National Team Statistics: Germany
German Team History:
The German national team is one of the most successful in international football history. Under the two guises of West Germany and Germany the national team has won three World Cups and three European Championships. Only Brazil and Italy have been more successful in World Cup finals with five and four wins respectively. After the Second World War the team split into three, as did the country, to form Saarland, which lasted until 1956, East and West Germany sides but fully reunited in 1990 after the fall of the Berlin Wall. Although perhaps known for pragmatism over style, the German National team has given football some of its biggest stars including Franz Beckenbauer and Gerd Mueller.
The German Football Association was formed in 1900 but the team didn’t play its first official match until 1908 when they lined up against Switzerland in Basel. The Swiss won the match 5-3 but considering the Germans had no dedicated coach it was a good start to international football. It wasn’t until 1923, some fifteen years later, that the German national team appointed its first coach. Otto Nerz was given the position and held the role until 1936. Due to the Great Depression the German team was unable to afford the crossing to Uruguay and therefore didn’t take part in the first World Cup finals. Four years later the Germans entered their first World Cup at the finals in France. In their first ever tournament the Germans finished third and began a trend of World Cup achievement that has continued throughout the history of the FIFA tournament. In 1936, the Olympic Games were hosted by Germany in Berlin and the team was given the chance to showcase their talents to the world. Unfortunately for the Germans and their Chancellor, Adolf Hitler, they under performed and it cost Nerz his job.
In 1938 after the annexation of Austria, the German national team, under the leadership of Sepp Herberger, grew stronger as they added players from Austria’s own strong national team. Yet despite this unification of players the Germans suffered their worst ever World Cup result as they were eliminated in the first round after a replay against Switzerland. World War Two didn’t bring football to a total standstill in Germany as the national team played thirty international matches until 1942. After the war finished, Germany was split into three and all three were banned from International football until 1950. None of the three entered the qualifying stages for 1950 and the German Football Association was only reinstated with FIFA after the finals in Brazil.
In 1954, the German National team (West Germany) qualified for their first finals since 1938. It was in this tournament in Switzerland that the Germans would be crowned World Champions for the first time. The Germans were by no means the favourites as they entered into the finals. The mighty Magyars of Hungary were unbeaten in almost thirty matches leading into the tournament and were lead by the legendary Ferenc Puskas and Sandor Kocsis. In the group stage the Germans were hammered by the Hungarians 8-3, but had decided to rest a number of players. The two teams met in the final and Hungary, despite being hampered by an injury to Puskas ran out to a two nil lead within the first eight minutes. Ten minutes later, the Germans were level and began to believe. As the Hungarian’s tired, the Germans pushed forward and with six minutes remaining scored a third and final goal to give them an unlikely victory. This game is fondly remembered as “The Miracle of Berne” in Germany as it highlights how unexpected their victory was against such strong an opposition.
In 1958, the Germans were unable to defend their title but finished a creditable fourth as football saw the emergence of Pele and Brazil. There was no German representative at the 1960 European Championships and in 1962 the team was eliminated at the quarter final stage of the World Cup in Chile. In 1964 there were no German teams once again at the Euro’s and there was a change in management as Helmut Schon replaced Sepp Herberger after 28 years in charge as manager of Germany (West Germany). In 1966, the German national team reached their second World Cup final, this time in England. The match will forever be remembered in Germany, as it will be in England, but for differing reasons. To this day, Geoff Hurst’s second goal remains a bone of contention for German’s, particularly as it has since been revealed that the ball did not cross the goal line. As they pressed for another equaliser, the Germans were hit on the counter attack and Hurst netted his third, England’s fourth and the Jules Rimet Trophy was theirs.
Once again no German side lined up in the final four of the 1968 European Championship yet in the Mexico finals of 1970 Germany (West Germany) was able to gain revenge over its old foes England. Trailing by two goals in their quarter final, the Germans were given a lucky break when a mistake by England’s reserve ‘keeper, Peter Bonetti, allowed Germany back into the match. A panicked substitution by Ramsey gave Beckenbauer freedom and allowed the Germans to take control of the match. After equalising through Uwe Seeler the match went to extra time and Gerd Mueller won the match in extra time. Their semi final against Italy again went to extra time and has been dubbed “the match of the century”. The scores stood at one all after ninety minutes and then an incredible five goals were scored in the subsequent thirty minutes. Mueller gave Germany the lead after 94 minutes but two goals in ten minutes gave Italy the lead at half time in extra time. Mueller scored again to level the game but whilst replays of the German goal were being shown Gianni Rivera volleyed home a winner to put Italy through to yet another final. The Germans finished third as they beat Uruguay in the third/fourth place match.
In 1971, German legend, Franz Beckenbauer was appointed captain and lead Germany (West Germany) through a period of unprecedented success. In 1972, at the first time of asking, they were crowned European Champions after overcoming the USSR in the finals by three goals to nil. Then in 1974 at the World Cup finals in Germany, they were again triumphant and lifted their second title. In the finals, East met West as both sides were drawn in the same group. Progress to the next round was assured for both teams and the East Germans secured a historic one nil win. It was the West that would progress to the final where they would face Johan Cruyff and the “Total Football” of Holland. The Dutch took the lead in the first minutes after Cruyff was fouled in the penalty area. Johan Neeskens scored the penalty and the Germans were a goal down without even touching the ball. The team responded well and two goals before half time from Paul Breitner and Gerd Mueller were enough to seal victory and a second world title.
After winning two consecutive tournaments, the German national team failed to win the next two, being defeated by Czechoslovakia, on penalties, in the 1976 European Championships and were eliminated in the second group stage in the World Cup in Argentina. The German fans didn’t have long to wait until more success when under the new leadership of Jupp Derwall, Germany won the 1980 European Championships beating Belgium in the final.
The next two World Cups would be heart breaking for German players, coaches and fans. In both finals in Spain and Mexico, Germany would make the final in both tournaments yet would lose both. In 1982, on the way to the final, goalkeeper Toni Schumacher committed the biggest foul in World Cup history. In the semi final, French defender Patrick Battiston was through on goal when Schumacher launched himself at the Frenchman, knocking him unconscious and dislodging a number of his teeth. Astonishingly the referee awarded a goal kick and the match had to be halted whilst Battiston was carried from the field. The Germans came back from three goals to one to level the match and the injustice of the Schumacher foul came back to haunt the French as he saved two of the French penalties in the shootout. The Germans then lost to Italy in the final. Four years later, Germany was beaten in the final by a Diego Maradona inspired Argentina. Semi final heartbreak followed in 1988 when the Dutch got revenge for the 1974 World Cup final and went on to lift Euro ’88 held in Germany.
After a decade of some success but mostly heartache, Germany once again climbed to the top of the world with victory at Italia ’90 led by Lothar Matthaus. Matthaus is the most capped player in World Cup finals history with 25 appearances and lead Germany in the same manner as Beckenbauer who was German coach at the time. In the final they were able to get revenge over their ’86 final defeat to Argentina by overcoming the South Americans in a dour final by a single goal to be crowned champions again. It was a final that had summed up the 1990 finals when defensive tactics and negativity ruled international football.
German fans would have to wait until 1996 to taste more success as they became champions of Europe also for the third time. The star of the German team in England was Matthias Sammer. Sammer was a playmaker in the mould of Lothar Matthaus and it was he who drove Germany to success. At Euro ’96 they overcame the host nation England in a close fought semi final which was a replay of the 1990 World Cup semi final where the German’s again won on penalties to break English hearts. In the final they overcome the Czech Republic in a reversal of the 1976 final twenty years before.
In the 1998 and 2000 finals the Germans failed to progress beyond the quarter finals and group stage respectively but in 2002 reached the final of the World Cup for the seventh time. A relatively poor German side made the final due to the fine performances of their goalkeeper Oliver Kahn and midfielder Michael Ballack. Kahn was awarded the Golden Ball as the tournament’s best player before the final but it was his mistake that gifted Brazil their opening goal and allowed Ronaldo a shot at redemption which he gleefully took.
In Euro 2004 Germany failed to build upon their performance in Japan and South Korea and was eliminated after the group stage. In failing to win a match it meant that the German national team had not won a European finals match since lifting the trophy in 1996. After this disappointment, Germany bounced back in the 2006 World Cup, held in Germany for the second time. In the build up to the tournament there was much talk of how bad the German team was and how badly they had performed in friendly matches before the finals. Once the finals were underway, the Germans performed with style and skill to progress to the semi finals where they were beaten by the eventual winners Italy, who needed two extremely late goals in extra time to avoid a penalty shootout. The Germans bounced back to claim third with a resounding win over Portugal. In 2008 Germany once again made it to the final of an international tournament as they finally won a match at the Euro’s for the first time in twelve years. Going into the finals as favourites their march to the title was only halted by Spain, the best team in Switzerland and Austria, when a goal from Fernando Torres gave Spain victory and deprived the Germans of a fourth title.
Lothar Matthaus: 150 Caps
Leading Goalscorer: Gerd Muller: 62 Caps, 68 goals
World Ranking: 2
World Cup Performances:
16 Appearances, Winners: three times 1954, 1974 & 1990
UEFA European Performances:
10 Appearances: Winners, three times
Franz Beckenbauer: 103 Caps, 14 goals
Gerd Muller: 62 Caps, 68 goals
Lothar Matthaus: 150 Caps, 23 goals
Helmut Schon: 1964-1978 – 139 games, 87 wins
Franz Beckenbauer: 1984-1990 – 66 games, 36 wins
Bastian Schweinsteiger (Bayern Munich)
Lukas Podolski: (Bayern Munich)
|#||Name||Club||Date of birth||Caps (goals)||Debut|
|12||Robert Enke||Hannover 96||August 24, 1977 (age 30)||1 (0)||v. Denmark, March 28, 2007|
|N/A||Tim Wiese||Werder Bremen||December 17, 1981 (age 26)||0 (0)||N/A|
|2||Marcell Jansen||Bayern Munich||November 4, 1985 (age 22)||27 (1)||v. Slovakia, September 3, 2005|
|4||Clemens Fritz||Werder Bremen||December 7, 1980 (age 27)||18 (2)||v. Georgia, October 7, 2006|
|5||Heiko Westermann||Schalke 04||August 14, 1983 (age 25)||3 (0)||v. Austria, February 6, 2008|
|16||Philipp Lahm||Bayern Munich||November 11, 1983 (age 24)||47 (3)||v. Croatia, February 18, 2004|
|21||Christoph Metzelder||Real Madrid||November 5, 1980 (age 27)||47 (0)||v. Hungary, August 15, 2001|
|N/A||Serdar Taşçı||Stuttgart||April 24, 1987 (age 21)||0 (0)||N/A|
|6||Simon Rolfes||Bayer Leverkusen||January 21, 1982 (age 26)||12 (0)||v. Denmark, March 28, 2007|
|7||Bastian Schweinsteiger||Bayern Munich||August 1, 1984 (age 24)||56 (15)||v. Romania, June 6, 2004|
|13||Michael Ballack (captain)||Chelsea||September 26, 1976 (age 31)||87 (38)||v. Scotland, April 28, 1999|
|14||Piotr Trochowski||Hamburg||March 22, 1984 (age 24)||12 (0)||v. Georgia, October 7, 2006|
|15||Thomas Hitzlsperger||VfB Stuttgart||April 5, 1982 (age 26)||38 (5)||v. Iran, October 9, 2004|
|N/A||Marko Marin||Borussia Mönchengladbach||March 13, 1989 (age 19)||1 (0)||v. Belarus, May 27, 2008|
|9||Mario Gómez||VfB Stuttgart||July 10, 1985 (age 23)||14 (6)||v. Switzerland, February 7, 2007|
|11||Miroslav Klose||>Bayern Munich||
June 9, 1978 (age 30)
|v. Albania, March 24, 2001|
Miroslav Klose: (Bayern Munich) 81 Caps, 48 goals
Michael Ballack: (Chelsea) 87 Caps, 38 goals
Phillip Lahm: (Bayern Munich) 47 Caps, 3 goals
Latest Results: 29/07/08 Spain 1 Germany 0 (Torres) Euro 2008 final
Upcoming fixtures: 06/08/09 Liechtenstein v Germany World Cup qualifier