The omens were not good.
In late May, as the Germany football team gathered at their World Cup training camp in Italy, news broke that coach Joachim Loew had been stripped of his driver’s licence for six months after a series of speeding tickets.
Days earlier, Kevin Grosskreutz, a versatile player, had been caught urinating in the lobby of a luxury hotel in Berlin.
Two other players, attending a public relations event, had been involved in a high-speed car crash that seriously hurt two pedestrians.
The troubled start fuelled public panic about Loew’s coaching strategies.
The training camp, designed to get the players ready for the tropical heat of Brazil, was beset by cold temperatures and heavy rain.
Then, in a friendly against Armenia before their departure for Brazil, Germany lost Marco Reus, one of the team’s best players, to an ankle injury.
With a “golden generation” of some of the best players Germany have ever produced, there is little doubt the pressure on the 54-year-old Loew was building as he set off for Brazil.
So how did Germany overcome all their problems and go on to beat hosts Brazil in a sensational 7-1 semi-final thrashing before edging out Argentina 1-0 in extra time in the final?
The answer: attention to detail, ignoring distractions and milkshakes.
Read the full report in our print edition on July 16. Subscribe to The New Paper, now available in print and digital, at http://bit.ly/tnpeshop.