v Ecuador - 20 June, 1500 BST, Berlin
How did they get to Germany: Automatic qualification as hosts.
Manager: Jurgen Klinsmann, a World Cup winner with West Germany as a player in 1990, was appointed in July 2004 following Rudi Voeller's resignation. With no qualification route to negotiate, Californian-based Klinsmann has very little competitive experience and has yet to win over his critics.
Captain: Michael Ballack, who is the latest star to sign for Chelsea, is the embodiment of all things good about German football. Yet opinion in his home country seems oddly divided over whether he is over-rated. Who said charity begins at home?
World Cup pedigree: Three-time winners - in 1954, 1974 (when they last hosted the tournament) and 1990 as West Germany. Having reached the final six times in the last 10 tournaments, only a fool would write them off.
World Cup high: Lifting the trophy in 1954 after a victory over a Hungary team thought to have been invincible. The win served to bring an improved self-esteem to a country suffering the after-effects of the second World War.
World Cup low: Unceremoniously dumped out of the 1998 tournament in the quarter-final stage by Croatia. The 3-0 defeat was Germany's worst since losing 6-3 to France in a third-place play-off in 1958.
World Cup legend: Franz Beckenbauer is the only man, apart from Brazil's Mario Zagallo, to have won the World Cup both as a player, in 1974, and manager, in 1990.
Present star man: Ballack is perhaps Germany's only truly world-class player and almost single-handedly took an average German team to the 2002 final. Can he inspire again?
Strengths: Klinsmann has started a revolution, sending out his team with instructions to play a "fast-paced, attacking and very aggressive" style of game which has significantly improved their goal tally.
Weaknesses: The downside of Klinsmann's strategy - along with his use of inexperienced defenders - is that Germany have recently been conceding almost as many goals as they have been scoring.
Did you know? During the group stage of their successful 1974 World Cup finals campaign, West Germany were beaten 1-0 by East Germany in the first-ever meeting between the sides.
World ranking: 19
Local view: "I believe, like the rest of the country, that the national team is a catastrophe." Uli Hoeness, Bayern Munich general manager.
Our verdict: A World Cup too soon for a promising group of young players.
Ranking and odds correct at 22 May. Odds supplied by William Hill.