The German national football team is one of the most successful national sides in world football, having had a history of being a split nation, being represented by East Germany, West Germany and Saarland throughout their footballing history. From October 1990, Germany merged as one football team though most of their success had come before this time to the West German side.
West Germany won the world cup on three occasions. The first occasion came in 1954, when the finals were held in Switzerland where the germans, who were underdogs, overcame Hungary to win the match 3 - 2.
Their second title came in 1974 on home soil, the West Germans overcame the Netherlands in the final 2-1, with German legend Gerd Muller scoring the winning goal.
Their last victory came in 1990 in Italy, when after famously knocking England out in the semi's on penalties, they beat Diego Maradona's reigning champions 1-0 in the final with Andreas Brehme scoring the game's only goal from the penalty spot.
As well as this, the Germans have finished runners up on four occasions with their last final appearence coming in South Korea in 2002, where they lost out to Brazil.
The German national team have also won the European championships on three seperate occasions. Their first victory came just prior to their second world cup win in 1972, when they overcame the Soviet Union 3 - 0 in the final which was held in Belguim.
Their second victory came eight years later in 1980 when the tournament was held in Italy. On this occasion, they defeated Belgium in the final by two goals to one. Their last victory came in England in 1996 when, after again famously defeating England on penalties, they defeated the Czech Republic in the final in extra-time with Oliver Bierhoff scoring a golden goal winner.
As well as these victories, the Germans have finished runners up on three other occasions with their last finals appearance coming in 2008, when they lost out to future world champion Spain.
According to FIFA, the German squad are currently ranked as the third best team in the world (as of July 2011). Their hughest FIFA ranking came in 1994 where they reached number one status. Their worst ranking came in 2006 where they, rather surprisingly, dropped to 22nd in the world.