Germany coach Joachim Low credits predecessor Jurgen Klinsmann for laying the foundation for the German World Cup triumph in 2014.
Without the "drastic changes" implemented during the United States coach's tenure for his home country, the Nationalmannschaft "would not have been able to enjoy this kind of success."
In 2004, following a second consecutive group stage elimination from the European Championships, and with the home World Cup less than two years away, the German FA (DFB) appointed Klinsmann as the new head coach. The former world class attacker had already moved to California, his new home and returned to the pitch under the moniker Jay Goppingen for PDL side Orange County Blue Star in 2003.
Upon his return to Germany, Klinsmann called for changes within the structure of the German FA and the national team. He was full of ideas he picked up during his time in California, and accelerated an overhaul of the German system, which slowly began back in 1998 when the DFB first set up a new youth programme.
Klinsmann appointed Joachim Low, whom he got to know when Low was earning coaching credentials in 2000, as Klinsmann's assistant coach. Following the World Cup in 2006 in Germany, Klinsmann left, Low took over and continued on the path. What eventually followed was Germany's 2014 World Cup triumph in Brazil.
"Whenever I travel the world, and I do that often enough, people tell me that the Germany team is a unit," Low told reporters during a joint press conference with Klinsmann prior to the international friendly in Cologne.
"Of course, people talk about the football we play too. But the team idea is what strikes people the most. Jurgen laid the foundation in 2004, and we continued with that idea.
"With Jurgen a new era began. The youth performance centre was already in place previously," Low said. "Jurgen has altered decisive things, which still resonate today. He put a new manager in place, sports psychologists and American fitness trainers."
He added: "They were drastic changes, which were incredibly important back then. Without those, they wouldn't have been able to enjoy this kind of success."
The Germany coach believes that Klinsmann has not changed since spearheading U.S. Soccer's efforts to take that country's team a step forward.
"He's someone, who knows his way, goes straightforward and has the power to implement this way against every opposition, if he is convinced of it. That's something which is reflected in the team too," Low said.
"I was impressed by the tempo at which U.S. played against Netherlands, and their mentality too. The team has made remarkable progress, play on a very high level tactically. They played with an unbelievable dynamic and intensity against the Netherlands."