Miroslav Klose says a new generation of creative players can help Germany avenge its loss to Spain in the 2008 European Championship final when the sides meet in the World Cup semifinals on Wednesday.
The veteran forward was in an experienced German side that lost a one-sided Euro final 1-0 in Vienna.
Klose said Sunday that the World Cup rematch in Durban will feature "different players, different squads" — which will be to Germany's advantage.
"Spain is still ruling supreme in Europe but in terms of quality I think we have improved, big time," Klose said through a translator.
Young Germans who have impressed the soccer world in South Africa include playmaker Mesut Oezil, four-goal wide player Thomas Mueller and defensive midfielder Sami Khedira.
Klose, who played his 100th international game in the quarter-final win over Argentina on Saturday, said they brought enormous quality and a fresh attitude to the team.
"A few years ago people kept saying that isn't it a shame there aren't any new generations coming through — we've no forwards coming through, no creative midfielders coming through and everybody deplored that.
"But time has proved these people wrong," Klose said.
Klose and Mueller both were on target in knockout-round victories against England and Argentina, as Germany scored four goals each time to embarrass its old rivals.
However, Mueller collected his second yellow card of the finals in the 4-0 dismantling of Diego Maradona's team, and will sit out the Spanish clash.
Klose said Sunday that Spain will be the best opponent Germany has faced at this World Cup — "surely better" than England and Argentina.
"Spain is the best of the three. They play a fantastic game," said the 32-year-old Bayern Munich forward, before adding that Spain's 1-0 quarter-final victory against Paraguay late Saturday encouraged the German camp.
"That has shown us that Spain are not unbeatable, they're not invincible. There is a slight difference in the way they played between 2008 and now," Klose said.
Spain's decisive score came late from David Villa for his tournament-leading fifth goal.
"He's a fantastic player," praised Klose, who has four in his four matches. "He's left-footed, right-footed, technically gifted. He's almost as complete a player as Lionel Messi.
"He's a player that you have to combat against with a whole team, not just one defender."
Klose revealed he set himself a personal target of five at this World Cup with the semifinal and the July 11 final, or the third-place match, still to play.
One more goal would bring him level with leader Ronaldo of Brazil on the all-time World Cup list with 15.
Two of Ronaldo's career tally came in the 2002 World Cup final as Brazil beat Klose's Germany 2-0.
"I spoke with him after the final and at the time I would not have dreamed of ever coming close to him, needing two more goals to surpass him," Klose said. "I hope he's not too worried."
The only anxiety Klose feels at his third World Cup is about making a speech to teammates in honour of his 100th appearance.
Klose avoided the German squad tradition late on Saturday when the team returned to its hotel base in Erasmia from Cape Town.
"I was really happy that no one noticed. Most of the players were either eating away or having a beer or two," he said. "Sooner or later people will be reminded and I will have to come through and make that speech."