Bayern Munich defender Philipp Lahm says Germany can be considered among the "co-favorites" for the World Cup as the side has greatly matured over the past four years.
The Nationalelf reached the semifinals of South Africa 2010 and Euro 2012, with defeats against Spain and Italy respectively leaving some critical of the mentality of Joachim Low's side on the biggest occasion.
However, Lahm believes that such recent experiences on the global stage will allow his side to achieve greater things at next summer's tournament.
"The team has matured a lot in recent years. The 2010 World Cup was their first major tournament for many players, as some were almost thrown into cold water. Also, the experienced players failed to influence the team," the 30-year-old told Die Welt. "Now they have gained in the experience of a European Championship qualifier, a European Championship and a World Cup qualifier. However, there are at least six other nations that will contest for the title. We assume the role of co-favorites."
Lahm pointed to the rise in quality of the Bundesliga as a key to Germany's strength on the international stage, claiming Bayern Munich, Borussia Dortmund, Bayer Leverkusen and Schalke's performances in European competition prove the prowess of Germany's top flight.
"Winning the Champions League is a bit different [to winning the World Cup]. Whether it has changed with regard to the national team, we have to wait and see. In any case, I believe that the experience in the international competitions will help the team a lot," he continued. "Not only are the Bayern players important, those of Dortmund, Leverkusen and Schalke [are important as well]. We can play at a high level, we know pace of the game, we know how we can defeat the enemy."
Germany faces England in a friendly encounter at Wembley on Tuesday, although Lahm has withdrawn from the squad for the clash along with Mesut Ozil, Manuel Neuer and the injured Sami Khedira.