We may earn money or products from the companies mentioned in this post.
Germany is a soccer superpower and considered one of the best teams ever to play the game. There have been plenty of German players who have achieved stardom and fame playing for their country. As one of the most successful teams in international history, Germany have won four World Cups and three European Championships.
Germany has produced many soccer players who have shined on the international stage and written their names in soccer folklore. Their amazing players are regarded by many to be among the best ever to have played the game, which is saying something. German soccer is identified as a team game, as the Germans like to focus on the team game and don’t like to focus on individual skills.
However, that hasn’t stopped Germany from producing some of the most iconic and famous soccer players of all time. Over the years the Germans have been blessed with some incredible soccer players that have gone to become legends of the game. Creating a list of the most famous soccer players from Germany is a challenging task as there are so many incredible superstars. However, we have done our best to take upon this challenge and have come up with a list of the greatest German soccer players.
1. Franz Beckenbauer – Defender – Sweeper
Franz Beckenbauer is widely considered by many as one of the greatest players to have ever played the game. He was a central defender that could also play in midfield and in current times the position of the modern sweeper is credited to him. Franz Beckenbauer was twice named as the European Footballer of the Year, back when he was playing for West Germany, and was capped 103 times. He showed his immense skills in three world cups and two European championships.
It was in 1974 when he managed to win the world cup playing as captain of the German side and he repeated the feat in 1990 when he was manager. In the process he became one of three men ever to have won the world cup as a player and as a manager. He was the first captain ever to win the world cup and the European championship, and is one of the greatest German soccer players of all time. At club level, he represented Bayern Munich in the German Bundesliga and he became the first captain ever to win three European Cups in a row with the club. He also managed to win four Bundesliga titles and four DFB-Pokals with the club, further cementing his legendary status in soccer.
2. Gerd Muller – Forward – Center Forward
Gerd Muller is another iconic name in German soccer and there are hardly any scoring records in the world that the German hasn’t broken or set. He is a renowned goal scorer and is Germany’s all-time leading goalscorer. He represented Bayern Munich at club level and is also the leading scorer for the German club in Bundesliga, and his goals to game ratio are incomparable in European cup history. The forward was simply unstoppable in front of the goal in the 1970 World Cup where he scored ten goals, which included hat tricks against Bulgaria and Peru.
These accomplishments earned him the Ballon d’Or and he also helped the Germans win the European Championship in 1972. He also netted four goals helping West Germany to win the World Cup in 1974. All these goalscoring accomplishments rightly meant that Gerd Muller was widely regarded by many to be one of the greatest German soccer players and one of the most famous Germans. There isn’t much that Gerd Muller hasn’t accomplished at the International stage, as he scored 68 goals in only 62 matches. He is an inspiration to modern-day strikers and his goals for Bayern Munich helped the club win four Bundesliga titles and three European championships.
3. Lothar Matthaus – Midfielder – Defensive Midfield
Another German who can claim to be the greatest German soccer player of all time is Lothar Matthaus. He holds the record for making the most appearances for Germany with 150 caps to his name, and he managed to win the Euro Championships in 1980 and the World Cup in 1990. He also finished as runners-up in the 1986 and 1982 World Cups. He was a charismatic midfielder and led Germany to beat the iconic Argentina led by Maradona in 1990.
Lothar Matthaus’ leadership in that World Cup was instrumental in Germany winning the crown as were the four goals that he scored in the tournament. He played for Bayern Munich in two different spells and managed to win the Bundesliga seven times for the Bavarians. He also played for Internazionale in the Serie A where he won them one championship along with a UEFA Cup trophy. He won the European Footballer of the Year award after he led West Germany to the 1990 World Cup and became the FIFA World Player of the Year in 1991. He still remains the only German to ever win that award.
Lothar Matthaus played in no less than five world cups, and held that record with other international soccer players until the 2018 World Cup. Lothar played in 25 world cup matches, which is the most any player has ever played. He managed to win German footballer of the Year when he was 38 years old in 1999 and throughout his 20 years, he played in 150 matches internationally while scoring 23 goals. To this day, Lothar Matthaus is considered to be one of the best central midfielders to have played the game, and is one of the most famous German soccer players of all time.
4. Karl-Heinz Rummenigge – Forward – Center Forward
Karl Heinz Rummenigge is another German who is regarded by many to be one of the greatest German soccer players of all time. He continued the long line of clinical forwards that Germany has been blessed with and scored in many crucial matches for the Germans. He played in three World Cups for Germany, scoring nine goals, which included a hattrick against Chile in 1982. He is also the second-best goal scorer for Bayern Munich behind only Gerd Muller and he was a banker before joining the German club in 1974. He won the Ballon d’Or twice in 1980 and 1981, for his displays for club and country.
His top achievements for Bayern Munich were when he won them two European Cups, two league titles, and an intercontinental cup. Karl Heinz Rummenigge won the European Championship with West Germany in 1980 and finished as runners-up in the 1982 and 1986 World Cups. He was twice named European Footballer of the Year and played in 95 international matches for West Germany, scoring 45 goals between 1976 and 1986.
5. Miroslav Klose – Forward – Center Forward
Miroslav Klose is the player who broke Ronaldo Nazario’s record in the 2014 World Cup after netting 16 goals in World Cups. He outperformed the Brazilian and also passed Gerd Muller’s record as the top scorer for Germany in World Cups. Labeled as one of the most clinical strikers of his time, it is difficult to find other strikers like him in the box. He is considered by many as one of the greatest goalscorers of all time and holds the record for most goals at the World Cup.
His career with the German national team is more impressive than his club career. Klose won the FIFA World Cup in 2014 with Germany, where he scored twice to overtake Ronaldo and become the leading goalscorer of all time in World Cups. Klose also holds the distinction of never losing a soccer match after scoring a goal for the German side. He retired from international soccer after Germany won the World Cup in 2014. He was a dependable goalscorer for the German national team and is one of the greatest soccer players in Germany’s illustrious history.
6. Fritz Walter – Midfielder – Attacking Midfield
Fritz Walter is another one of the greatest soccer players of all time for Germany and even has an award named after him. The only team at club level that Fritz Walters played for was Kaiserslautern, which was his local team. Walter managed to net an incredible 357 goals in only 364 matches for his local team and captured many German championships before the formation of the Bundesliga. He won the World Cup with Germany in 1954, where they defeated Hungary, and he played as a secondary striker.
Walter was captain of the 1954 World Cup winning team and played in 61 international matches, where he scored 33 goals for Germany. After winning the World Cup in 1954, Fritz and Ottmar became the first siblings to win the World Cup together. He was also acknowledged as the most exceptional player for his country in the last 50 years in 2004 at the UEFA Jubilee Awards.
Germany has a long and rich history as a soccer superpower and has had plenty of illustrious names that have played the game for them. The Germans have been blessed with incredibly talented soccer players and many of them have managed to earn legendary reputations in the game. It doesn’t come as any surprise that many German players are regarded by many to be some of the best players to have ever played the game. The names mentioned above are some of the most famous soccer players to have ever played for Germany, and are some of the biggest names in world soccer as well.