Saturday, December 26, 2020

Ajax All-Time team for foreign players

This blogger Artur Yanturin of Russia copied many of my blog teams.  This blog was one of them.  It was my Russia All-Time Team here.  His team was written in 2020, but mine was uploaded in 2014.   His Spartak Moscow All-Time team entry of was published in October 2020, but mine was uploaded in 2017.  His entry of the Dutch-German rivalry between Real Madrid and Barcelona was written in 2020, but mine was uploaded in 2014.  He also copied many many of my blog entries.

His Facebook and Instagram

Finidi George and Kwankwo Kanu

Please also see my All-Time World Cup Team Index

AFC Ajax at the time of writing has won the European Cup/Champions' league 4 times, making them one of the greatest teams in Europe.  The club began its rise in the late 1960's.  It reached the Final in 1969, where it lost to AC Milan.  Two years later, the club finally achieved the ultimate price, winning the cup and they would win the Cup three, straight times. In 1995, they would win the Cup again with mainly, home grown players.  The 1995 team is considered among the best ever team in history. This is my selection of a 25 member all-time team for AFC Ajax.  The number 25 was chosen because it is the official squad size for the Champions' League.  The largest contingent of foreign players over here are Danes, followed by Belgians and Argentine.
Jesper Olsen, Jan Molby, and Soren Lerby
GK: André Onana (Cameroon)
Born in Nkol Ngok, Andre Onana joined Barcelona in 2010, after starting out at the Samuel Eto'o Foundation.  He joined Dutch club Ajax in July 2015. He made his debut for Jong Ajax in the Eerste Divisie in February 2015.  Since 2016, he is the starter for the Dutch Club.  He was the few staqrting Black goalkeeper in a major European country. Since 2018, he played 18 times for Cameroon.  He was named Indomitable Lion of the Year (Cameroonian footballer of the year) in 2018.
André Onana 
GK: Bogdan Lobonț (Romania)
Lobonțe was popularly nicknamed Motanul ("The Tomcat") in Romania, due to his quick reflexes and relative small body frame for a goalkeeper.  He was capped 86 times for Romania between 1998 and 2018.  He went to  UEFA Euro 2000 and Euro 2008. For his club career, he had played for Corvinul Hunedoara, Rapid București, Ajax, Forientina and AS Roma.

GK: Hans Vonk (South Africa)
Hans Vonk was the starting keeper for South Africa at the 1998 World Cup Finals.  He played mainly in the Dutch league, notably with Heerenveen.  He also spent time with Ajax Amsterdam as well as Ajax Cape Town. He was capped for Holland at the youth level before representing South Africa 47 times at the senior level between 1997 and 2005. Vonk was born in South Africa.

RB: Hatem Trabelsi (Tunisia)
Hatem Trabelsi has represented the Tunisia  in three World Cups, gaining a total of 66 cap.  He was a part of the national team's 2004 African Nations' Cup winning team. He spent 6 years with Ajax, where he was regarded as one of the best rightback playing in Europe and probably the most well-known player from his country. He has also played for CS Sfaxien, Manchester City and Al-Hilal Riyadh. 

CB: Velibor Vasovic (Yugoslavia)
Velibor Vasovic was considered one of the greatest sweeper ever played the game.  He was a legend at FK Partizan.  He lost the European Cup to Real Madrid in 1966 as the team captain.  A year later, he joined Ajax and established himself as one of the best defenders in Europe.  In 1971, he captained Ajax as they won their first European Cup.  He played 32 times for Yugoslavia.
Velibor Vasovic 
CB: Toby Alderweireld (Belgium)
Alderweireld began his professional career at Ajax.  In 2013, he moved to Atlético Madrid, where he won La Liga and reached the Champions League final in his first season.  Since 2015, he has been playing with Tottenham Hotspurs.  At the time of writing, he has over 90 caps.  He went to 2014 and 2018 World Cup Finals as well as the Euro 2016.

SW: Horst Blankenburg (Germany)
Blankenburg played with Nürnberg, Wiener Sportclub and TSV 1860 München before he joined Ajax Amsterdam in 1970.  In 5 seasons at Ajax he won the European Cup 3 years in a row, and was known for his partnership with Velibor Vasović. For international football, he was never capped by West Germany largely because playing in the same time as Franz Beckenbauer.  Johan Cruijff asked him to play for Holland in the 1974 World Cup but he refused.

CB/LB: Jan Vertonghen (Belgium)
Jan Vertonghen began his career with Ajax in 2016, where he was Dutch Footballer of the Year in 2012.  In 2012, he moved to Tottenham Hotspurs.  He is considered one of the best defenders in the Premiership. At the time of writing, he had ever 100 caps. He played in both 2014 and 2018 World Cup Finals. He was an important part of the team that reached the semifinal in 2018.
Jan Vertonghen
CB/LB: Christian Chivu  (Romania)
Christian Chivu was most prominently played professionally for Ajax and Inter Milan. His honours at Inter included a treble of league, cup and the UEFA Champions League in 2010. Chivu's first professional clubs were FCM Reșița and FC Universitatea Craiova. He also played for Ajax and Roma before joining Inter Milan.  He earned 75 caps between 1999 and 2010, and was part of Romania's squads for UEFA European Championships in 2000 and 2008. 

LB: Maxwell  (Brazil)
Maxwell started his career at Cruzeiro. In 2001, he joined AFC Ajax. Maxwell played his best season for Ajax in the 2003–04 season, becoming the Dutch Footballer of the Year.  Then, he played for Inter Milan, Barcelona, and PSG.  Between 2013 and 2014, he played 10 times for Brazil, including a single appearance at the 2014 World Cup Finals against the Netherlands.

DM: Lasse Schöne (Denmark) 
Schöne started with Heerenveen in 2005 before moving to De Graafschap after a season in 2006.  He spent 4 seasons with NEC.  Between 2012 and 2020, he played for Ajax, before moving to Genoa in 2020.   Between 2009 and now, he played 50 times for Denmark.  He went to the 2018 World Cup Finals, but he missed the 2010 tournament because of an injury.

CM:  Sunday Oliseh (Nigeria)
Sunday Oliseh was a member of the Golden Generation in the 1990's.  He won the Gold Medal at Atlanta 1996 and appeared in the World Cup Finals in 1994 and 1998.  He scored the winning goal against Spain in 1998. For his club career, he played for many clubs, including stints with Ajax Amsterdam, FC Koln, Juventus, Borussia Dortmund, Bochum, Genk, etc.

CM: Jan Molby (Denmark)
Jan Molby won 33 caps for Denmark from 1982 to 1990, scoring two goals. He was a key member of  the "Dynamite" Denmark which lit up the 1984 European Championship and 1986 World Cup.  His national team career ended after his feud with  Richard Møller Nielsen. He notably spent twelve years playing in England with Liverpool between 1984 and 1996. He also played for Kolding, Ajax and Swansea.

RM/AM/CM: Frank Arnesen (Denmark)
Arnesen moved from his childhood club Fremad Amager, in the lower leagues of Danish football, to Ajax in 1975. He played there until 1981 when he joined Valencia and two years later he went to RSC Anderlecht. In 1985, Arnesen returned to the Netherlands to play for PSV Eindhoven, winning the 1988 European Cup. He was capped 52 times and scored 14 goals for the Danish national team, and participated in the Euro 1984 and 1986 FIFA World Cup tournaments.
Frank Arnesen 
CM: Soren Lerby (Denmark)
Soren Lerby was most prominently played professionally for Dutch clubs Ajax and PSV Eindhoven, winning five Eredivisie championships with Ajax and the 1988 European Cup with PSV.  He also played for Bayern Munich between 1983 and 1986. He also played for AS Monaco. At the international level, he had 67 caps for Denmark. He was a key member of the Danish team known as "Dynamite Denmark", Euro 1984 and the 1986 World Cup team that dazzled the world.

is the joint most capped Nigerian player alongside Kanu Nwankwo with 86 games. He is the first player in Africa to play in five consecutive African Cup of Nations from 1976 to 1984. He was a member of the Nigerian team that won the African Cup of Nations in 1980 and was a legend with the famous Nigerian club (IICC Shooting Stars) in his playing days. - See more at:
is the joint most capped Nigerian player alongside Kanu Nwankwo with 86 games. He is the first player in Africa to play in five consecutive African Cup of Nations from 1976 to 1984. He was a member of the Nigerian team that won the African Cup of Nations in 1980 and was a legend with the famous Nigerian club (IICC Shooting Stars) in his playing days. - See more at:
RW:  Finidi George (Nigeria)
Finidi George was a member of Ajax Amsterdam that won the 1995 Champions' League.  The team was considered one of the greatest club sides in history.  He also played for Real Betis, Mallorca and Ipswich Town.  He was a key member of Nigeria's Golden Generation in the 1990's. He played in two World Cup Finals: 1994 and 1998. He was also a member of the team that won the African Cup of Nations in 1994.  He has 62 caps in total between 1991 and 2002.

RW/AM/SS: Brian Laudrup (Denmark)
Brian Laudrup is Michael's younger brother. He won the Danish Footballer of the Year award a record four times.  At the international level, he played 82 games and scored 21 goals for Denmark, and was a key player of the Danish teams who won the Euro 1992 and 1995 Confederations cup. For club football, he played for Brondy, Bayern Munich, AC Milan, Forientina, Ajax, Chelsea, etc.  He was probably remembered as a member of Glasgow Rangers.
Brian Laudrup
AM/LW: Dušan Tadić (Serbia)
Tadić spent his youth at hometown club AIK Bačka Topola and Vojvodina, eventually playing in the UEFA Europa League with the latter. After two seasons with FC Groningen he joined FC Twente in 2012. He played Southampton between 2014 and 2018.  He joined Ajax.  For Serbia, he had over 70 caps.  He went to the 2018 World Cup Finals.

LW: Jesper Olsen (Denmark)
Olsen started his senior career for Næstved IF in 1977.  He made his debut for the national team in 1980, but it was only in July 1981 that he moved to play professionally for Ajax.  Between 1984 and 1988, he played for Manchester United.  Later, he played for Bordeaux and Caen.  He picked up 43 caps for Denmark.  He was a part of  Danish Dynamite. He represented Denmark at the Euro 1984 and 1986 World Cup tournaments.  

AM: Jari Litmanen (Finland)
Jari Litmanen is probably Finland's greatest player.  He became the first Finnish footballing superstar while playing for Ajax in the mid-1990s, winning the Champions League in 1995, the peak year of his career. The team was regarded one of the greatest club sides in recent history. He also played for Barcelona and Liverpool.  He earned 137 caps for Finland.

AM/FW: Michael Laudrup (Denmark)
Michael Laudrup was the Golden Boy of the "Dynamite" Denmark at the 1986 World Cup Finals in Mexico.  He is regarded as Denmark's greatest offensive players.  He played 104 times for Denmark. In 1999, he was voted the Best Foreign Player in Spanish Football over the preceding 25-year period.  He won five straight La Liga titles 4 with Barcelona and then, one more with Real Madrid. He also played with Brondby, Lazio, Juventus, Kobe Vessels and Ajax.
Michael Laudrup 
FW: Nwankwo Kanu (Nigeria)
Nwankwo Kanu was voted as Nigeria's greatest player.  He captained Nigeria's Gold Medal team at the 1996 Summer Olympics in Atlanta.  He was African Player of the Year in 1996 and 1999.  He was a member of Ajax that won the 1995 Champions' League and considered one of the greatest club sides in history.  Because of a heart condition, his career in Italy was interrupted and joined Arsenal in 1999, where he enjoyed 6 great seasons and won two Premiership.  

ST:  Luis Suarez (Uruguay)
Luis Suarez both the 2013-2014 FWA and the PFA Player of the Year while playing for Liverpool in England.  He was also the European Golden Shoe winner that year. Unfortunately, he was known for biting an opponent at a few occasions.  With Barcelona, he was a part of the MSN line. For Uruguay, he helped them to win the Copa America in 2011 and controversially a 4th place finish at 2010 WC Finals.

ST: Stefan Pettersson (Sweden)
Pettersson started his career with IFK Västerås. He began his Allsvenskan career with IFK Norrköping. With IFK Göteborg he won the UEFA Cup victory in 1987, in which he scored in the final itself against Dundee United. Between 1988 and 1994, he played for AFC Ajax. In 1992, he won the UEFA Cup again, also scoring in the final again, this time a penalty.  He won a total of 31 caps for Sweden, scoring 4 goals and was a member of the 1990 World Cup team.

ST: Zlatan Ibrahimovic (Sweden)
Zlatan Ibrahimovic was born in  Sweden of Bosnian-Croat origin.  He won Sweden Player of the Year 11 times.  He was the Serie A Player of the Year for 5 times.   He played with Malmo, Ajax, Juventus, Inter Milan, Barcelona, AC Milan, Paris St.Germain and now, Manchester United.  He is currently the second-most decorated active footballer in the world, having won 32 trophies in his career. At the time of writing, he has over 116 caps.  He is the all-time leading scorer for Sweden.  
Zlatan Ibrahimovic

Honorable Mention
Hans Vonk (South Africa), Hakim Ziyech (Morocco), Felix Gasselich (Austria). Werner Schaaphok (Germany), Eyong Enoh (Cameroon), Shota Arveladze (Georgia), Thomas Vermaelen (Belgium), CB Julien Escudé (France), Arkadiusz Milik (Poland), Benni McCarthy (South Africa), Gabri (Spain), Wamberto (Brazil), Peter Larsson (Sweden), Nikolaos Machlas (Greece), Mido (Egypt), Nicolás Tagliafico (Argentina), Dani (Portugal), Ray Clarke (England), Werner Schaaphok (Germany), Tomáš Galásek (Czech Republic), Zdeněk Grygera (Czech Republic), Miralem Sulejmani (Serbia), Steven Pienaar (South Africa), Inge Danielsson (Sweden).

Squad Explanation
-- Only two foreigners are on my Ajax All-Time team.  They are Velibor Vasovic (Yugoslavia) and Jari Litmanen (Finland).  I need twenty-three players to replace the Dutch footballers.
-- According to Transfermarkt, 26 Danes have played for Ajax.
Michael Laudrup, Brian Laudrup, Jan Molby, Lasse Schöne, Soren Lerby, Jesper Olsen and Frank Arnesen made this team.  Christian Eriksen and Jesper Grønkjær just missed the cut.
-- Kwankwo Kanu, Finedi George and Jari Litmanen played with the 1995 team, a team considered among the greatest club sides. 
-- André Onana is the only foreign goalkeeper who is a long term starter for Ajax. Hans Vonk and Bogdan Lobonț also played many games, but mainly as backups. 
-- Horst Blankenburg (Germany) and Velibor Vasovic (Yugoslavia) were among the greatest sweepers ever played the game.
-- Then, I have to choose among the three Belgian centerbacks.  Toby Alderweireld, Thomas Vermaelen and Jan Vertonghen played with each other around the same time.  Jan Vertonghen was homegrown.  He was Ajax Player of the Year and Dutch Footballer of the Year in 2012.  The choices were actually between Alderweireld and Vermaelen. 
-- Cristian Chivu was the captain of Ajax.  He usually played as a leftback.  Maxwell won the Dutch Player of the Year and the Golden Boot in 2004.  I only selected a single rightback, Hatem Trabelsi, but Zdeněk Grygera deserved a spot.
-- Werner Schaaphok was born in Germany, but took up a Dutch surname from his stepfather.  He received a Dutch national team call-up, but he could not play because he held a German passport.  I do not know how to classify him.  He is on my honorable mention.
-- Both of the Laudrup brothers spent a season each.  Manager Morten Olsen brought Michael to the team in 1997.   Ajax seldom signed any big named players, and this itself should be a factor for his selection. Michael Laudrup played 21 games scoring 11 goals for Ajax (1997-98). He was fondly remembered for his time here. He earned his spot by being "Michael Laudrup" and playing well.
-- Brian Laudrup's goal against Williem II is still considered one of the greatest goals in the club's history.  However, I already have Finidi George (Nigeria) and Frank Arnesen (right midfielder).  George was an important member of the 1995 team whil Arnesen was probably one of the greatest foreign ever to wear the Ajax shirt.  With only a single and trophyless season here, Brian Laudrup was a borderline case. In the end, I gave him the last spot (see the last paragraph).
-- The midfielders selected were Sunday Oliseh, Loren Lerby, Jan Mølby and Lasse Schone.  Arnesen probably belonged to the midfield as well.  He was a right midfielder in a 4-3-3 formation. 
--Jan Mølby was for starring for Liverpool and Denmark, but he left Ajax as a 21 years old.  He was still developing as a player.  Lasse Schone played more games than any foreigner in Ajax's history.  Tomáš Galásek does not have name recognition as the other midfielders. He only made honorable mention.
-- Right winger Tijani Babangida (Nigeria) was highly rated, but I have Finidi George and Frank Arnesen.  He also lacked the international reputation as his compatriot Finidi George.  
-- Jesper Olsen earned the nickname De Vlo (The Flea) in Ajax.  His transfer to Manchester United was a big news at the time. He was compared to George Best by the English media.  Logically, I would have taken Jesper Grønkjær for the backup left winger.  He was Ajax Player of the Year.  Instead, I took Dušan Tadić (Serbia) over him.  Tadić was a natural playmaker, a position that I already have Michael Laudrup and Jari Litmanen.  However, Ajax often used him on the left side.  He made the Ballon d'Or shortlist for the 2018-2019 as well as finishing as the joint top-scorer in the league. Miralem Sulejmani did not live up his price tag, the Dutch record at the time.  I also considered Steven Pienaar for the left wing.
-- Since I already have too many attack midfielders, I have no space for Christian Eriksen.  He was home grown and probably contributed more to Ajax than both Laudrups, but it is difficult to select him over the Laudrups.  I also took Dušan Tadić (Serbia) over him because Tadic played on the left side.  Eriksen had also played on the right as well as on the left flank, but Tadic played on the side regularly. 
-- Henning Jensen played with Frank Arnesen and Søren Lerby, but his time here was at the end of his career.  
-- Hakim Ziyech (Morocco) was born in the Netherlands.  He opted to play for Morocco.  At this stage, he is too young to be considered.  Furthermore, his position is taken by some of Ajax's all-timers.
-- Eddy Hamel was the club's first Jewish player.  Although he was born in NYC, I considered him as a Dutch player. 
 -- Three attackers stood out from the rest.  Luis Suarez won the Dutch Player of the Year in 2010.  He scored over 80 goals for the club. Stefan Pettersson scored 99 goals for the club. Zlatan Ibrahimovic's individual goal against NAC Breda on 22 August 2004 is considered one of Ajax's greatest goals.  He also has an international reputation unmatched by any other player unconsidered.
-- Christian Eriksen, Jesper Grønkjær, Kwankwo Kanu and Brian Laudrup fought over the last two remaining spots.  Kanu was from the 1995 team. I cannot exclude him from this team, can't I?  He played three seasons here, but he was seldom used young player in his first season.  So he had just one more good season than Brian Laudrup.  Jesper Grønkjær did not have the same international recognition as Brian Laudrup and it was also hard to select another Dane over Brian Laudrup.  The same applied to Christian Eriksen. In the end, I took Kanu and Brian Laudrup.
-- Inge Danielsson (Sweden) helped Ajax to reach the 1969 European Cup Final playing next to Johan Cruyff. Arkadiusz Milik (Poland), Benni McCarthy (South Africa), Wamberto (Brazil), Nikolaos Machlas (Greece), Mido (Egypt) and Shota Arveladze (Georgia) all deserved a mention. 

I cannot field two sweepers.  So I dropped Horst Blankenburg for Velibor Vasovic.  In Ajax, Jari Litmanen was a bigger star than Michael Laudrup so he got to be the playmaker.  Laudrup could play anywhere in attack.  He switched to the right, a position that his brother played before. Luis Suarez on the wing might not be his ideal position, but he was used as a wing forward while in Liverpool.

Jesper Olsen and Finidi George on the wings might be a more realistic formation.  Luis Suarez scored more goals than Zlatan Ibrahimovic here.  So he becomes my starter.

Monday, December 14, 2020

Napoli Argentine Best XI

This blogger Artur Yanturin of Russia copied many of my blog teams.  This blog was one of them.  It was my Russia All-Time Team here.  His team was written in 2020, but mine was uploaded in 2014.   His Spartak Moscow All-Time team entry of was published in October 2020, but mine was uploaded in 2017.  His entry of the Dutch-German rivalry between Real Madrid and Barcelona was written in 2020, but mine was uploaded in 2014.  He also copied many many of my blog entries.

His Facebook and Instagram

Diego Maradona and Daniel Bertoni

Please also see my All-Time World Cup Team Index.

The city of Naples was often known as the armpit of Italy.  It was a city faced with poverty.  Raised in the slums of Buenos Aires, Diego Maradona immediately identified himself with the city upon his arrival in 1984.  “I want to become the idol of the poor children of Naples because they are like I was when I lived in Buenos Aires,” he said upon his arrival.  From 1984 to 1991, he gave Napoli to its only two Serie A titles — in 1987 and 1990 — and an UEFA Cup in 1989.  He raised the spirits of city, which often looked down upon by the richer cities of the North.  In turn, the Neapolitans loved him back.  To the people of Naples, Diego Maradona was not just a footballer who brought glories and trophies to their city's team. He was more than that.  Napoli renamed their stadium after Diego Maradona shortly after his death in late, 2020.  

Because of Maradona, the city is forever tied with Argentine football.  I do believe that it would be an honor for any Argentina to play for this club.  According to Transmarkt, 29 Argentine players have played for Napoli. This is my selection of my Best XI for Argentine players who played for Napoli.  
The Spanish Quarter in Naples
GK: Mariano Andújar 
In 2009, Mariano Andújar was the first team goalkeeper in Estudiantes' Copa Libertadores winning team. Andújar did not concede a single goal in any of the eight games in La Plata and he set a new tournament record of 800 minutes without conceding a goal, beating Hugo Gatti's 767 minutes. After 2009, he joined Catania in Italy and then, Napoli.  He was capped 11 times for Argentina.  He went to the World Cup Finals in 2010 as a backup keeper.
Mariano Andújar 
CB/RB: Hugo Campagnaro
Hugo Campagnaro played in the Argentine second and third division with Club Deportivo Morón before he joined Piacenza in Serie A in 2002 where he spent 5 seasons.  He then spent two seasons with Sampdoria, four seasons with Napoli and two more with Inter Milan. He ended his career with Pescara.  He earned 17 caps and two of which came during the 2014 World Cup Finals.
Hugo Campagnaro 
CB: Federico Fernández
Federico Fernández began his career at Estudiantes de La Plata, where he reached the final of the Copa Sudamericana and won the Copa Libertadores, before moving to Napoli in 2011.  He spent most of his in Napoli on loan to Getafe and Swansea.  In 2018, he joined Newcastle United.  For Argentina, he payed 32 times between 2011 and 2014.  He was a member of the 2014 World Cup team.
Federico Fernández
CB: Roberto Ayala
Roberto Ayala captained Argentina for 63 times, a record.  He is also the second cap record holder for Argentina.  He played in three FIFA World Cups and made a total of 115 international appearances. He was best remembered for winning the UEFA Cup with Valencia. He also played with River Plate, Napoli, Racing Zaragoza, Milan, etc.  He inherited the nickname El Ratón from the Argentine 1974 World Cup player Rubén Ayala, although they are not related.
Roberto Ayala
LB: Mauricio Pineda 
Pineda began his career at Huracán in 1993 . He then had a brief but good stint at Boca Juniors before starting his career in Europe . He played for Udines, RCD Mallorca, Napoli and Cagliari. In 2003, the returned to Argentina. He played for Lanús and Colón, but only briefly.  Hehad 12 caps.  He scored his only goal at the 1998 World Cup against Croatia.
Mauricio Pineda 
Volante played with Club Atlético Lanús, Club Atlético General San Martín, Platense, San Lorenzo, Vélez Sársfield and Excursionistas in Argentina.  From 1941 to 1934, he played with Napoli, Livorno and Torino in Italy. In France,  he played Rennes, Olympique Lillois and CA Paris. During 1938 World Cup, held in France, he was hired by Brazil as a which he joins as a masseur so that he could escape the war in Europe.  In Brazil, he then he played over 100 games with Flamengo. The defensive midfielder position in Brazil is named "volante" after him.
Carlos Volante
RW: Daniel Bertoni 
Daniel Bertoni started playing in Argentine's second division for Quilmes in 1972. After one year he was transferred to first division's team Independiente where he played alongside Ricardo Bochini and won one national and 3 Copa Libertadores. In Europe, Betoni also played for Sevilla, Fiorentina and Napoli. At the international level, he was capped 31 times.  He scored one of the goals at the Final in the 1978 World Cup Finals against Netherlands.
Daniel Bertoni 
LW: Bruno Pesaola 
Born in Argentina, Bruno Pesaola began his career in the academy of River Plate playing with Alfredo Di Stefano. In Argentina, he played for Sportivo Dock Sud.  He went to play for AS Roma in 1947.  He joined Napoli in 1952 and spent 8 seasons there, forming a partnership with Amedeo Amadei and Hasse Jeppson. He was capped once by Italy in 1957.  He was nicknamed Petisso (little man).
Bruno Pesaola
AM: Diego Maradona 
Diego Maradona was considered the second best player in history after Pele.  He won the World Cup in 1986, scoring the best goal in the history of the World Cup when he scored against England.  He also played in the WC Finals in 1982, 1990 and 1994.  For club football, he was best remembered for leading Napoli to break the dominance of the Northern Italian clubs in the Serie A.  Napoli won two league titles and a UEFA Cup.  He was also considered to be Boca Juniors' greatest player.
Diego Maradona
SS/FW:  Omar Sivori 
Omar Sivori is remembered one of the greatest ever player from Argentina. He won the Ballon d'Or in 1961. After Argentina won the Copa America in 1957, he joined Juventus where he enjoyed 8 successful years.  He was credited with the resurgence of the club.  With John Charles and Giampiero Boniperti, he formed "the Magical Trio" with the club.  In Argentina, he played for River Plate.  After Juventus, he joined Napoli. He also represented Italy 9 times in the early 1960's.
Omar Sivori
ST: Gonzalo Higuain 
Higuain first starred for River Plate in Argentina.  He joined Real Madrid in 2006.  He would stay with the club until 2013.  Higuain later played with Napoli and Juventus.  In the 2015–16 season, he scored 36 league goals, winning the Capocannoniere title and equalling Gino Rossetti's 87-year-old record for goals in an Italian top-flight season. For the national team, he earned 52 caps.  He was brought into the national team after Argentina struggled to qualify for South Africa 2010.
Gonzalo Higuain 
Honorable Mention
Guillermo Stábile,  Ramon Diaz, Jose Sosa, Jesus Datolo, Roberto Sosa and Ezequiel Lavezzi, Facundo Hernán Quiroga, Humberto Rosa, Nicolás Navarro, Claudio Husaín, Antonio Ferrara, Nicolás Ferrara, Germán Denis, Juan Carlos Tacchi.  

Squad Explanation
-- According to Transmarkt, 29 Argentine players have played for Napoli at the time of writing, but I do not know if the number is accurate.
-- Napoli made an official an all-time Best XI of Argentine players in 2020, but I did not use it as a resource.  It would take away the fun in my research. I prefer to work on my own, but I studied it after I finished my own Best XI.  Their  team were Mariano Andujar, Hugo Campagnaro, Federico Fernandez, Roberto Ayala, Mauricio Pineda, Daniel Bertoni, Jose Sosa, Jesus Datolo, Diego Maradona, Roberto Sosa and Ezequiel Lavezzi.  We have four different players.  Jose Sosa, Jesus Datolo, Roberto Sosa and Ezequiel Lavezzi did not make my team.  Instead, I took Omar Sivori, Gonzalo Higuain, Carlos Volante and Daniel Bertoni.
-- Diego Maradona, Bruno Pesaola, Omar Sivori and Gonzalo Higuaín are on my All-Time Napoli team.
-- Goalkeeper Nicolás Navarro might have played longer here than, but Mariano Andújar led Napoli to the Europa League semi-finals.  
-- Mauricio Pineda was only on loan here, but I do not have any choice for his position. I also have no rightback so I started centerback Hugo Campagnaro who could play as a rightback.
-- Roberto Ayala's first stop in Europe was with Napoli.  He was the first Argentine player for the club in the post-Maradona era.  He later gained the captain's armband with the club and earned his first senior cap while playing for them.
-- Centerback Facundo Hernán Quiroga was only on loan here.  Instead, I took Federico Fernández.  He also had an uneventful career here.
-- Carlos Volante's career here actually did not pan out.  He only spent a single season here. Nevertheless, I need a defensive midfielder.  The other Argentinian midfielders all have question marks about them over here.  Jose Sosa and Jesús Dátolo were on Napoli's official Argentine Best XI instead of Volante. Jose Sosa only played round 24 games with Napoli. Jesús Dátolo also played a handful of games.  He was sent on loan at the end of his stay.  At least, Volante was a much more famous player. In Brazil, the defensive midfielder position is called "volante" because of him.  His playing style influenced how the game was played in Brazil.   
-- Claudio Husaín did not do much with Napoli. He was sent away on loan to River Plate in January, 2002.  He played well enough with River Plate to earn a place on the 2002 World Cup team. 
-- Daniel Bertoni played with Maradona during Maradona's first season.  In Maradona's first season, he was Maradona's only teammate good enough for the club.  In his last season, Napoli finished 3rd, which was then a good result for the club, but the club won the league the following season.  He  played well in his last season, but not well enough to earn a place with the 1986 World Cup team.  
-- Gonzalo Higuain broke the Serie A single season scoring record in the 2015-2016.  He deserved a place on the team based upon that record.  He edged out his countryman Lavezzi who was on Napoli's official Argentinian Best XI.  Higuain's omission from Napoli's official Argentine Best XI was reportedly due to his transfer to archrival Juventus.
-- Ezequiel Lavezzi was also left off because of his position.  He plays on the left where Sivori and Bruno Pesaola also played.  Maradona was also left footed.  Juan Carlos Tacchi also played on the left. 
-- Bruno Pesaola was capped by Italy, but never played for Argentina. Technically speaking, he was cap-tied to Italy.  But he was an Argentine through and through.
-- Ramon Diaz helped Argentina to win the 1979 World Under 20 Cup.  He won the tournament's golden boot, while Maradona was voted the competition's best player.  He played in the 1982 World Cup, but it was rumored that he had a feud with Maradona, which prevented him from playing for Argentina in the 1986 and 1990 World Cups. He played here before Maradona's arrival.  The club gave him up after a single season.  He scored 8 goals and the club finished in 10th.  He only made honorable mention.
-- Guillermo Stábile was one of the club's first high-profile signing, but he played poorly here.  In Naples, he played with Attila Sallustro of Paraguay.  He moved back to Genoa after a single season.  
-- Omar Sivori spent four seasons in Napoli, in which he had two good seasons.  He was a star of a team that challenged the Northern clubs for the title, which was very rare in Italy for a club in the South.  He only played 7 games in his last season, in which Napoli finished second.  Sivori clashed with many people of the club before his departure.  He received a red card on his last ever match with the club, coincidently against his former team Juventus.  He left for Argentina after getting a lengthy suspension from that card.
-- Roberto Sosa played in the lower division while with the club.  He was on Napoli's officail Argentinian Best XI. Instead, I took Higuian and Sivori for the reasons listed above.
-- José Luis Calderón alo failed here.  He only played a handful of games.
-- Evaristo Barrera played well, but too many great players ahead of him.  

This is not the most realistic formation.  I may be asking too much of Diego Maradona.  On the other hand, I give him the ability to roam free all over the field.  He needs to drop back and advance forward.   He is almost liked a box-to-box midfielder in a 4-2-2 formation. Volante protects his back while two wingers provided the widlth.

Friday, December 4, 2020

Western Germany Regional All-Time team

This blogger Artur Yanturin of Russia copied many of my blog teams.  This blog was one of them.  It was my Russia All-Time Team here.  His team was written in 2020, but mine was uploaded in 2014.   His Spartak Moscow All-Time team entry of was published in October 2020, but mine was uploaded in 2017.  His entry of the Dutch-German rivalry between Real Madrid and Barcelona was written in 2020, but mine was uploaded in 2014.  He also copied many many of my blog entries.

His Facebook and Instagram

Fritz Walter and Horst Eckel
Please also see my All-Time World Cup Team Index.

This is my selection of a 23 member all-time team for the German states in the Western parts of Germany (Westdeutschland). This team is not about West Germany (Federal Republic of Germany).   It is about the German states located in Western parts of the country.  For this team, I am only including Hesse, Saarland and Rhineland-Palatinate.  North Rhine-Westphalia is normally considered as a part of the area, but I created a separated blog team for   The Saarland and Rhineland-Palatinate are sometimes considered to be in Southern Germany, but I am not doing a Southern German team because I have created all-time separated teams for both Bavaria and Baden-Württemberg.  In a way, I basically grouped together a team of players from the three western German states with proximity to each other.

The Saarland national football team existed between 1950 and 1956 while the region was under French occupation.  They played for the World Cup Qualifiers in 1954, where they finished behind West Germany in their group.  West Germany (FRG) went on to win the World Cup in 1954.  The team included 6 players from (Rhineland-Palatinate) and a single played from Hesse. Fritz Walter (Rhineland-Palatinate) was their captain.  

Eintracht Frankfurt (Hesse), Kaiserslautern (Rhineland-Palatinate), FC Saarbrücken (Saarland) and Mainz 05 (Rhineland-Palatinate) are some of the bigger clubs located in the area.  FC Saarbrücken played a few seasons in the French league.  They won the Ligue 2 in the 1948-1949 season, but the other French clubs refused to allow them to play in Ligue 1.  They left the French league the season after.  They also represented Saarland in the newborn European Champion Clubs' Cup in 1955.
Bodo Illigner and Jürgen Kohler 
GK: Bodo Illgner (Rhineland-Palatinate)
Bodo Illgner played for Köln between 1986 and 1996.  He joined  Real Madrid in 1996, winning the Champions league in 1998. His starting position was succeeded by Iker Casillas. He was capped 54 times between 1987 and 1994.  He helped West Germany to the 1990 World Cup, where he became the first goalkeeper to keep a clean sheet in a World Cup final. He also played in 1994 World Cups Finals and two other European Championship.

GK: Eike Immel (Hesse)
Impel started with Borussia Dortmund.  He made a two million Deutsche Mark transfer to VfB Stuttgart in 1986, the biggest fee ever paid for a goalkeeper in the history German football at that time. He played 9 years as Stuttgart's regular goalkeeper, winning the Bundesliga title in 1992 and the UEFA Cup runner-up medal in 1989 with them. Afterwards he left for Manchester City, where he retired at the end of the 1995–96 season. Capped 19 times, largely because he retired from the West German team at the age of 28.

GK: Willibald Kreß (Hesse)
Kreß played club football with Rot-Weiß Frankfurt between 1929 and 1932.  In 1932, he was signed by FC Mulhouse but couldn't play a league match because of a DFB suspension.  Then, he played for Dresdner between 1933 and 1934 and FSV Frankfurt between 1947 and 1949.  He was considered a top European goalkeeper of his time.  He had 16 caps for Germany.  He played in the 1934 World Cup Finals, but was blamed for the loss against Czechoslovakia in the semifinal.

RB: Manfred Kaltz (Rhineland-Palatinate)
Manfred Kaltz was one of the finest crosser of the ball in the history of the game. He was famous with his partnership with striker Horst Hrubesch at Hamburger SV.  They won the European Cup in 1984. For West Germany, he was capped 69 times.  He was a key player for West Germany (sometimes as their captain) in the 1980's and was considered one of Germany's greatest fullbacks. He won the European Championship in 1980.
Manfred Kaltz 
RB/CB: Thomas Berthold (Hesse)
Thomas Berthold began his career in 1982 with Eintracht Frankfurt. In Italy, he played for Hellas Verona  for two seasons, and another two for A.S. Roma.  He later played for FC Bayern Munich, VfB Stuttgart and Turkey's Adanaspor.  With 62 caps, he went to the 1986, 1990 and 1994 World Cup  Finals, winning the 1990 edition.  He also played in the 1988 European Championship.

CB: Wilhelm Sold (Saarland) 
Sold began his career with FC Saarbrücken in 1930.  Later, he platyed  FC Nürnberg and Tennis Borussia Berlin.  After the war, he played with FV Saarbrücken when it was playing in the French league.  The club earned a promotion that year, but was disallowed.  He earned 12 caps for the national team between 1935 and 1942.  He represented Germany at the 1936 Olympics held at home.
CB: Werner Liebrich (Rhineland-Palatinate)
Werner Liebrich played 16 times for West Germany.  He played in West Germany's triumph in the 1954 FIFA World Cup.  He was remembered for injuring Ferenc Puskas in the match at the Group Stage between Hungary and West Germany. Puskas returned to play in the Final, but was ineffective. For his club career, he spent his entire playing career of almost twenty years with hometown club Kaiserslautern between 1946 and 1962.
Werner Liebrich
CB: Jurgen Kohler ( Rhineland-Palatinate)
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.  He was Footballer of the Year in Germany in 1997.

SW: Manfred Binz (Hesse)
From 1985 to 1996, Manfred Binz played over 330 games for Eintracht Frankfurt in the Bundesliga.  In 1996, he moved to Italy and played for Brescia in Serie B, helping the club to grain promotion.  From 1998 to 1999, he played for Borussia Dortmund.  With the German national team, he earned 14 caps.  He was a member of the 1992 European Championship team that finished second behind Denmark..

LB/CB/DM: Hans Peter Briegel (Rhineland-Palatinate)
Hans Peter Briegel's original sport was Decathlon.  From 1975 to 1984, he played with FC Kaiserslautern before he moved on to HellasVerona in Italy.  With them, he captured the Serie A title in 1985, a surprising result at the time. The same year Briegel was named German Footballer of the Year, being the first foreign-based winner.  He later played with Sampdoria. With West Germany, he had 72 caps.  He won the European Championship in 1980.  He played in the World Cup Finals of both 1982 and 1986.
Hans-Peter Briegel
DM/RM: Horst Eckel (Rhineland-Palatinate)
In the 1954 FIFA World Cup qualifying, Eckel became the first substitute in the history of football. He was part of the West German team that won the 1954 FIFA World Cup. He also participated in the 1958 FIFA World Cup.  During his club career he played for 1. FC Kaiserslautern and SV Röchling Völklingen. Because of his rapid way of playing, he got the nickname Windhund (sighthound).

DM/SW: Bernhard Cullmann (Rhineland-Palatinate)
Bernhard Cullmann began his footballing career in 1969 with SpVgg Porz, until he was signed by 1. FC Köln in 1970. He played 341 matches in the Bundesliga for them before his retirement in 1984. He played 40 matches for the German team between 1973 and 1980, scoring six goals.[4] He participated at the 1974 FIFA World Cup, the 1978 FIFA World Cup, and the victorious UEFA Euro 1980.
Bernhard Cullmann
CM: Uwe Bein  (Hesse)
Uwe Bein's career began in 1978 with Kickers Offenbach, before he moved to 1. FC Köln, Hamburger SV and Eintracht Frankfurt. He also helped Köln to the 1986 UEFA Cup Final. In 1994, he moved to Japan's Urawa Red Diamonds in 1996. In 1997, he made appearances for VfB Gießen.  From 1989 to 1993, he played 17 times for Germany.  He played 4 games at the 1990 World Cup Finals as Germany won the World Cup.

CM/RM: Rudolf Gramlich (Hesse)
Gramlich played his entire career with Eintracht Frankfrut, but his career was interrupted by the Second World War.  Gramlich made 22 international appearances for Germany between 1931 and 1936, achieving third place at the 1934 World Cup in Italy. He was the captain of the German team at the 1936 Olympic Games in Berlin.

RW/LW/FW: Bernd Hölzenbein (Hesse)
Holz debuted for Eintracht Frankfurt in 1967.  Hölzenbein won the UEFA Cup with Frankfurt in 1980. He is their all-time leading scoring.  Later, he became a teammate of Gerd Müller at Fort Lauderdale Strikers in the United States.  He earned 40 caps for West Germany.  He was a member of the 1974 World Cup winning team.  He also went to the 1978 World Cup and 1976 European Championship.

RW/AM: Jurgen Grabowski (Hesse)
Jurgen Grabowski played his entire career with Eintracht Frankfrut. He was considered one of the club's greatest players.  With this team he won the German Cup in 1974 and 1975 and the UEFA Cup in 1980.  He was capped 44 times.  He had 44 caps between 1966 and 1974.  For West Germany, he went to three World Cup Finals: 1966, 1970 and 1974.  He won the European Championship in 1972 and then, the World Cup two years later in 1974. 
Jurgen Grabowski 
AM/SS: Alfred Pfaff (Hesse)
Pfaff club was Eintracht Frankfurt with whom he won the 1959 German Championship, and in 1960 reached the finals of Champion's Cup against Real Madrid. Pfaff was capped seven times between 1953 and 1956 for West Germany.  He was a aprt of the team that won the 1954 World Cup.  He scored a goal against Hungary in the preliminary round.

AM/FW: Fritz Walter (Rhineland-Palatinate) 
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.

LW/FW: André Schürrle (Rhineland-Palatinate) 
André Schürrle began his career at Mainz 05 in 2009. He played  Bayer 04 Leverkusen before joining Chelsea in 2013. Then, he played for VfL Wolfsburg and Borussia Dortmund. Schürrle earned 57 caps or Germany from 2010 to 2017. He was a member of the German squads which reached the semi-finals at UEFA Euro 2012 and won the 2014 World Cup. During extra-time in the 2014  World Cup Final he provided the assist for Mario Götze's winning goal against Argentina. 
André Schürrle 

ST: Stefan Kuntz (Saarland)
Kuntz played for VfL Bochum, Bayer 05 Uerdingen, 1. FC Kaiserslautern and Arminia Bielefeld. Kuntz also played in Turkey for Beşiktaş J.K. In 1986 and 1994 Kuntz was the top scorer in the Bundesliga.  He was part of the winning German team of UEFA Euro 1996. Kuntz played a key role in the 1–1 draw with England in the semi-final, scoring the equalizer soon after England took the lead. He lost a game in German uniforms.

ST: Edmund Conen (Rhineland-Palatinate) 
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: Ottmar Walter (Rhineland-Palatinate) 
Ottmar Walter played together with his brother, Fritz Walter, at the club 1. FC Kaiserslautern. They also played together for the Germany national football team in the 1954 FIFA World Cup. Walter scored four goals in the tournament as West Germany won their first ever World Cup title. In total, Walter earned 20 caps and scored 10 goals for Germany. For his club 1. FC Kaiserslautern he scored unequaled 336 goals in 321 league and cup matches.

ST: Rudi Völler  (Hesse)
Völler started his career with TSV 1860 Hanau, before joining Werder Bremen in 1982. After becoming Bundesliga's top scorer, he was transferred to A.S. Roma.  In 1992, Völler moved to Olympique Marseille, where he won the Champions League in 1993. He joined Bayer Leverkusen in 1994.  He was capped 90 times.  He was a key player as West Germany won the World Cup in 1990. He was known for his partnership with Jurgen Klinsmann.
Rudi Völler  

Honorable Mention
Bernd Franke, Rudi Kargus, Roman Weidenfeller, Kevin Trapp, Lothar Huber, Jimmy Hartwig, Ralf Falkenmayer, Herbert Zimmermann, Werner Kohlmeyer, Karl-Heinz Metzner, Dieter Muller, Mario Basler, Wolfgang Seel, Josef Pirrung, Karl-Heinz Thielen, Sebastian Kehl, Lothar Huber, Friedel Lutz, Jonas Hector, Gere Zewe, Hermann Nuber, Erik Durm, Shkodran Mustafi, Kurt Clemens, Heinz Vollmar, Engelbert Kraus, Erik Durm, Günther Herrmann.

Squad Explanation
-- Fritz Walter and Jurgen Kohler are on my Germany All-Time team.  The two of them along with Rudi Voller, Jurgen Kohler, Hans-Peter Briegel and Manfred Kaltz are the automatic selections.  No explanation is needed. Bodo Illgner and Edmund Conen are not far behind.
-- In terms of population, Hesse and Rhineland-Palatinate ranked 5th and 6th respectively among the German states. The Saarland is second from the bottom.  I have 11 players born in Rhineland-Palatinate and 10 from Hesse.  The remaining two came from the Saarland. 
-- The 1954 World Cup winning team included 7 players eligible for this team. Six of them came from Rhineland-Palatinate and one from Hesse. Fritz Walter, Ottmar Walter, Horst Eckel, Alfred Pfaff and Werner Liebrich made this all-time team. Werner Kohlmeyer and Karl-Heinz Metzner were the other members on the 1954 team.
-- Bernhard Cullman, Bernd Hölzenbein and Jürgen Grabowski were on the 1974 World Cup team.
-- From the 1990 World Cup team, I selected Bodo Illgner, Rudi Voller, Thomas Berthold and Uwe Bein.
--  From the 2014 World Cup team, I selected André Schürrle. Erik Durm, Shkodran Mustafi and Roman Weidenfeller were the other members from this region.
-- Manfield Kaltz, Bernhard Cullman, Eike Immel and Hans-Peter Briegel were on the 1980 European Championship winning team.
-- The Saarland national football team existed between 1950 and 1956 while the state was under French occupation.  Helmut Schön was the manager of the team from 1952 to 1956 before he took over West Germany.  He was born in Saxony, not in this area. FC Saarbrücken also played in the French league.  They won the Ligue 2 in the 1948-1949 season.  None of the players selected ever played for Saarland.  Heinz Vollmar and Kurt Clemens made honorable mention.
-- I have a hard time deciding between Willibald Kreß (Hesse) and Bernd Franke (Saarland) for the third goalkeepers.  Rudi Kargus (Rhineland-Palatinate) and Roman Weidenfeller were also goalkeepers of note.
-- Manfred Kaltz does not need introduction.  Lothar Huber and Friedel Lutz were mainly a club legend.  So I took Thomas Berthold as the other rightback. He had a stronger international reputation playing for West Germany and AS Roma in the Serie A.   
-- Hans-Peter Briegel is a lock on the leftback.  Ralf Falkenmayer, Herbert Zimmermann and Werner Kohlmeyer all could also play there.  Jonas Hector was also considered.  In the end, I decided to go with a single leftback.  I gave the spot to Wilhelm Sold, who was a pre-War great whom I have limited knowledge.
-- Some people rated Gerd Zewe (Saarland) over Manfred Binz, but I went with Binz because he had more German caps
-- Bernhard Cullmann was a connection between two generations. He won the 1974 World Cup Finals and then, European Championship in 1980.  The two tournaments were only 6 years apart, but he was the only player who were on both team. 
-- DM Horst Eckel (Rhineland-Palatinate) was defensive archman or the unsung hero of the 1954 World Cup winning team.
-- Rudolf Gramlich was the captain of the 1936 Olympic team in Berlin.
-- DM: Jimmy Hartwig (Hesse) broke the racial barrier for being one of the first Black player to play for West Germany.  I only put him on honorable mention.
-- I toyed with the idea of selecting Kurt Clemens who played for Saarland and West Germany.  Uwe Bein, Horst Eckel and Bernhard Cullman are ahead of him.
-- Alfred Pfaff was the center of attack  for Frankfurt at the 1960 European Cup Final against Real Madrid.  Alongside with Jürgen Grabowski,  he is often identified as one of Frankfurt's greatest player.  
-- The right side also had plenty of good players.  Grabowski and Hölzenbein kept them off the team.  Mario Basler had the potential to be the greatest German of his generation, but his career was unfulfilled.  Wolfgang Seel,  Josef Pirrung and Karl-Heinz Thielen also were well-known in their time.
-- The left wing is weaker than the right side. Bernd Hölzenbein was left-footed who normally played on the right.  He could play both sides of the wing as well as a forward.  In the 1974 World Cup Finals, he was used successfully as a left winger.  Then, I took another left-side player André Schürrle as his backup.  Both Hölzenbein and Schürrle played a role in winning the World Cup respectively for Germany.  They assisted the winning goal with a cross from the left wing in 1974 and 2014 Final respectively.  Grabowski could also play on the left, but his role on this team would be on the right wing.
-- In his peak, André Schürrle was a top German player of his generation.  He suffered several injury-riddled seasons after 2016. retired early at the age of 29 in 2020 due to pressure of the game.
-- Dieter Muller (Hesse) was the hero at the 1976  European Championship, which was the first major tournament where West Germany played since the retirement of Gerd Muller.  He was the top scorer of the tournament with 4 goals. His namesake and his performance were newsworthy back then. For the national team, he only earned 12 caps.  Stefan Kuntz earned 25 caps, but the cap count is usually higher for modern players since the national teams play more games.  I took Kuntz because I have few players from the Saarland.  I believe in spreading the team around.  Besides, Kunitz can also play in more positions while Muller was a center forward who was strong in the air.
-- Edmund Conen is widely considered to be one of Germany's greatest attackers before the War.  Then, I took Ottmar Walter, Fritz's younger brother.  Edmund Conen was a teammate with Wilhelm Sold at FC Saarbrücken.
-- Heinz Vollmar played for both saarland and Germany.  He only made honorable mention.

Eight of the starters have won the World Cup for Germany.  All of whom played in the Final.  Hans-Peter Briegel and Manfred Kaltz played big parts in West Germany winning the Euro 1980.  Bernd Hölzenbein played on the left winger in the 1974 World Cup Final against Netherlands while Grabowski played on the right.  I considered starting Bein and Cullman over Gramlich.