Joachim Loew, seen here during a training session with Mesut Ozil, believes Germany are the only team with something to lose at the World Cup. Photo: REUTERS/Leonhard Foeg

BERLIN - Joachim Loew believes Germany will be hunted "like never before" when they attempt to become the first team for 56 years to successfully defend the World Cup in Russia.

Brazil, who lifted the Jules Rimet trophy in 1958 and 1962, are the last team to win back-to-back titles, but Germany's head coach Loew says his squad must show the necessary hunger to repeat their Brazil 2014 triumph.

"Germany will be hunted like never before, and near-superhuman forces will be needed if we want to end up becoming world champions again," warned Loew.

Loew sees Brazil -- who beat Germany 1-0 in a friendly in Berlin in March, -- Spain, England, France and Argentina as Germany's main threats at Russia 2018.

"Only us, as world champions, have anything to lose."

Germany have reached at least the semi-finals of every major tournament since the 2006 World Cup finals with Loew in charge.

Under his stewardship, Germany have cemented their reputation as a tournament team capable of raising their performances for the big occasions.

The 58-year-old stepped up from his role as assistant to replace Jurgen Klinsmann as head coach in 2006 and Germany went on to finish as runners-up at Euro 2008, then third at the 2010 World Cup.

His crowning moment was when Mario Goetze scored the winning goal in the 2014 World Cup final.

However, Loew enhanced his status in Germany by winning the 2017 Confederations Cup, beating Chile 1-0 in the St Petersburg final, despite his brave decision to take an inexperienced squad to Russia and rest his star players.

His reward was a contract extension which will carry him through to the 2022 World Cup finals in Qatar.

His record of 106 wins in 160 matches, with 30 draws and 24 defeats, gives him a win ratio of 66 percent.

He narrowly missed a German national team record in March when Gabriel Jesus' winning goal for Brazil in Berlin robbed Loew of a 23rd consecutive game without defeat.

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