The top 10 German footballers of all-time

Germany is one of the best footballing nations in the world. There is no doubt that they have been a superpower in the world of football for several generations, but who are the top 10 German footballers of all time.

A team like Germany have received enormous prestige in world football since their foundation in 1990. They have won four World cups in 1954,1974,1990, and 2014 and three European Championships in 1972, 1980, 1996, which makes them one of the most successful national teams in international football.

They have a history of some of the most fantastic players, from Joachim Streich, Gerd Muller to Miroslav Klose. It is challenging to find top-10 players from dozens of world-class and decorated footballs in German football history like Michael Ballack, Jurgen Klinsmann, Manuel Neuer, etc. 

Here is the list of the top 10 German footballers of all time 

  1. Matthias Sammer 

Matthias Sammer was born on September 5, 1967, in East Germany and played his first international game for West Germany in 1990. He’s probably one of the best defensive midfielders, and his skills as a sweeper is undoubtedly something you cannot neglect.


Sammer has won the Bundesliga and DFL Supercup in 1995 with Borussia Dortmund. In the following year, he won both the championships again and picked up the European Footballer of the Year. A UEFA Champions League winner and Intercontinental Cup winner in 1997. 

He even got the player of the tournament in UEFA Euro 1996, where Germany defeated the Czech Republic in the final, which makes him one of the most decorated players in the history of German football.

2. Bastian Schweinsteiger 

Schweinsteiger was born on August 1, 1984, in Kolbermoor, West Germany and was probably regarded as one of the greatest midfielders of all time due to his tactical awareness, positioning, passing, and ability to control the flow of the game. 

RIO DE JANEIRO, BRAZIL – JULY 13: Bastian Schweinsteiger of Germany kisses the World Cup trophy after defeating Argentina 1-0 in extra time during the 2014 FIFA World Cup Brazil Final match between Germany and Argentina at Maracana on July 13, 2014 in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. (Photo by Clive Rose/Getty Images)

He is mainly known for his time in Bayern Munich, where he played for more than a decade and scored 68 goals. Bastian won 8 Bundesliga titles, seven DFB-Pokal title, a UEFA Champions League, UEFA Super Cup. However, Schweinsteiger played for a fair bit of time on Manchester United as well. 

Schweinsteiger is the fourth most-capped player of Germany, scoring 24 goals. He has been a part of four European Championships and three World Cups, winning it in 2014, where he played a significant role in Germany’s victory campaign.

3. Sepp Maier 

“Die Katze von Anzig”, meaning the cat from Amazing, aka Sepp Maier, is one of Germany’s greatest goalkeepers who is known for his fast reflexes, agility, flexibility, speed and consistency was born on February 28, 1944, in Metten, Germany.

MUNICH, GERMANY – AUGUST 05: Assistent coach Toni Tapalovic of FC Bayern Muenchen talks to Sepp Maier during a training session at Saebener Strasse training ground on August 05, 2020 in Munich, Germany. (Photo by Alexander Hassenstein/Getty Images)

Maier is known for keeping four clean sheets at the 1974 World Cup when they lifted the trophy-winning against the Dutch team. He spent his entire career with Bayern Munich and won the Bundesliga and DFB-Pokal a total of 4 times each during his 19 years career and played nearly 400 consecutive games for them, which tells you about this man’s fitness. 

4. Uwe Seeler 

On November 5 1936, the seller was born in Hamburg, Germany who played his entire career for Hamburger SV, who scored more than 400 goals. One of the most prolific strikers of German football was named one of the 125 best living footballers by football legend Pele. 

DORTMUND, GERMANY – APRIL 01: Uwe Seeler poses on stage during the Hall Of Fame gala at Deutsches Fussballmuseum on April 01, 2019 in Dortmund, Germany. (Photo by Ralf Ibing – Pool /Getty Images)

Uwe is the first soccer player to receive the Federal Republic of Germany’s Great Order of Merit. He played in four FIFA World Cups in 1958,1962, 1966 and 1970. He was the first player to play in 20 World Cup games scoring nine goals.

5. Miroslav Klose 

Well, Miroslav Klose needs no such introduction. He is one of the best strikers of his generation and holds the record for most goals scored in a World Cup, overcoming Brazilian legend Ronaldo Nazario’s goal tally. 

DURBAN, SOUTH AFRICA – JUNE 13: Miroslav Klose of Germany celebrates after he scores his side’s second goal during the 2010 FIFA World Cup South Africa Group D match between Germany and Australia at Durban Stadium on June 13, 2010 in Durban, South Africa. (Photo by Robert Cianflone/Getty Images)

He is mainly known for his time in International football, having played five world cups, winning it in 2014. Klose is the top goalscorer of the FIFA World Cup with 16 goals. His club career started at FC 08 Homburg. After that, he played Bundesliga for Werder Bremen and Bayern Munich and in Serie A for Lazio. Klose won Bundesliga with Bayern Munich.

6. Fritz Walter 

Fritz Walter is one of the greatest German footballers of all time, having played for only one club, FC Kaiserslautern, for which he scored 357 goals in 364 matches. He was born on October 31, 1920, in Kaiserslautern, Germany. 

Fritz Walter is one of the greatest German footballer of all times (Goaldentimes)

Walter was the captain of the German side, which won the World Cup in 1954, where they defeated Hungary 3-2 in the finals. Fritz and his sibling Ottmar were the first siblings to win the World Cup together. He was even acknowledged at the UEFA Jubilee Awards in 2004.

7. Karl-Heinz Rummenigee 

Rummengiee is one of the greatest German footballers and had his most tremendous career success with Bayern Munich. He won the Intercontinental Cup, two European Cups, two league titles, and two domestic cups.

FRANKFURT AM MAIN, GERMANY – MARCH 16: Karl-Heinz Rummenige (FC Bayern, R) arrives for the general assembly of the German Football League (DFL) on March 16, 2020 in Frankfurt am Main, Germany. Members of the executive committee of the DFL and clubs of the Bundesliga and Second Bundesliga meet to discuss the postponement of all matches until April 2, 2020 and it’s consequences due to the ongoing spread of Covid-19 (Coronavirus). (Photo by Thomas Lohnes/Getty Images)

Karl has won the Ballon d’Or for his club in 1980 and 1981. He scored nine goals at three World Cups, which included a hat-trick against Chile in 1982. In addition, Rummenigge won the 1980 European Championships with West Germany. He scored a total of 45 goals for Germany between 1976 and 1986. 

Rummengiee is a former chairman of the European Club Association.

8. Oliver Kahn 

Oliver Kahn played his entire career at Bayern Munich and was a stalwart for German football for several years. On June 15 1969, the Keeper was born in Karlsruhe, West Germany, where he started his career in the Karlsruher SC Junior team in 1975.

He was nicknamed Vol-Kahn-o by the fans for his commanding presence in gaol and aggressive style. One of the most successful German players in recent history, having won eight Bundesliga titles, six DFB-Pokals, the UEFA Cup in 1996, the UEFA Champions League and the Intercontinental Cup. In addition, Kahn earned four consecutive UEFA Best European Goalkeeper awards and three IFHHS World’s Best Goalkeeper awards. 

ESSEN, GERMANY – NOVEMBER 14: Oliver Kahn in action during the Germany team training at The Georg-Melches Stadium November 14, 2003 in Essen, Germany. Germany play France on November 15. (Photo by Stuart Franklin/Getty Images)

At the 2002 FIFA World Cup, he became the only goalkeeper in the tournament’s history to win the Golden ball when Germany lost to Brazil. He has made 429 appearances for Bayern Munich and a total of 86 appearances for Germany. 

9. Gerd Muller 

Gerd Muller has been hailed as one of the greatest soccer players of all time, not only the most outstanding German footballer was born on November 3 1945, in Germany. He is known for his clinical finishing, especially in and around the six-yard box. 

In 15 years career with Bayern Munich, he scored 365 goals in 427 Bundesliga matches. He became and still is the record holder of that league. His goals-to-games rate is unmatchable in European Cup history scoring 34 goals in 35 games. 

Gerd Muller
18th May 1967: West German footballer Gerd Muller having a shot on goal. (Photo by Keystone/Getty Images)

Muller had the record for most goals in FIFA World Cup for 32 years which was later broken by his countrymen Miroslav Klose. He scored four goals in the 1974 World Cup, including the winning goal in the final.

The fans nicknamed him “Bomber Der Nation”. He was named the European Footballer of the Year in 1970. In 2004 Pele named Muller in the FIFA 100 list of the world’s greatest living players. 

10. Franz Beckenbauer 

Der Kaiser (The Emperor) aka Franz Beckenbauer is one of the greatest players in the history of the sport. One of the most versatile players who started as a midfielder and made his name as a central defender and offers credited the role of inventing the “modern sweeper”.

Beckenbauer appeared 103 times for West Germany and played three FIFA World Cups and two European Championships. He lifted the World Cup trophy as a captain in 1974 and was only one of the throw men to win the World Cup again as a manager as well. 

ST. PETERSBURG, RUSSIA – FEBRUARY 18: Franz Beckenbauer poses with a Laureus trophy at the Laureus World Sports Awards at the Mariinsky Concert Hall on February 18, 2008 in St.Petersburg, Russia. (Photo by Ian Walton/Getty Images for Laureus)

Franz won the UEFA Cup Winners Cup in 1967 and three consecutive European Cups from 1974 to 1976 for Bayern Munich and became a team manager and later president of Bayern Munich. In 2004 he was named in the FIFA 100 of the world’s greatest living players by Pele. And in 2020, he was named in the Ballon d’Or Dream Team as well.

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