No country has produced more Ballon d'Or winners than Germany, but it's been 16 years since their last winner, Matthias Sammer, won the trophy. And although the future looks bright for the Bundesliga, at present, there are few German players who could realistically contend for the title. Perhaps the most likely possibility in 2013 is Marco Reus.
There are many world-class German players right now: Reus, Mesut Ozil, Manuel Neuer, and Bastian Schweinsteiger are just some of the many Bundesliga academy graduates who fit into an elite class of footballers. Discounting goalkeepers, defenders and defensive midfielders, who have historically been criminally underrated in the award's selection (only four non-attacking players have won the award since 1963), however, there are few Germans who could contend for the Ballon d'Or.
By his own admission, Thomas Mueller is "not a player who is enjoyable to watch for 90 minutes." As marvelously efficient and remarkably effective as he is, by the nature of his game, the Bayern Munich man will never catch the attention of Ballon d'Or voters the way his flashier contemporaries do. The same goes for Toni Kroos who will in 2013, deservedly or not, stand in the shadow of his teammates for club and country. If a Bayern Munich player wins the Ballon d'Or, it will be Franck Ribery; if a Germany international does, it will be Reus or Mesut Ozil.
On the topic of Ozil, he has the vast shadow of Cristiano Ronaldo to contend with at Real Madrid, which effectively ends the former's candidacy given that there is no international summer tournament in which the playmaker could put himself ahead of his club teammate. That leaves Reus and perhaps Mario Goetze as the only Germans with any chance of winning the award in 2013. And with the latter still a couple years before his prime, it seems Reus is the most likely candidate—albeit one with very little chance of even being considered among the final three.
Still, it is slightly possible for Reus in 2013 to follow in Sammer's footsteps, even if Ronaldo and Lionel Messi repeat their 2012 exploits and score 50, 60, or 70 goals. Click "Begin Slideshow" to find out just what the Germany forward needs to do to be a contender.