Germany stand-in captain Philipp Lahm is targeting a place in the World Cup semi-finals this summer.
The Germans have not won the showpiece tournament since triumphing in 1990, and have had a less-than-ideal preparation for South Africa.
Michael Ballack's injury in the FA Cup final means he will play no part in the competition, handing the armband to full-back Lahm.
Meanwhile, Heiko Westermann, Rene Adler, Simon Rolfes and Christian Trasch are also sidelined in a long list of injuries for Joachim Low's men.
But Lahm is still optimistic of his side's chances of success, and the semi-final stage he feels would be an acceptable milestone.
"The fact that we have lost players who are enormously important for us is a shame," said the Bayern Munich defender.
"But we still have a top squad which can go far.
"Clearly our goal as the German national team is to reach the semi-finals. And clearly we also dream of more."
Germany have been handed a difficult draw for South Africa, as they will play in Group D alongside Serbia, Ghana and Australia.