Germany get their 2014 World Cup campaign underway with a faceoff against Portugal on Monday for one of the best matchups of the group stages.
Joachim Low's side are one of the most hotly tipped of the tournament and will be looking to get off to a strong strong start at the Arena Fonte Nova in Salvador, Brazil.
The German side will be aiming to win the whole tournament, having gone out at the semi-final stage in South Africa in 2010.
Meanwhile, Portugal will rely heavily on Cristiano Ronaldo if they are to go deep into the competition in Brazil.
Made up of Germany, Portugal, Ghana and the USA, Group G is arguably the most challenging of the entire tournament.
Both sides will therefore be looking to get off to a flying start by claiming a win in Salvador and giving themselves a great chance of qualifying for the knockout rounds.
The Germans have a stunning record in the group stages of the World Cup. According to the Associated Press (h/t The Guardian), they have only ever lost one tournament opener, going down 2-1 to Algeria in 1982.
They breezed through qualifying, winning nine of their 10 games and scoring 36 goals in an unbeaten campaign.
However, Low is aware of the Portuguese threat, as the Associated Press article notes that he referenced their impressive world ranking in the buildup to the game.
"They are ranked just behind us at No4 [Germany are No2], and they are not just about Ronaldo," he said. "Portugal are an extremely dangerous team."
These two sides met in the group stages of Euro 2012, and the Germans prevailed 1-0 in a very tight encounter.
OptaJoe indicates that Miroslav Klose starts his campaign to become the most prolific scorer in World Cup history, but the Portuguese will look to shackle Germany and their impressive attack.
Ronaldo Key for Portuguese Hopes
Real Madrid star Ronaldo is an absolutely essential piece of the jigsaw for Paulo Bento's side, and he needs to be on top form if Portugal are to go deep into the tournament.
He has been recovering from injury for the game, but his impressive club form will be necessary if the Germans are to be overturned.
Portugal only scraped through to the World Cup in Brazil, beating Sweden in a Ronaldo-inspired play-off victory.
However, they now look to have a huge amount of quality and present a very tricky test for the opener of one of the tournament favourites.
It is likely to be a very close match with quality on both sides, and with challenging group games to come, a loss could be catastrophic for either side.
With the stakes so high, the key factor will be which side can handle the pressure most effectively and claim an essential three points.
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