Wednesday, October 29, 2014

Germany Greatest All-time 23-member team

World Cup 2014

This is my all-time team for Germany. If there were an All-Time World Cup, this would be the 23 players I would bring to the tournament.  

Please also see my All-Time World Cup Team Index
North Rhine-Westphalia, Bavaria.
East German Players after 1990
German Americans/American Germans
German Turks 
German-born Players Capped by Other National Teams
Germany All-Time Team After Beckenbauer
Germany All-Time Team before 1972
East Germany
Germany All-Time Team Without Bayern Munich Players

Germany stands as the most successful European footballing nation, having clinched the World Cup title in 1954, 1974, 1990, and 2014. They secured second place in 1966, 1982, and 1986. Additionally, Germany boasts an outstanding record at the European Championship, with three championship victories in 1972, 1980, and 1996, along with two runner-up finishes in 1976 and 2008.

The emergence of Franz Beckenbauer in the late 1960s marked a turning point for German football. Their breakthrough moment came during the 1972 European Championship quarterfinals against England, leading to their tournament victory. This game is often regarded as a pivotal moment in football history. From 1972 to 1996, Germany consistently produced exceptional teams that left a lasting impact.

Although they experienced a brief downturn after Euro 2000, Germany resurged as a prominent force in world football, particularly during the 2006 World Cup finals. In 2014, they achieved their fourth World Cup triumph, notably defeating host country Brazil 7-1 in the semifinals. This victory further solidified Germany's status as a dominant footballing nation.

If there were an All-Time World Cup, this would be the 23 players I would bring to the tournament.  The team is not an All-Star team. I tried to be as realistic as possible.   A few of the players are selected for tactical reasons at the expense of more famous players.

West Germany 1990

GK: Sepp Maier
Nicknamed "The cat from Anzing", Maier was considered one of the greatest goalkeeper ever in the 1970's. He had 95 caps for West Germany, winning the European Championship in 1972 and the World Cup at home in 1974. For club football, he played his entire career with Bayern Munich. He also won three straight European Cups for Bayern Munich.  He was German Footballer of the Year: 1975, 1977, 1978.

GK: Oliver Kahn
Kahn is one of the most successful German players in recent history.  For Bayern Munich, he won eight Bundesliga titles, six DFB-Pokals, the UEFA Cup in 1996, the UEFA Champions League and the Intercontinental Cup, both achieved in 2001. For Germany, his heroic performance helped Germany to finish 2nd at Korea/Japan 2002.  He was the Gold Ball winner in that World Cup Finals.   

GK: Manuel Neuer
Neuer established as Germany's number 1 before the World Cup Finals in 2010.  Since then, he has been considered one of the best keeper in the world. He helped Germany winning their 4th World Cup in 2014. In 2014, Neuer finished third in the voting, behind Lionel Messi and Cristiano Ronaldo, for the FIFA Ballon d'Or award.  He started with Schalke 04, but moved to rival Bayern Munich in 2010. He is the second most expensive keeper of all-time.

RB: Berti Vogts
Nicknamed “Der Terrier”, Vogts was one of the greatest rightback in German history.  He won 5 Bundesliga titles and two UEFA Cups with the great Borussia Mönchengladbach of the 1970's.  He had 95 caps, winning both the World Cup in 1974 and the European Championshipmin 1972. He famously marked Johan Cruyff out of the World Cup Final in 1974. 

RB/LB/DM: Philipp Lahm
Philipp Lahm was the captain of the 2014 World Cup winning team. He had 113 caps for Germany from 2004 to 2014.  He was included in the World Cup team of the tournament in 2006 and 2010.  For club football, he played his entire career with Bayern Munich, except for a two year loan spell with VfB Stuttgart. He also won the treble in 2013 when Bayern Munich won the Champions' League, the German Cup and the Bundesliga on the same year.  He is a member of Bayern Munich's Hall of Fame.
Philipp Lahm
CB: Jurgen Kohler
Jurgen Kohler was regarded one of the best defenders in the 1990's.   He earned 105 caps for West Germany/Germany between 1986 and 1998.  He won the World Cup in 1990 and the European Championship in 1996.  For his club career, he played with Koln, Bayern Munich, Juventus and Borussia Dortmund.  He won the Champions' League in 1997 with Borussia Dortmund.  

CB: Karl-Heinz Forster

With West Germany, Forster earned 81 caps. He won the European Championship in 1980, and came 2nd at the World Cup in both 1982 and 1986.  He was regarded one of the best defenders in the 1980's.  He played with VFB Stuttgart and Marseille.  With Stuttgart, he won a Bundesliga in the 1983–84 season.  He won two league titles in France.

SW/CM: Franz Beckenbauer
Franz Beckenbauer was one of the best ever player in history.  Known as Der Kaiser, he was credited with revolutionizing the sweeper position.  He was twice selected European Footballer of the Year. Beckenbauer appeared 103 times for West Germany and played in three FIFA World Cups, winning the World Cup in 1974 and the European Championship in 1972.  At the club level, he won three straight European Cup with Bayern Munich in 1974, 1975 and 1976. He also played for Hamburger and NY Cosmos.
Franz Beckenbauer
SW: Matthias Sammer
With Borussia Dortmund as a player, Sammer won the Bundesliga and DFL-Supercup in 1995, the Bundesliga, DFL-Supercup, and European Footballer of the Year in 1996, and the UEFA Champions League and Intercontinental Cup in 1997. He also played for Inter Milan and Dynamo Dresden. With Die Mannschaft  as a player, Sammer won the UEFA Euro 1996, where he was named the tournament's best player, and was subsequently awarded the Ballon d'Or later that year. Sammer retired with 74 total caps, 23 for East Germany and 51 for the unified side.  

LB: Andreas Brehme
Andreas Brehme is best remembered for his career with Kaiserslautern and Inter Milan.  He was the Serie A Foreign Player of the Year in 1989, in an era where the best players played in Italy.  He had 86 caps.  He was an important player for West Germany in the 1990 WC Finals, where he scored the winning goal in the Final. He also played in 1986 and 1994 World Cup Finals, and three European Championship.

LB/CM: Paul Breitner

Breitner was the first player to score a goal at two different WC Final match.  From 1971 to 1982, he had 48 caps for West Germany. He won the European Championship in 1972 and then, a the World Cup in 1974. He spent most of his career with Bayern Muinch and went to play for Real Madrid in Spain.  During his club career, Breitner won seven National Championships with Bayern Munich (1972, 1973, 1974, 1980, 1981) and Real Madrid (1975, 1976), the Champions' Cup (1974) as well as the German (1971, 1982) and Spanish Cups (1975). 
Paul Breitner

CM: Bastian Schweinsteiger
Bastian Schweinsteiger was an important player for both club and country.  He was capped 121 times. He went to three European Championships and as many World Cups, including their victory at the 2014 FIFA World Cup. Schweinsteiger is the youth product of Bayern Munich.  He won the 2013 Champions' league title with Bayern Munich. Late in his career, he played for Manchester United and Chicago Fire.

CM: Toni Kroos
Toni Kroos became a member of Bayern Munich's first team at the age of 17, Kroos played a loan spell at Bayer Leverkusen, before going back to Munich and winning back-to-back Bundesliga titles and the 2012–13 Champions League. After winning the World Cup in 2014, he joined Real Madrid . In Madrid, he won the two UEFA Champions League. He was a key player for Germany since 2010.  He won the World Cup in 2014 as one of Germany's star players.

CM: Lothar Matthaus
Matthaus captained the West German team in winning the World Cup in 1990.  He was the European Player of the Year and the first ever World Player of the year in 1990. He played in five FIFA World Cups (1982, 1986, 1990, 1994, 1998), a record for an outfield player, and holds the record for the most World Cup matches played by a single player (25 games). He also won the Euro 1980 in Italy, and played in the 1984, 1988, and 2000 European Championships. At the club level, he was remembered for his spell with Bayern Munich, Inter Milan and Borussia Mönchengladbach.
Lothar Matthaus
RW:  Helmut Rahn
Rahn was known as "Der Boss" (English: "The Boss") because of his on-field leadership and occasionally also as "The Cannon from Essen".  He was considered one of the best ever German winger.  His club career was associated with Rot-Weiss Essen.  Capped 40 times.  He was a star of the 1954 World Cup team.  He scored the winning goal in the final vs Hungary. He also went to the WC Finals in 1958.

LW:  Hans Schafer  
Hans Schafer played for 1. FC Köln between 1948 and 1965. He also played for the West Germany, earning 39 caps and scoring 15 goals. He played in three World Cups, in 1954, 1958, and 1962, earning a winner's medal in 1954 and scoring a total of seven goals. Between 1957 and 1962, Schäfer captained Germany 16 times. He was German Player of the Year in 1963. He spent all of his career with Koln.

LM/CM: Wolfgang Overath
Overath was one of the best left midfielders in history,  He won the 1974  WC, where he kept Netzer from the starting lineup. In total he won 81 caps for the national side between 1963 and 1974, scoring 17 goals.  In addition to 1974 World Cup Finals, he also went to the 1966 and 1970 World Cup Finals. He spent all of his career with Koln.

CM: Gunther Netzer
Gunther Netzer was the star of the great Borussia Mönchengladbach of the 1970's.  He played 37 times for Germany.  He won the European Championship in 1972 and then, the World Cup in 1974.  His best performance, however, was in 1972, where he was the star at the quarterfinal against England.  He later joined Real Madrid in 1973 and outperformed Johan Cruyff's Barcelona in the early 1970's in a period dominated by Real Madrid.
Gunter Netzer
AM/FW: Fritz Walter
Fritz Walter was the captain of the 1954 World Cup winning team.  His brother Ottar Walter was also on that team. He had over 60 caps and also went to the 1958 World Cup Finals. He was selected as the UEFA Golden Player for Germany at the 50th anniversary of UEFA in 2004. During the War, he captured as a POW and his life was spared because the guards recognised him as a famous footballer. He played his entire career with Kaiserslautern between 1937 and 1959.
Fritz Walter in 1954

FW: Karl-Heinz Rummenigge
Karl-Heinz Rummenigge was one of the best players in the world during the 1980's.  He was the European Player of the Year in 1980 and 1981.  He won the European Championship in 1980 and was part of the squad that finished runner-up at the 1982 FIFA World Cup in Spain and at the 1986 World Cup in Mexico. He was a young star in Argentina 1978.  He spent the best parts of his club career with Bayern Munich and Inter Milan.

ST: Uwe Seeler
Seeler was captain of both his club team and the national team for many years. He played in 4 WC Finals(1958, 1962, 1966 and 1970), but sandwiched between Germany's two World Cup winning years(1954 and 1974).  West Germany came second in 1966 and reached the semifinal in 1970 while playing next to Gerd Muller. However, he is still regarded one of Germany's greatest players.  He spent his entire career with SV Hamburger.

ST: Jurgen Klinsmann
Klinsmann won the WC in 1990 and then, captained the 1996 European Championship winning team.  He played in all major international tournaments from 1988 until his retirement in 1998.  He had successful club spells with Inter Milan and Tottenham Hotspurs. He was a popular player while in England, despite a lot of negative press at the time of his signing.  He won both the FWA Footballer of the Year and PFA Player of the Year in 1995.  

ST: Gerd Muller
"Der Bomber" was widely considered to be the greatest striker in history. He scored 68 goals in 62 matches for Die Mannschaft.   He scored 365 goals in 427 Bundesliga appearance, mostly with Bayern Muinch.   He won three straight European Cup with Bayern Munich in 1974, 1975 and 1976. At the international level, he played over 60 times for West Germany.  He won the World Cup in 1974 and the European Championship in 1972. He was the European Player of the Year in 1970.  
Gerd Muller
Honorable Mention
Toni Schumacher, Bert Trautmann, Andreas Köpke, Jen Lehmann, Karl-Heinz Schnellinger, Toni Kroos, Klaus Augenthaler, Willi Schulz, Manfred Kaltz, Hans Peter Briegel, Paul Janes, Wolfgang Weber, Horst Hrubesch, Richard Hofmann, Bernd Schuster, Horst Szymaniak, Guido Buchwald, Fritz Szepan, Michael Ballack, Pierre Littibarski, Andy Moeller, Stefan Effenberg, Helmut Haller, Thomas Hassler, Miroslav Klose, Klaus Fischer, Thomas Muller, Pierre Littbarski, Jürgen Grabowski, Rudi Voller, Thomas Berthold, Mat Hummels, Jerome Boateng, Oliver Bierhoff, Uli Stielike, Bert Trautmann, Manuel Neuer, Helmut Haller, Lukas Podolski.

Squad Explanation
-- Franz Beckenbauer, Gerd Muller, Karl-Heinz Rummenigge, Lothar Matthaus, and Fritz Walter are unquestionably Germany's greatest players, requiring no introduction. They were automatic choices for the team. Sepp Maier, Oliver Kahn, Paul Breitner, Bertie Vogts, Philipp Lahm, Karl-Heinz Forster, Jurgen Kohler, Gunther Netzer, Uwe Seeler, and Mathias Sammer were all close to automatic selection as well. With such a formidable lineup of legends, it was undoubtedly challenging for any player to break into the team.
-- This being a German team also included players from GDR/DDR, but only Sammer was selected although Toni Kroos was born in areas that were under GDR at the time of his birth.  Sammer was capped 23 times by East Germany before the Unification, and 50 more times for a unified Germany.   
-- Italy hosted four major international tournaments.  Germany (West Germany) won two of them, namely the 1990 World Cup and 1980 European Championship.   They managed a third place in the 1934 World Cup Finals.  The fourth tournament was the Euro 1968, in which the host was determined by one of the semifinalists.
-- No player before "Miracle of Bern" was selected.  Fritz Szepan and Paul Janes might be my only serious candidates.  Both were members of the 1934 World Cup team that finished third in Italy. However, Fritz Walter played in the 1940's, but his inclusion was related to the game in Bern.
-- The "Miracle of Bern" was Germany's first major victory in their football's history. They beat the "Mighty Magyars" of Hungary.  Hans Schafer, Fritz Walter and Helmut Rahn were the only players selected from the 1954 World Cup winning team.  Walter needed no introduction.  I selected Schafer and Rahn because I needed wingers.  
-- Germany's path to one of the greatest footballing nations actually began in the early 1970's.  From the 1970's, I have Sepp Maier, Franz Beckenbauer, Bertie Vogts, Wolfgang Overath, Paul Breitner, Gerd Muller and Gunter Netzer.  Uwe Seeler's career overlapped with them, but he retired by the time of the 1972 European Championship and the 1974 World Cup Finals.  In 1970, he formed a great partnership with Gerd Muller. He also played in the 1958 World Cup Finals with Walter and Rahn.  
Breitner, Becknebauer, Muller and Overath
-- West Germany's success during the 1980s includes winning the European Championship in 1980 and finishing as runners-up in the World Cup Finals twice. Karl-Heinz Rummenigge and Karl-Heinz Forster were part of the victorious 1980 European Championship team. Both Andreas Brehme and Lothar Matthaus made their mark by the mid-1980's. Later, in 1990, Brehme and Matthaus, along with Jurgen Kohler and Jurgen Klinsmann, clinched the World Cup title for West Germany.
-- Germany's triumph in the 1996 European Championship showcased standout performances from Jurgen Klinsmann and Matthias Sammer, the only members of the team who made it onto this team. Sammer's exceptional display earned him the prestigious Ballon d'Or award that year. Additionally, Dieter Eilts played a crucial role in the tournament, earning him an honorable mention as the unsung hero.
-- The representation of the 2014 World Cup team in this selection is limited. Toni Kroos, Bastian Schweinsteiger, and Philipp Lahm secured their spots on the team. Miroslav Klose, Mesut Özil, Mats Hummels, and Jerome Boateng receive honorable mentions for their contributions.
-- ESPN created a German All-Time Best XI Team in 2014.  Their players were Olivier Kahn,  Philipp Lahm, Jurgen Kohler, Franz Beckenbauer, Guido Buchwald, Matthias Sammer, Lothar Matthaus, Bern Schuster, Gerd Muller and Thomas Muller.
--'s version of their Best XI included Olivier Kahn, Philipp Lahm, Franz Beckenbauer, Guido Buchwald, Andreas Brehme, Lothar Matthaus, Bastian Schweinsteiger, Wolfgang Overath, Fritz Walter, Miroslav Klose and Gerd Muller. 
-- IFFHS came up with three All-Time Dream teams for Germany. Their A team consisted of Sepp Maier, Manfred Kaltz, Franz Beckenbauer, Paul Breitner, Andreas Brehme, Lothar Matthäus, Günter Netzer, Wolfgang Overath, Fritz Walter, Gerd Müller, and Karl-Heinz Rummenigge. They are followed by their B team: Oliver Kahn, Berti Vogts, Matthias Sammer, Jürgen Kohler, Karl-Heinz Schnellinger, Thomas Häßler, Rainer Bonhof, Bernd Schuster, Pierre Littbarski, Uwe Seeler, and Jürgen Klinsmann. And finally, this is the Team C: Manuel Neuer, Philipp Lahm, Uli Stielike, Karl-Heinz Förster, Hans-Peter Briegel, Stefan Effenberg, Bastian Schweinsteiger, Andreas Möller, Michael Ballack, Rudi Völler, and Miroslav Klose.
-- Sepp Maier and Oliver Kahn were undeniable selections for the goalkeeper position. Kahn's exceptional performances propelled Germany to the 2002 World Cup Final single-handedly. His era coincided with Peter Schmeichel, and their abilities were often compared. Maier, on the other hand, played a significant role in putting both Germany and Bayern Munich on the football map.
Oliver Kahn 
-- Bert Trautmann never played for Germany.  So I did not seriously consider him. I did look into contribution to the national team as an important factor.  
-- After Manuel Neuer's triumph in the 2014 World Cup, it became apparent that he deserved the third spot in the team. When initially forming the team in 2014, Neuer needed additional credentials to surpass Toni Schumacher. However, in 2021, I made the decision to replace Schumacher with Neuer, considering his remarkable performances and accomplishments. Neuer's impact in club football was also significant. His modern style of play was characterized by his exceptional ability to distribute the ball from the back, setting him apart from others in his position.
-- I did not look at other goalkeepers since Sepp Maier, Olivier Kahn, Toni Schumacher, Bert Trautmann and Manuel Neuer were too strong for others to have any realistic chance of ever joining the team.  I did not really rate Jens Lehmann among the names I just mentioned.  However, in his prime, he was only slightly behind Oliver Kahn.  Andreas Köpke was also highly rated.
-- Philipp Lahm, the captain of the 2014 World Cup-winning team, surpassed Manfred Kaltz and Paul Janes to claim the right-back position. Lahm's success extended to club football as well. His versatility to play on both sides of the full-back position led me to assign him as the right-back. In 2020, Lahm was recognized by "France Football" in a fan poll for the Ballon d'Or Dream Team, earning the right-back spot on the Third team. Bertie Vogts, nicknamed "Das Terrier," would be the other right-back selection.  He had the great Johann Cruyff in his pocket in the 1974 World Cup final 
-- Renowned for his trademark early crosses, or "Bananenflanken," Manfred Kaltz formed a lethal partnership with striker Horst Hrubesch for both club and country. Kaltz's exceptional crossing ability made him one of the greatest in the art, while Hrubesch earned the nickname "Das Kopfball-Ungeheuer" (the Header Beast) for his prowess in scoring with his head. During the 1980s, Hamburger SV's goal-scoring formula was straightforward: Kaltz would deliver the crosses, and Hrubesch would find the back of the net.
-- Paul Janes was one of the few pre-War players considered for this team.  He was a member of the Breslau Eleven that beat Denmark 8–0 in Breslau in 1937 and went on to win ten out 11 games played during that year.
-- On the leftback, Andreas Brehme won the Serie A Player of the Year during the period when the best players played in Italy and fullback seldom won individual awards.  Paul Breitner took the other leftback spot.  He also played as a midfielder, but his most glorious moment with Die Mannschaft was being a leftback.  He was also voted into the Third Team of the Ballon d'Or Dream Team poll conducted by "France Football" alongside Philipp Lahm. I left off Karl-Heinz Schnellinger (see below) and Hans Peter Briegel.  
Andreas Brehme 
-- The four central defenders were easy decisions.  Franz Beckenbauer, Matthias Sammer, Karl-Heinz Forster and Jurgen Kohler were the best ever in their positions. I had two sweepers and two stoppers. Willi Schulz, Guido Buchwald and Uli Stielike were a step behind them.  I also put Mat Hummels and Jerome Boateng on honorable mentions.
-- In the modern game, the sweeper position basically had died out.  Most teams switched to a flat back four in the early 1990s.  However, the position was largely associated with German football.  The player was often the most important player on the team. So it was important to put the "sweeper" in consideration for this team.  Besides, most of the sweepers began as midfielders or even fullbacks.
-- Franz Beckenbauer played his prime with the national team as a midfielder.  I put him here so that I could add an extra midfielder. 
-- Liked Beckenbauer, Matthias Sammer was mainly a defensive midfielder.  He was voted as the Player of the tournament in Euro 1996 and was awarded the Ballon d'Or in the same year.  The sweeper position began to die out during Sammer's prime.  He might be the last great sweeper in the history of the game.
--  Karl-Heinz Schnellinger was the most famous defender not selected onto this team. He won an European Cup with AC Milan, but his international career was right before West Germany became a world power. I already have three leftbacks on the team (Philipp Lahm, Andrea Brehme and Paul Breitner) and he won't get ahead of Mathais Sammer and Franz Beckenbauer on the sweeper position.  Lahm can play as a defensive midfielder and both sides of the fullback position. He is more versatile than Schnellinger. I also planned to use Paul Breitner as a midfielder.  
-- Franz Beckenbauer played as a box-to-box midfielder for most of his international career.  In 1966, he dominated the midfield at the World Cup Finals at the age of 20.  He demonstrated his power and skills by scoring 4 brilliant goals.  By 1970, he was playing a more withdrew position, but not yet the sweeper position where he would become known for.  Finally, he played his first World Cup as a sweeper in 1974, where he was credited for revolutionizing the position.  However, his best performance at a World Cup Finals was not in 1974.  I wrote a blog entry about this over here.  I put Beckenbauer as one of my central defenders because I preferred to select an extra midfielder.
-- I do not need to explain much about Lothar Matthäus' selection.  When he was younger, he was a more defensive player.  He was assigned to shadow Diego Maradona in the 1986 World Cup Final.
-- I did not select a single pure defensive midfielder, but the team had Franz Beckenbauer, Lothar Matthäus, Mathias Sammer and Paul Breitner.  Do I need any more defensive player in the midfield? 
-- I almost took Bernd Schuster, but this team had too many central midfielders. Gunther Netzer, Paul Breitner, Wolfgang Overath, Franz Beckenbauer, Matthias Sammer and even Philipp Lahm could play there.  I also feel the same way about Horst Szymaniak, Guido Buchwald, Fritz Szepan, Michael Ballack and Stefan Effenberg. 
-- This German All-Time Team was one of my earliest blog team.  I was still trying to create a balanced and realistic German team.  So I took Littibarski.  He was not as highly rated as the other mentioned here, but the team did not have enough wingers.  However, in 2020, I updated the team.  I dropped Littibarski and added Toni Kroos who was probably the best player in the 2014 World Cup Finals. He was actually led all players in the Castrol Performance Index for that World Cup Finals.  When I finished the team in 2014, Kroos was still a relatively young player.  So I took Bastian Schweinsteiger.  Kroos' club career was also better than some of the players mentioned.  His partnership with Casemiro and Luka Modric in Madrid was legendary.
Toni Kroos 
-- Bastian Schweinsteiger was taken because I wanted to award more players from the World Cup 2014 team.  I was not sure if he was better than Schuster, Szepan and Szymaniak, but I simply wanted to spread around the team.  Michael Ballack did not win enough trophies in his career.  His team was known to finish second on many occasions.   He helped Germany to a 2nd place in the 2002 World Cup Finals, but the team was decisively weaker than most German teams.
-- Both Bernd Schuster and Stefan Effenberg did not play enough for the national team.  I did use that to count against them, especially the midfield position had fierce competition.
-- Due to an overload of central midfielders, I sought out wide attackers to balance the team. Although Karl-Heinz Rummenigge played on the right, he wasn't  a wing forward. Similarly, Wolfgang Overath played as a left midfielder but wasn't known for his wide play. To address this, I carefully selected Hans Schafer and Helmut Rahn. Rahn, who finished as the Ballon d'Or runner-up in 1958, showcased his talent by winning the Silver Boot in the same year's World Cup Finals. Schafer, Rahn's teammate during that World Cup, was widely regarded as the best left-winger in Europe in his prime. He made a significant impact by scoring in the 1954 World Cup Finals, which marked West Germany's first World Cup victory. He later captained the team in their subsequent two World Cup Finals. Additionally, Pierre Littbarski was part of the original team I created in 2014, while Jurgen Grabowski emerged as a serious candidate for the wide attacking role."
-- Gunther Netzer lost his starting position on the national team during the 1974 World Cup Finals to Wolfgang Overath.  However, he was a great contributor to the 1972 European Championship winning team.  The tournament was marked as the turning point in Germany's football history.  Borussia Mönchengladbach was also a power to reckon with in the 1970's when German club football was at its peak.
-- Fritz Walter was the only player who played before the War.  Being the captain of the 1954 World Cup winning team was not the only reason for his selection. In 2003, he was selected by Germany as its greatest footballer for the UEFA Jubilee Awards.  
-- Karl-Heinz Rummenigge, Gerd Muller and Uwe Seeler should be automatic selections.  Gerd Muller and Uwe Seeler played together for West Germany.  Muller scored a 68 goals in 62 games for Germany at international level.  His record in Bayern Munich was just as impressive.  
-- Karl-Heinz Rummenigge was also honoured twice as European Footballer of the Year.  He also helped West Germany to win the 1980 European Championship while also finishing second twice in the World Cup Finals.
Karl-Heinz Rummenigge
-- Uwe Seeler was one of the few players who played in four World Cup Finals.  His career sandwiched between the 1954 and 1974 World Cup Finals, where West Germany won the World Cup.  He scored over 400 goals in the Bundesliga.
-- I almost rewarded Miroslav Klose with a spot on the team for being the World Cup all-time leading scorer and Germany's all-time leading scorer, but his career outside the World Cup Finals was only fair.  Apart from the 2004-2005 season, Klose did not stand out in his club career.  Jurgen Klinsmann did much better than him. He was an all-time great with both Inter Milan and Tottenham Hotspurs.  Furthermore, I gave him some credit as the captain of the Euro 1996 winning team.  The last spot for forwards went to Jurgen Klinsmann.  He was probably the biggest question mark on this team.
-- Thomas Muller scored plenty of goals at the World Cup Finals, but he failed to break Klose's record in the 2018 World Cup Finals in Russia.  He also was not as highly rated outside the World Cup Finals than the players selected. At this point, he only got an honourable mention.  Lukas Podolski is actually Germany's third leading scorer, but he never enjoyed a great club career.  I actually rated Rudi Völler or Oliver Bierhoff ahead of them.
-- Oliver Bierhoff was late bloomer.  He was playing in the lower division until his mid-20's.  He made his national team debut at the age of 26, but still managed to earn 70 caps.  He was the hero of Euro 1996, which made him a good candidate for this team.  In the end, I stayed with Jurgen Klinsmann and Uwe Seeler.
-- Horst Hrubesch got honourable mention because he was considered one of the greatest header of the ball.  Manfred Kaltz also made honorable mention.  
Euro 1996 winner

Starting up 
Formation I: 3-5-2
This formation is based upon the German team of the 1990's.  Lahm started on the team because I needed an offensive-minded wingback.  Matthaus is the box-to-box midfielder, Netzer the creator in the backfield and Walter the attack midfielder. 

Formation II: 4-3-3 
West Germany used a 4-3-3 formation in the 1970's and 1980's.  Beckenbauer was actually a box-to-box midfielder for two of his WC Finals he played in. Vogts started ahead of Lahm because the formation does not need a wingback. Rahn played the role of Littibarski at the World Cup in 1982.

Formation III: 4-3-3
For the formation, Overath could also start for Netzer.  And then, Matthaus would move to the right.


  1. No sammer on honorable mentions?

  2. Sorry have pût on jour team

  3. Great Work, you nearly listed all German Importamt Players. But I muss the following: Ernst Lehner, Stuhlfauth, Morlock, Helmut Haller, Grabowski, Illgner, Köpke, Thon, Bernd Schneider, Mertesacker, Podolski, Khedira. Candidates vor "Honorable Mention"

  4. A really sensible formation for All time Germany time, however I wonder do Germany really need wingers in their formation?
    I guess Litbarrski can be AM while it is debatable whether rahn can be listed as an exceptional case or honourable mention.
    I would think about a 4-3-1-2 can be use to avoid winger, in order to allow one more ST/CF to be included in the team?

  5. My team for the First eleven is the following: Maier - Lahm, Kohler, Beckenbauer, Brehme - Matthäus, Kroos, Walter - Rahn G. Müller, Rummenigge.

  6. Maier,lham,beckenbauer,kholer,schnellinger,breitner,matthaus,overath,fritz walter,rummenigge,müller.

  7. Maier,vogts,kholer,beckenbauer,schnellinger,breitner,matthaus,netzer,overath,rummenigge,mü of the 3 best in the world with Brasil and Argentina.

  8. 1.Kahn
    11.G Mueller

  9. Kahn, Maier, Neuer
    Beckenbauer, Brehme, Breitner, Forster, Kohler, Lahm, Sammer, Vogts
    Ballack, Hässler, Kroos, Matthaüs, Netzer, Overath, Walter
    Klinsmann, Müller, Rahn, Rummenigge, Seeler

    Honorable Mentions for the likes of Schumacher, Schuster, Völler, T. Müller, Littbarski, Haller, Schweinsteiger, Janes, Özil, Klose, Schulz, Hummels, Heynckes and Kaltz

    Starting XI:
    Neuer; Vogts, Kohler, Beckenbauer, Breitner; Matthaüs, Netzer, Overath; Walter; Rummenigge, Müller
    Seeler and Klinsmann as supersubs

  10. C.t. H.Schon . Honorable mention R.Voeller and Turek

  11. Erwin Helmchen has to be in the honourable mentions at least. 982+ official goals with a ratio of 1.71 goals/game. He even has a better ratio then Fernando Peyroteo while playing more games.

  12. Seeing Michael Ballack off this list invalidates all of the work you do. With due respect, it is at best stupid. For all the going back in and researching you discard what is in front of you. Prior to the 2010 World Cup people called Ballack possibly the 3rd best German ever, now he's not on your list of 23. He is the first mid after Matthaus. Neither Kroos, or even Schweinsteiger, can make it ahead of him.

  13. Mr. Me, take it easy on Lincoln! I don't think you can compare Ballack with Schweinsteiger, very different types of player. So Ballack is competing with Kroos and then the likes of Overath, Walter etc. Honestly, I think Kroos is ahead at this stage. World Cup winner, serial winner with Real. Tight call, but I'd say Lincoln got it right?

  14. team1
    Boateng Kohler Schnellinger
    Kaltz Matthäus Ballack Brehme
    Haller Walter

    Lahm Stielike Förster Briegel
    Netzer Hofmann
    Rahn Schön T.Müller

    the 23rd member would be Neuer, the most inconsistent of the Kicker rated GKs.