Ranked! The greatest German players ever

Trending 1 month ago 15
Greatest German players ever
(Image credit: Getty)

Germany are 1 of the large footballing nations. Whether it's inexpensive tickets successful the Bundesliga oregon mulleted marvels connected the planetary stage, there's nary denying Deutschland person done arsenic overmuch to enrich shot civilization arsenic anyone. 

But who are the top German players of each time? We tally you done our apical 10. When the likes of Jurgen Klinsmann, Matthias Sammer advertisement Rudi Voller don't marque the cut, you cognize they've been doing thing right...

10. Oliver Kahn

Greatest German players ever

(Image credit: Getty)

Nicknamed Der Titan for his imperious, intimidating displays betwixt the sticks, Kahn remains 1 of the large goalkeepers successful modern history. In much than 600 appearances for Bayern Munich, the colossus won 8 Bundesliga titles, six DFB-Pokals and a Champions League. While for the Nationalmannschaft, Khan was portion of the squads that won Euro 96 and reached the World Cup last six years later. 

The biggest of large crippled players, Kahn remains the lone goalkeeper to triumph the Golden Ball astatine a World Cup, aft inspiring Deutschland each the mode to the last successful Japan successful 2002. Despite making an mistake successful their eventual decision to Brazil, Kahn’s spectacular displays that summertime stay the benchmark by which each goalkeepers are judged successful Germany. 

9. Fritz Walter

Greatest German players ever

(Image credit: Getty)

The skipper of (West) Germany’s archetypal World Cup triumph successful 1954, Walter was an elegant and devastating attacking midfielder arsenic susceptible of scoring and providing goals. Walter scored 33 goals successful 61 appearances for Germany but, successful truth, it was for boyhood club, Kaiserslautern, wherever he’s inactive astir revered. 

The second-tier side’s stadium, built successful 1985, was named successful the honour of the antheral who spent his full vocation astatine the club, scoring 357 goals successful 364 league games. Walter was known for his emotion of playing successful the rain, truthful overmuch truthful that “Fritz Walter Wetter” remains a commonly utilized operation successful Bundesliga vernacular; describing shambolic playing conditions. 

How was the upwind connected the time of the '54 World Cup final, we perceive you ask? It p***ed it down, of course!

8. Miroslav Klose

Miroslav Klose

(Image credit: PA)

There are acold amended footballers connected this database than Miroslav Klose. In fact, determination are acold amended Germans than the antheral calved slap bang successful the mediate of Poland. That being said, fewer could lucifer the people antheral for International efficiency. Klose remains Germany’s all-time apical scorer – with 71 goals successful 139 appearances – arsenic good arsenic the astir prolific marksman astatine World Cups, with 16. 

Klose’s home grounds was solid, if unspectacular, with 258 goals successful 667 matches for a clutch of European clubs. He won 2 Bundesliga titles, with Bayern, arsenic good arsenic a Coppa Italia with Lazio. Without his planetary career, helium was a decent player. With it, he’s a bonafide legend. We couldn't perchance permission him out.

7. Manuel Neuer

Manuel Neuer

(Image credit: PA)

The antheral often credited with changing an full position. In truth, Neuer surely didn’t invent the sweeper-keeper relation – with countless examples having gone earlier him – but there’s nary denying the Germany and Bayern skipper perfected the art.

Neuer is truthful bully with his feet, Pep Guardiola famously had to beryllium talked retired of fielding him successful midfield during his clip successful Bavaria. The 36-year-old has been the bedrock of 2 trebles astatine Bayern, successful 2013 and 2020, arsenic good arsenic the club’s 10 consecutive league titles since the erstwhile year. There person been recurring calls for Neuer to suffer his No.1 presumption with the nationalist squad successful caller seasons, but the 2014 World Cup victor is conscionable arsenic cardinal arsenic ever for Hansi Flick’s side. 

6. Gunther Netzer

Greatest German players ever

(Image credit: Getty)

Nicknamed ‘Karajan’, aft the esteemed Austrian classical conductor, Netzer was a subordinate of uncommon intelligence, equilibrium and method genius, considered by galore to beryllium the top passer successful German history. With the nationalist team, Netzer was portion of the sides that won Euro 1972 and the World Cup 1974 – finishing 3rd successful the Ballon d’Or pursuing the erstwhile triumph. 

With his bully looks, flowing blonde hairsbreadth and playboy lifestyle, the midfielder could frustrate those who picked the teams, but shot fans awarded him god-like status. The maverick midfielder orchestrated Gladbach’s back-to-back Bundesliga triumphs successful the early-70s, earlier moving to Real Madrid and doing the aforesaid happening aboriginal successful his career.

One celebrated incidental sums up Netzer much than immoderate other. During the 1973 DFB-Pokal final, the playmaker – who started connected the seat aft reportedly telling his manager helium was disconnected to Spain that summertime – removed his tracksuit and informed the gaffer “I’m going connected to play now” during extra-time. He organised his ain instauration and scored the victor earlier jetting disconnected to Los Blancos. For him, it truly was that easy...

5. Uwe Seeler

Greatest German players ever

(Image credit: Getty)

The undisputed prima of German shot successful the 1960s, Seeler would surely apical different FFT database should we ever bash it: the champion statues successful satellite football. An tremendous chromatic carving of Seeler's bare close ft stands proudly extracurricular Hamburg’s Volksparkstadion. It’s conscionable reward for scoring 490 goals successful 580 HSV appearances. The three-time German Football of the Year was known for his strength, leadership, aerial quality and – amazingly for specified a large lad – his acrobatic overhead kicks. 

Seeler’s irrepressible extremity scoring instincts fired HSV to the German rubric successful 1960 and a DFB-Pokal 3 years later. His 43 goals successful 72 planetary appearances besides brought West Germany wrong touching region of the 1966 World Cup. A distraught Seeler being helped disconnected the Wembley turf is 1 of the astir iconic photos successful shot history.

4. Philipp Lahm

Greatest German players ever

(Image credit: Getty)

Short, not peculiarly strong, accelerated oregon assertive – you’d beryllium forgiven for mistaking Philipp Lahm for an accountant alternatively of 1 of the top players ever. The Bayern stalwart mightiness person lacked physicality, but helium made up for it with a staggering shot IQ. “He’s 1 of the astir fantastic players I’ve ever trained successful my life,” erstwhile Bayern manager Pep Guardiola erstwhile said of the 5ft7 inferior man. “Even talking astir the astir intelligent players, helium is 1 of them.”

Lahm was rejigged from scuttling right-back to midfield orchestrator aft the Catalan coach’s 2013 accomplishment and was arguably the champion successful the satellite successful some positions for respective seasons thereafter. 

Lahm won 8 Bundesliga titles, six DFB-Pokals and a Champions League with the Bavarian giants, but his top moments came connected the planetary stage. Eight years aft his stunning onslaught against Costa Rica astatine the 2006 World Cup connected location soil, Lahm lifted the trophy arsenic skipper of the Nationalmannschaft. That 2014 squad is astir apt the top successful German history; Lahm mightiness person been the prime of the bunch. 

3. Lothar Matthaus

Greatest German players ever

(Image credit: Getty Images)

It seems mathematical intolerable that Mattheus played successful some Euro 1980 and Euro 2000, but *checks notes again* helium truly did. Victorious successful that archetypal tourney and skipper for West Germany’s triumph astatine Italia 90, Matthaus adjacent recovered clip to miss Euro 96 during that singular run.

A midfielder, sweeper, person and victor boasts much caps (150) than immoderate German antheral and much World Cup appearances (25) than anyone successful the world. Diego Maradona called him his “fiercest competitor” and erstwhile Bayern manager Giovanni Trapattoni ranked him supra Michel Platini and the aforementioned Argentine. “There was a hierarchy astatine Bayern,” erstwhile Bayern striker Giovane Elber erstwhile told FFT. “Lothar was the large dog."

Mattheus was the brains and brawn for each squad helium represented – whether it was the all-conquering Bayern of the ‘80s and precocious ‘90s oregon a sublime Inter Milan broadside that lifted the league and UEFA Cup titles successful between. 

2. Gerd Muller

Gerd Müller

(Image credit: Getty)

Teased for being abbreviated and abdominous arsenic a youngster, Muller’s schooling arsenic an apprentice weaver successful small-town Bavaria is credited with processing the stocky, almighty physique which aboriginal made him a wrecking shot successful the punishment box. 

Nicknamed Der Bomber by German shot fans for his quality to destruct defences, Muller notched 365 goals for Bayern successful 427 appearances – a complaint of 0.85 goals per game. Known for his strength, almighty changeable and acceleration, Muller is besides Germany’s second-highest scorer with 68 goals, 3 down Miroslav Klose (71), contempt having played 75 less games.

Muller remains some Bayern and the Bundesliga’s all-time grounds goalscorer. He besides has the astir hat-tricks for Germany, with eight. He held the grounds for the astir World Cup goals (14) betwixt 1974 and 2006, erstwhile it was breached by Brazil’s Ronaldo. 

He was a stats machine; a cheat codification of a striker during a clip erstwhile pitches were unspeakable and yellowish cards hardly existed. He was the top goalscorer successful German history.

1. Franz Beckenbauer

Greatest German players ever

(Image credit: Getty)

Sweepers were already communal successful the ‘60s, but nary had ever played the relation rather similar Beckenbauer. Not lone did helium dictate play from heavy with his virtuoso passing range, helium perpetually surged guardant with the ball, gliding past opponents to articulation successful attacks. The libero relation was born, with Der Kaiser its earliest proponent. 

Beckenbauer won 4 league titles, 4 German Cups, 3 European Cups and 2 Ballon d’Ors with Bayern and added 1 much aboriginal successful his vocation with Hamburg – grounds of his quality to crook immoderate squad into winners. 

With the nationalist team, the defender and skipper was the driving unit down triumphs astatine Euro 72 and the World Cup 2 years later. No subordinate has ever been arsenic elegant, arsenic calm successful possession, arsenic inspirational and arsenic feared arsenic Beckebauer. And nary German is celebrated oregon revered truthful highly. He was and volition surely everlastingly stay the top subordinate successful German history. 

Thank you for speechmaking 5 articles this month* Join present for unlimited access

Enjoy your archetypal period for conscionable £1 / $1 / €1

*Read 5 escaped articles per period without a subscription

Join present for unlimited access

Try archetypal period for conscionable £1 / $1 / €1

Ed McCambridge

Ed is simply a unit writer astatine FourFourTwo, moving crossed the mag and website. A German speaker, he’s been moving arsenic a shot newsman successful Berlin since 2015, predominantly covering the Bundesliga and Germany's nationalist team. Key FFT features see an exclusive interrogation with Jude Bellingham pursuing the youngster’s determination to Borussia Dortmund successful 2020, a past of the Berlin Derby since the autumn of the Wall and a solemnisation of Kevin Keegan’s playing career.