The German football squad are "very proud" of Sebastian Vettel, international midfielder Bastian Schweinsteiger said Sunday hours after his compatriot retained his world title.
"He's essentially a hero as it's an exceptional achievement to win two world titles at such a young age," the Bayern Munich star said as the squad gathered in Duesseldorf ahead of Tuesday's final Euro 2012 qualifier at home to Belgium.
Coach Joachim Loew also saluted Vettel for his "competence, discipline and mental strength" and said the 24-year-old should be regarded as "one of the top German sportsmen of all time."
Vettel earlier became the youngest driver ever to retain his Formula One crown when his third place at Suzuka was sufficient to retain last year's title.
At just 24 years and 98 days, Vettel outstrips fellow consecutive winners Alberto Ascari, Juan Manuel Fangio, Jack Brabham, Alain Prost, Senna, Schumacher, Mika Hakkinen and Fernando Alonso as the youngest driver to achieve the feat.