National team history


Three times world cup winner, four times vice world champion, two third places in a World Cup, three times European championship, three times runner up in a European championship, since 1954 participating in all World Cups and since 1972 playing in all European championships: This is the list of success which brought the German national team to the top of the international rankings, and it is an important basis for the international reputation that German soccer has gained worldwide.

The history of the national team began eight years after the DFB was founded. In 1908, the German and the Swiss soccer associations arranged for a first "friendly international match" - as they called it then - to take place on April 5 of that year. It was in Basel where the Swiss team won 5-3 against a select team of the best German players that had been invited by the DFB game committee. In those days there wasn’t a coach yet. During this international match debut nobody would ever have guessed how strong, if not even outstanding, the institution of the national team would become, not only in a sportive sense, but also for the socio-political life of the entire country. Never had this become more evident than in 1954 when the German team won the world cup final in Switzerland. The 3:2 score vs. Hungary that up to then had been considered undefeatable made a whole nation happy which was still suffering from the after-effects of the war and gave it a new self-esteem.

Capitain Fritz Walter after the final with cup and medals
The "Heroes of Bern" had already become legends during their lifetime. This also applies to their successors of the following generations who were eager to continue the glorious heritage. The successor of Fritz Walter was Uwe Seeler who was followed by Franz Beckenbauer. After the "Kaiser" followed Berti Vogts, Karl-Heinz Rummenigge, Lothar Matthäus and Jürgen Klinsmann. All these names stand for top performances. The lost world cup final in 1966 which will always stay in our memory for what is known as the "Wembley goal" as well as the defeat against Italy in the so-called "match of the century" of the world cup in Mexico 1970 were further examples of the fair play of the DFB team.

Continuity which is always associated with personalities is one of the strong features of the national team, because during their entire history there have been only seven full-time coaches. Prof. Otto Nerz, a primary school teacher from Mannheim, was the first. His term was from 1923 to 1936. Next followed the unforgotten Sepp Herberger, until 1964. The "Boss" who died 1977 led the team around Fritz Walter in 1954 to the world cup title. In 1997, Sepp Herberger would have been 100 years old. Helmut Schön, who died 1996 (1964 - 1978), Jupp Derwall (1978 - 1984) and Franz Beckenbauer (1984 - 1990) won further world cup and European titles during their terms. Berti Vogts who coached the national team from 1990 - 1998 continued this series of gorgeous successes when his team won 1996 in England the European championship final vs. the Czech Republic 2-1. It was Oliver Bierhoff who achieved the "Golden Goal" in the overtime period. Berti Vogts resigned two months after the world cup in France. Erich Ribbeck took over and was coach in charge of the national team until the European championship finals 2000 in the Netherlands and Belgium. From Juli 2nd, 2000 to June 24th, 2004 Rudi Völler was headcoach of the national team. At his first great tournament he reached the final of the WC 2002 in Korea and Japan, but lost against Brazil with 0:2. From July 2, 2000 until June 24, 2004 Rudi Voeller was responsible for the national team. During his first major tournament as team manager the former national player reached the final of the 2002 World Cup in Korea and Japan, where Germany were defeated 0-2 by Brazil in Yokohama. After failing to qualify for the knock-out stage at the European Championships 2004 he resigned and Juergen Klinsmann was presented as new national coach on July 29, 2004.

The win of the olympic football tournament 1976 in Montreal was the biggest success in GDR football history.
In the long soccer history Franz Beckenbauer is particularly outstanding, because "The Player by the Grace of God" (according to Sepp Herberger) succeeded in becoming world champion in a double function: as team captain in 1974 and as coach in 1990. Worldwide the name of Franz Beckenbauer stands for the glory and the strength of the German national team since the beginning in 1908.

His counterpart in the German soccer team of the GDR (the DFV) was Hans-Jürgen Dörner who participated in the Olympics in Montreal in 1976 as the GDR team’s sweeper; however, in none of the 100 international matches had he been particularly successful. Ahead of "Dixie" Dörner in the statistics of the GDR soccer is Joachim Streich, playing as top scorer, with 102 matches. His counterpart wearing the DFB jersey was Gerd Müller. His performance is almost incredible: he scored 68 goals in 62 international matches.