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Updated on June 7th 2021, 5:57:57 am

Top 10 German football legends of all time

Since the founding of the German Football Association in 1900, the country has gained immense prominence in the world of football. Here we take a look at the German football legends of all time.

In Germany, football is the most popular sport. Germany's national football team has won four FIFA World Cups (1954, 1974, 1990, and 2014), making it the tournament's joint-second most successful nation, trailing behind Brazil. Since the founding of the German Football Association in 1900, the country has gained immense prominence in the world of football. Mannschaft has produced numerous footballers through the years who have etched their names in the annals of football history. Amazing players with the most decorated club and international careers through the decades.


Germany is the only country to have won the World Cup in both men's and women's competitions. They have produced several exceptional footballers through the years who have gone on to become legends. Apart from winning competitions and trophies for their respective teams, these athletes have wowed millions of fans around the world with their remarkable performances. 

Here are the ten greatest German footballers of all time:


10. Philipp Lahm


Lahm was a right-back or defensive midfielder who spent much of his early career on the left side of the field. Before retiring from international football, he was the captain of his country's national team, which led to victory at the 2014 FIFA World Cup. Many believe Lahm to be one of the best defenders of his generation, if not all time. He was named to the World Cup team of the tournament in 2006, 2010, and 2014, as well as the UEFA Team of the Tournament in 2008 and 2012. He was known for his speed, precision, stamina, and accurate tackling skills, as well as his diminutive stature, earning him the moniker "Magic Dwarf."


9. Matthias Sammer


In 1990, Sammer made his international debut for West Germany. Sammer was a member of Germany's European Championship 1992 squad, where he played as a defensive midfielder and finished second to Denmark. His calmness on the ball and ability to read the game as a defender places him among the top players in the world. When they beat the Czech Republic in the Euro 1996 final, Sammer was named Player of the Tournament.


8. Bastian Schweinsteiger


Bastian Schweinsteiger cemented his place in German football history as one of the greatest German players of all time after his outstanding performance in the 2014 World Cup final against Argentina. Schweinsteiger has a devastating shooting and the vision to choose the deadly pass that only a small percentage of footballers possess. Between 2004 and 2016, he was a member of the German national team. He is Germany's fourth most-capped player, having appeared in 121 international games and scoring 24 goals.


7. Fritz Walter


Fritz Walter is regarded as one of Germany's best footballers of all time. Walter only played for Kaiserslautern, the local team where he was born. For Kaiserslautern, Walter scored 357 goals in 364 games. In 1954, he guided Germany to the World Cup Final, where they were defeated 3-2 by Hungary. He was frequently used as a second striker. Walter captained the side that won the FIFA World Cup in 1954, appearing in 61 international games and scoring 33 goals. He was recognised at the UEFA Jubilee Awards in 2004 as his country's most outstanding player during the previous 50 years.


6. Karl-Heinz Rummenigge


Rummenigge is one of Germany's most prolific goal scorers, ranking sixth among the country's top scorers. Rummenigge had a good eye for goal, scoring nine goals in three World Cup campaigns, including a hat-trick in 1982. The German scored goals wherever he went. He won the Ballon d'Or for his club and nation performances in 1980 and 1981. Rummenigge was a member of the West German side that won the 1980 European Championship and finished second in the 1986 and 1982 FIFA World Cups.


5. Miroslav Klose


Miroslav Klose not only surpassed Gerd Muller as Germany's all-time leading goalscorer, but he also surpassed Ronaldo Nazario's record of 16 World Cup goals in 2014, exceeding the Brazilian. Klose was part of the German team that won the 2014 FIFA World Cup. Klose is also Germany's all-time leading goal scorer, with his team never losing a game in which he scored. There aren't many players who can find the net inside the 18-yard box like him, who has a wonderful domestic and international record.


4. Sepp Maier


Germany has produced some of the top goalkeepers in history, including Oliver Kahn and Manuel Neuer, who are considered the best goalkeepers of their generation. In the 1970s, Sepp Maier was regarded as the best goalkeeper in the world. At the 1974 World Cup, he kept four clean sheets as they won the championship against Cruyff’s Dutch team. Maier was also a key member of the European Championship-winning team two years previously. During his career, he was also named German Footballer of the Year three times. He is, without a doubt, the finest German goalkeeper of all time.


3. Lothar Matthaus


Lothar Matthaus has the record for most appearances for Germany, with 150. He has won Euro 1980 and World Cup 1990, as well as finishing second in both 1982 and 1986 World Cups. Matthaus was a flamboyant midfielder who helped Germany defeat Argentina in the 1990 World Cup with Diego Maradona. After leading West Germany to victory in 1990, he was named European Footballer of the Year. Matthaus, a dynamic midfielder by trade, scored four goals for Germany in the 1990 FIFA World Cup.


2. Gerd Muller


Gerd Muller is usually recognised as the best German player of all time and is widely recognised as one of the finest footballers ever to grace the game. During the 1970 World Cup, the daring forward scored ten goals, including hat tricks against Peru and Bulgaria. Such achievements earned him the Ballon d'Or the year before he helped Germany in winning Euro 1972. He scored braces in both the semifinal and final games. 'The Bomber' has inspired many modern-day strikers with his 68 goals in 62 games at the international level.


1. Franz Beckenbauer


Franz Beckenbauer has become a legend in Germany by mastering the sweeper position and making it his own. After finishing second and third in the 1966 and 1970 World Cups, Beckenbauer won the trophy for the third time in 1974. He was twice named European Footballer of the Year for his 103 appearances for West Germany, winning the World Cup as captain and again as head coach in 1990. He is one of three men, along with Mario Zagallo and Didier Deschamps of France, to have won the event both as a player and as a manager. In 2002, Beckenbauer was named to FIFA's World Cup Dream Team of the Century.

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