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Germany’s greatest ever football players identified

With 4 World Cup victories and 3 Euro Championships under their belt, Germany is without question, one of the best international football teams of all time. Over the years, this team has rarely failed to disappoint on the international stage. How has this been possible? Well, it all stems from the calibre of players they have had at their disposal. And that’s precisely what we’d like to take a closer look at right here.

Germany has entertained some true greats in their time. Ever since the first World Cup victory in 1954, Germany really has gone from strength to strength. Naturally, legends have come and gone, but their reputation and legacy will live on forever. So, who are the best German players of all time and why is this so? Read on for full details.

True Mannschaft legends

The list of Mannschaft legends is rather extensive, to say the least. Then again, that’s what you get with a legendary international team. But rather than trying to run through all of the best guys, we believe we’ve successfully shortlisted the top five. So, without further ado, let’s get into some specifics about these legends of the game.

Franz Beckenbauer

Ferenc Bene (Hungary) and Franz Beckenbauer (West-Germany). Image: Imago

Ferenc Bene (Hungary) and Franz Beckenbauer (West-Germany). Image: Imago

Who better to kick off this list than ‘The Emperor’? Franz Beckenbauer is one of the most natural German players to have ever played the game. Not only was he a natural with the ball at his feet, however, he was also a natural leader. In fact, Beckenbauer could instil a sense of confidence and grit into the squad like no other. These attributes carried him to Euro Championship victory in 1972, followed by a World Cup victory in 1974.

Of course, back then he was playing for West Germany, prior to the unification of East and West Germany. In addition to this, many people forget that Beckenbauer also managed to win the Ballon d’Or – twice. And although Beckenbauer started his career playing in midfield, he definitely grew to be one of the best defenders Germany has ever seen.

Gerd Muller

Gerd MÜller mit seiner Frau Uschi Müller.

Gerd MÜller mit seiner Frau Uschi Müller. Foto: Imago Images

Moving to the other side of the pitch now, we have a striker in the form of Gerd Muller. And if you wanted someone up front who could score goals, this is your man. Playing for West Germany through the late 60s and early 70s, he managed to score 68 goals in just 62 appearances. He is also the leading goalscorer in the Bundesliga, a record he set back in the 1970s. As it happens, Muller was part of the same golden team as Beckenbauer. The pair did the Euro Championships and World Cup double at the same time – 1972 and 1974.

Muller will forever be regarded as a legend since he scored the winning goal in the 1974 World Cup final too. Of course, being a striker, the reason that Muller is viewed as one of the greats is purely for his ability to put the ball in the back of the net. He actually has one of the best game to goal ratios there has ever been, and probably ever will be! 

Lothar Matthaus

Lothar Matthäus (Gladbach zu Bayern ) – erst wechselt er die Fronten, dann verschießt er den Elfmeter Foto: Getty Images

Lothar Matthäus (Gladbach zu Bayern ) – erst wechselt er die Fronten, dann verschießt er den Elfmeter Foto: Getty Images

Lothar Matthaus has played more games in a German shirt than any other player. And there was a fairly good reason for this. He is a World Cup winner, a Euros winner, a Ballon d’Or winner, and a FIFA Player of the Year winner. In fact, no other German has won this award. That tells you all you need to know about Matthaus’ talents, and boy must Germany miss him on the pitch! He played as a midfielder throughout his entire career. And his passing, combined with his long-range shooting is almost unrivalled. 

Miroslav Klose

Miroslav KloseWhen playing in major international competitions, you need clutch players to get the job done. On that note, it’s hard to find a player more clutch than Klose. He has scored the most World Cup goals of any player in history, with 16 to his name. This was achieved over the course of 4 World Cup events, including the 2014 World Cup that Germany won. And since he is at the top of the list for World Cup goals, this means he has beaten guys like Ronaldo, Pele, Maradonna, and many other legends!

Oliver Kahn

We couldn’t wrap this up without mentioning this legendary goalkeeper. Kahn is one of the best guys between the sticks the world has ever seen. He was agile, brave, and intelligent in goal for both club and country. In fact, his skills led to a Euros victory in 1996, and a World Cup silver medal in 2002. Bear in mind that Germany wasn’t favourites to do well in that World Cup whatsoever, but Kahn stepped up and won the Golden Ball!

He almost won the Ballon d’Or too, finishing in third place for two successive years.


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