Thursday, October 26, 2017

Germany Greatest All-Time Team before 1972

World Cup 1954

Please also see my All-Time World Cup Team Index
Germany All-Time Team
North Rhine-Westphalia, Bavaria
Eastern German regional team
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 Without Bayern Munich Players

The rise of German football was credited with West Germany's victory at the European Championship in 1972.  However, West Germany actually won a World Cup in 1954.  A number of great players emerged during in the eras before 1972.  This is my selection of a 23 member all-time German team before West Germany won the European Championship in 1972.  All players ended their national team career before the European Championship of 1972, where it marked the beginning of German's rise in football. The number 23 was chosen because it is the official squad size for the World Cup Finals.

World Cup Final 1966 against England
GK: Bert Trautmann 
Trautmann was a former POW who decided to remain in England after the war.  He signed for Manchester City in 1949, where he replaced the popular Frank Swift.  He turned from the most hated player in England to a fan favourite.  He was the hero of 1956 FA Cup winning team. In his prime, he was known as one of the best keeper in the world.  He was credited for healing the German-British relations after the War.

GK: Toni Turek
Between 1950 and 1954, Toni Turek played 20 games for the German national team.  He was the starting keeper for West Germany at World Cup Finals in 1954, where the Germans won their first World Cup.  The Final was an upset against Hungary and the match was known as the "Miracle of Bern".  His longest club stint was with Fortuna Düsseldorf.

GK: Hans Tilkowski 
Hans Tilkowski  played mainly for Westfalia Herne and Borussia Dortmund. With Borussia Dortmund, he won the Cup Winners' Cup.  For West Germany, he was a member of the World Cup teams of 1962 and 1966.  In 1966, Tilkowski was the No. 1 goalkeeper of the West German team which lost the World Cup Final against England. He was the German Player of the Year in 1965.

RB: Paul Janes
The DFB listed Paul Janes in the top 20 best German footballers of all time.  He is known as one of the best fullback in the world before the War. He went to two World Cup Finals in 1934 and 1938. He was a member of the Breslau Eleven that beat Denmark 8:0 in Breslau in 1937. Janes played 71 times for Germany. He held Germany's all-time cap record until it was broken in 1970. His longest club stint was with Fortuna Düsseldorf.  He broke his foot after the restart of football after the War and had to retire.
Paul Janes
RB: Hans Nowak 
While playing for FC Bayern Munich, he won the Cup Winners' Cup in 1967. Nowak became notable for being the first attacking Fullback in German football. Between September 1961 and November 1964, Nowak was the standard right back of West Germany, starting in 15 out of 20 international games during that period.

CB: Willi Schulz 
Willi Schulz was one of the best center-backs in the world during the 1960's.  He played 66 times for West Germany. He was the starting sweeper in the 1966 World Cup Finals, where Franz Beckenbauer played in the midfield.  He also went to the World Cup Finals 4 years later in Mexico, but was injured.  He started Schalke 04 in 1960.  From 1965 to 1973, he played for Hamburger SV.

DM/CB: Ludwig Goldbrunner 
Ludwig Goldbrunner went to the World Cup Finals in 1938 for Germany.  He became known in 1937 as one of the "Breslau-Elf" (Breslau Eleven) players, after they thrashed Denmark with an 8:0 score.  He spent his entire career with Bayern Munich, winning the German title in 1932.  He was considered to be one of Bayern's greatest players. 

CB/LB: Karl-Heinz Schnellinger
In his prime, Karl-Heinz Schnellingerwas considered one of the best leftbacks in the world.  He participated in 4 World Cup Finals, unfortunaitely sandwiched between West Germany's two World Cup winning tournaments.  He was remembered one of the first German footballer to star in Italy.  He had a remarkable stint with AC Milan and As Roma.  He won the European Cup in 1969 with AC Milan. He was awarded the (German Footballer of the Year) in 1962. 
Karl-Heinz Schnellinger
CB: Herbert Erhardt
Herbert Erhardt was one of Bayern Munich's greatest defenders.  He earned 50 caps for the West Germany and was a member of the German team which won the 1954 World Cup, but did not play. He also participated in two other World Cups in 1958 and 1962. He served as the German captain 16 times.

CB/LB: Reihold Munzenberg 
Münzenberg spent most of his career with Alemannia Aachen (1927–1951) but also had spells with SV Werder Bremen and LSV Hamburg as a Wartime Guest Player. On the national level he played for Germany (41 matches, no goals), and was a participant at the 1934 and 1938 FIFA World Cups. Münzenberg was a member of the Breslau Eleven that beat Denmark 8–0 in Breslau in 1937 and went on to win 10 out 11 games played during that year. He was considered one of the greatest left backs.

RB/LB:  Erich Juskowiak 
Erich Juskowiak made his national team debut in 1951, but did not go to Swizterland for the World Cup Finals in 1954. He was the starting left back four years later for the West German national team at the 1958 World Cup Finals in Sweden.  He became the first German player to be sent off in a World Cup Finals match over there.

DM: Andreas Kupfer
Andreas Kupfer was one of two FC Schweinfurt 05 players featured in the Breslau Elf that beat Denmark 8:0 in 1937. Kupfer was one of the best half backs in the history of German football and is the only player to have played Germany’s last international game before the end of World War II (played in 1942) and the first one after the war in 1950. 

CM: Helmut Haller
Haller was one of the best midfielders in the world in the 1960's.  In 1966, he helped West Germany to reach the World Cup Final in 1966, forming one of the best midfield of the tournament.  He also went to the 1962 World Cup in Chile and the 1970 World Cup Finals in Mexico.  He started with Augsburg in 1957.  He was also known for his spells in Italy, playing for Bologna and Juventus.

DM/CM: Horst Szymaniak 
Horst Szymaniak was one of West Germany's greatest midfielders.  He played 43 times for the national team. He went to the World Cup Finals in 1958 and 1962, but was omitted by Helmut Schön from his 1966 squad.  He played for SpVgg Erkenschwick, Wuppertaler SV, Karlsruher SC, Calcio Catania, F.C. Internazionale Milano, A.S. Varese 1910, and Tasmania 1900 Berlin. He joined Inter Milan in 1962 at a time when Serie A clubs seldom signed German players.
Horst Szymaniak 
CM: Fritz Szepan
Szepan is one of Germany's greatest midfielder.  He played in both 1934 and 1938 World Cup Finals.  In 1938, Szepan was named captain of the "Unified Germany" team shortly after the Anschluss at the 1936 World Cup Finals. He was also the captain of the 1934 team. He played his entire career with Schalke 04 from 1925 and 1950.  He was voted as the club's greatest ever player.  He formed a famous a partnership with Ernst Kuzorra at the club.

RW: Ernest Lehner  '
He played for the Germany in the 1934 and the 1938 World Cup. He was capped 65 times and scored 31 goals.  He was a member of the Breslau Eleven that beat Denmark 8–0 in Breslau in 1937.  He was considered to have been one of the best outside rights of the 1934 World Cup. Others touted him as "the best non-professional player in Europe" (professionalism was not allowed in Germany in the 1930s). He was one of the players selected to represent Western Europe against Central Europe in 1937.

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. He was capped 40 times.  He was a star of the 1954 World Cup team.  He scored the winning goal in the final vs Hungary. This match is known in Germany as The Miracle of Bern (Das Wunder von Bern). He also went to the World Cup Finals in 1958.
Helmut Rahn

LW:  Hans Schafer  
He 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.

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
FW: Max Morlock 
Morlock started with Eintracht Nürnberg. In 1940 he joined 1. FC Nürnberg, debuting in the first team on 30 November 1941. He appeared more than 900 times in the first team  and scored about 700 goals. In 1948 and 1961 he led the team to German championships. He earned 26 caps and scored 21 goals. He was a member of the West German team that won their first World Cup in 1954. In the final match against Hungary Morlock scored West Germany's first goal to start the comeback. 

ST: Edmund Conen 
Conen played with FV 03 Saarbrücken, Stuttgarter Kickers,[2] Mülhausen 93, HSV Groß Born (Pommern) and a couple of smaller clubs. He played from 1934 to 1942 in 28 international matches for Germany and scored 27 goals. With four goals in the 1934 FIFA World Cup in Italy, Conen was the joint second top scorer with Angelo Schiavio of Italy, behind Oldřich Nejedlý of Czechoslovakia who had five goals.

ST: Ernst Kuzorra  
During his entire career, Ernst Kuzorra played for Schalke 04, whom he led to six national championships and one national cup. He is commonly regarded as the greatest Schalke player of all time alongside Fritz Szepan. A highly athletic, technical and prolific forward, Kuzorra is also commonly regarded as one of the greatest German forwards.  He was capped 12 times between 1927 and 1938.

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.
Uwe Seeler
Honorable Mention
Hans Jakob, Heinrich Stuhlfauth, Friedrich Herkenrath, Horst Eckel, Ottmar Walter, Eugen Kipp, Richard Hofmann, Josef Posipal.

Squad Explanation  

-- Only three players are on my Germany All-Time Team: Helmut Rahn, Hans Schafer and Fritz Walter.
-- The blog team consisted of players whose career with the national team ended before the European Championship of 1972, where it marked the beginning of German's rise in football.  Some players played with Beckenbauer and members of the 1974 World Cup team.
-- On April, 1972, West Germany beat England 3-1 in Wembley during the first leg of the quarter final of the 1972 European Championship. The match often was considered a shift in power between the two countries.  West Germany began to dominate European football while England declined after the match.  The average age of the German team that day was 23 years old.
-- In the Final, West Germany beat the Soviet Union 3-0.  It was the fourth ever European Champion.  Up until 1972, the Soviets dominated the tournament, winning it in 1960 and finishing in 1964.  In 1968, they were stopped at the semifinal because of losing a coin toss to Italy.  After 1972, West Germany won two more European Champions (1980, 1996) while finsihing second in 1976 and 1992.  The balance of power shifted.
-- Bert Trautmann was not considered in other German-related all-time team because he never played for Germany.  However, I made an exception for this team. As a result, Hans Jakob missed out.  I am not familiar with Heinrich Stuhlfauth. 
-- I do not know much about Eugen Kipp.
-- All Austrian players who played for Germany in 1938 because of Anschluss were not considered due to sensitivity of the political situation.
-- East German players were considered, but none were selected.  
-- Saarland played as a national team between 1950 and 1956.  All players were eligible, but none made the team.
-- The greatest achievement for Germany in that period was obviously winning the World Cup in 1954.  The upset win over Hungary is known as "Miracle of Bern".  From that team, I included Fritz Walter, Toni Turek, Herbert Erhardt, Erich Juskowiak, Hans Schafer, Helmut Rahn and Max Morlock.
-- West Germany reached the Final of the 1966 World Cup Finals and the semifinal of the 1970 World Cup Finals.  Some of the players played with Franz Beckenbauer, Gerd Muller, etc on the national team.
-- Karl-Heinz Schnellinger and Uwe Seeler played in four World Cup Finals. Unfortunately, the four World Cup Finals were between  West Germany's two World Cup titles in 1954 and 1970.  They played with members of the Euro 1972 team, but had retired from international football before 1972.  


1 comment:

  1. All Time squad before Fritz Walter: Stuhlfauth - Janes, Münzenberg - Kupfer, Goldbrunner, Kitzinger - Lehner, R. Hofmann, Conen, Szepan, Kobierski. Substitutes: Jakob, Kreß - Haringer, Leinberger - Knöpfle, Kalb, Gramlich - Siffling, Kuzorra, Jäger, Kipp, Urban