Bayern Munich contingent of Mats Hummels, Jerome Boateng and Joshua Kimmich are as reliable as they come.

It is easy to see why so many supporters are backing Germany to win next summer and Low will be confident of guiding his side to the latter stages of the competition. In international football, you can never be too sure of how a tournament is going to pan out but Germany will be prominent at the business end of the event. As of June 19th, 5/1 looks like a great price for another German triumph.

With over a year to wait, plenty of punters will be looking to get the best value for money and Sky’s Request-A-Bet offer could be the way to go. Last season, tipping website Footy Accumulators had a few big winners, including a £500,000 payout on a 150/1 wager – and bettors looking to place a season-long bet should certainly consider getting your very own markets priced up.

What remains to be seen is whether Low will adopt the ‘false nine’ approach upfront or go with a genuine striker to lead the line. In recent years, Germany have relied heavily on Thomas Muller but Hoffenheim’s Sandro Wagner could be about to take over the mantle. According to Soccerway, he has scored 25 Bundesliga goals in 63 appearances since the start of the 2015/16 campaign – a solid scoring record.

Wagner fired in a hat-trick against San Marino earlier this month and that should bolster his claims ahead of what could be a memorable year for German football. On paper, Low’s men have the talent, strength in depth and experience to secure a second World Cup in a row and it is hard to back against the defending champions on current form. Expect Germany to lay down a serious challenge next summer.