Famous German Football Players

Most German soccer players follow the prototype of the strong, athletic and tactically knowledgeable footballer and despite having some exceptions throughout time, it's this type of players that made Germany reach 7 World Cup finals, winning three of them. With any other country, their national heroes in what regards soccer are usually strikers, attacking midfielders or wingers, since, let's face it, the defender's role doesn't shine out as much as that of an attacker. No one will remember a defender sweeping a ball of his own line as powerfully as they'll remember a striker's important goal. This rule doesn't apply to German soccer players, as Germans always knew how to value their defenders and often appreciated a good tackle more than a bicycle kick. The statements I made above may look written with a dramatic purpose, but rest assure they are true and all you need to do to acknowledge this is to take a look at the most famous German football players of all times. Franz Beckenbauer or Lothar Matthaus are considered some of Germany's legendary players and guess what, they were both defenders or defensive midfielders as was the case of Matthaus, and for a while Beckenbauer. One of the few exceptions to this "rule" is Uwe Seeler, who was a gifted striker for Hamburger SV and for the West Germany national team. In addition, another two famous German soccer players are Sepp Maier and Oliver Kahn, who are both goalkeepers. But enough theory work and more information I hear you say. So here's a short overview of some of these famous German soccer players. (You can find more players from other nationalities at the Famous Soccer Players section). Sepp Maier (1944) Sepp Maier, nicknamed "The Cat" was one of Germany’s finest goalkeepers and is still regarded as his country's best player on this position, despite recent talents such as Oliver Kahn. He holds the record for most minutes played uninterrupted, playing in 422 consecutive matches between 1966 and 1977! Franz Beckenbauer (1945) The "Kaiser" (the emperor) as he was named by his fans is considered the greatest German national soccer player of all times. Although it's true that his nickname was attributed to him because of his name "Franz" which resembled the name of Austrian emperors, it was given to him due to his dominant playing style in which he truly felt like an emperor. Beckenbauer played in 3 consecutive World Cups, winning the silver medal with Germany in 1966, bronze in 1970 and finally winning a well-deserved trophy in 1974. His spirit and vitality can easily be described with the help of an episode from the 1970 semi-final against Italy. Back then, a team could only make 2 substitutions during a match and Germany had already used them, when Franz Beckenbauer suffered a clavicle fracture. Most players would have gone off the pitch, writhing in pain, but Beckenbauer stayed till the end and played heroically, with one arm in a sling. Although Germany lost 3-4 in what was to be called the "Match of the Century", his gesture and attitude earned him the respect of the World. Lothar Matthaus (1961) Although Beckenbauer is considered the best player in Germany's history, Lothar Matthaus definitely wasn't far from this distinction himself. Lothar Matthaus is the most capped player in German history, with 150 appearances for his national side (for which he scored 23 goals) and he also holds the record for participating in the most World and European Cups, playing in no less than 5 World Cups (more than any other outfield player in history!) and 4 European Cups. He managed to win the 1980 European trophy and the 1990 World Cup, where he captained his team to a historic success in Italy. Jurgen Klinsmann (1964) Klinsmann's nickname at the end of his career was "the Golden Bomber" and a bomber he was, being one of the most prolific strikers in Germany's soccer history, with 47 goals scored in 108 matches for his national side. The first part of his nickname is often attributed to his golden hair, but that's only half the truth. He was also a winner, wherever he would go, he would aim for the golden medal. It's this mentality that earned him the 1990 World Cup together with West Germany's national squad, the Bundesliga championship together with Bayern or the UEFA Cup on two occasions, with Inter Milan (in 1991) and again, Bayern Munich (1996). Oliver Kahn (1969) For today's German national soccer players, Oliver Kahn was what Sepp Maier was for his national side between 1966 and 1978. His ferociousness and presence of spirit in goal, coped with his solid frame make him a goalkeeper no striker will eagerly engage in a duel with. His portfolio is equally impressive as his skills, since he won 7 German league titles, 5 German cups, and the UEFA Cup, Champions League and Intercontinental Cup once each. He was also named Best Goalkeeper of the Year in 1999, 2001 and 2002, with a runner-up position in 2000.


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