Riedle: Only Germany can beat themselves
Riedle says loew’s men must not repeat mistakes of beckenbauer’s class of 1990
Amid the wild celebrations, the many toasts and the glowing newspaper headlines celebrating the glorious end to a German mission some said was even 20 years in the making, the inevitable question popped up.
After Mario Goetze fired home that spectacular volley against Argentina to secure Germany's fourth World Cup triumph in Rio de Janeiro eight months ago, some wondered if it would usher in an era of dominance for the most successful football nation after Brazil.
Goetze, then just 22, was dubbed "Miracle Boy" and became the face of Joachim Loew's youthful German side, who many felt could go on to rule football for the next 10 years .
Former Germany international striker Karl-Heinz Riedle, however, knows how wide off the mark such predictions can be.
The 49-year-old, who scored over 100 league goals in the colour of Werder Bremen, Lazio, Borussia Dortmund and Liverpool, has seen this kind of hype before.
"I've heard this one other time - in 1990 about the World Cup-winning Germany team I was part of," he chuckled, as he sat down for a chat with The New Paper at the Fullerton Hotel yesterday.
"People said then that we would dominate the following decade.
"We had all the best players from East Germany (after the reunification with West Germany) and Franz Beckenbauer said we would be unbeatable.
"But we were far from that. It's not as simple as that in football. It's unpredictable.
"Now, in Germany, we have good young players coming through, but you have no guarantees in football."
While Germany's World Cup triumphs in 1990 and 2014 had similarities - both times, they defeated Argentina with late winners - Riedle said the youthfulness of the current crop of players gave them an edge over the 1990 vintage.
The team coached by Beckenbauer in 1990 had an average age of 27.2, and key players like Andreas Brehme (29), Rudi Voeller (30), Klaus Augenthaler (32) and captain Lothar Matthaeus (29) had reached their peak.
Last year's team, by comparison, had an average age of just 25.7, with 13 of Loew's 22-man squad aged 25 or under.
Only two key players - right back and skipper Philipp Lahm and striker Miroslav Klose - have since retired from international football.
Riedle's former Germany and Dortmund teammate, Lars Ricken, told TNP in an earlier interview that he felt the only thing that could derail Loew's team was a lack of hunger.
He said the youth development structure in Bundesliga clubs, which was "renovated" after Germany's failure at the 1998 World Cup and 2000 European Championship, ensures the country's production line of talented players will continue to hum smoothly.
But Riedle said: "I don't think the players will lack hunger.
"As a footballer, you know you only have a short number of years to achieve success in your career.
"The main thing Jogi Loew must do right is the transitioning of younger players into the team in place of the older players, like Lahm and Klose.
"The only thing that can beat this team, really, is themselves."
*Karl-Heinz Riedle is in town until the end of the week as an ambassador of Borussia Dortmund and will feature in a number of promotional events.