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The Best Soccer Players from Germany

Updated July 16, 2021 57.2k votes 7.8k voters 200.7k views176 items

List RulesVote up the best football players from Germany

Who are the best football players from Germany? This list includes the greatest soccer players born in Germany or who played on the Germany national football team. While the German men's national team has a long and storied history of producing top international talent, fans of Die Mannschaft have been waiting for the Nationalelf to recapture international glory since winning the 2014 World Cup. So, who are the best footballers from Germany? Who is the best German soccer player of all time?

Some of the best German soccer players include national legends like Gerd Müller, Franz Beckenbauer, Philipp Lahm, Miroslav Klose and Bastian Schweinsteiger. There are also current German football stars such as Joshua Kimmich, Timo Werner, and Leroy Sané, who are making an impact across the globe. 

Vote up the best soccer players from the Germany, and help decide who is the greatest German footballer of all time!

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    Franz Beckenbauer

    Defender, Sweeper

    BirthplaceMunich, Germany

    NationalityGermany

    Franz Anton Beckenbauer (pronounced [ˈfʁants ˈbɛkn̩ˌbaʊɐ]; born 11 September 1945) is a German former professional footballer and manager. Early in his playing career he was nicknamed Der Kaiser...  more

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    #3 of 452 The Best Soccer Defenders of All Time#1 of 31 The Best Bayern Munich Defenders Of All Time

  • 2
    1,726
    550

    BirthplaceNördlingen, Germany

    NationalityGermany

    Gerhard "Gerd" Müller (German pronunciation: [ˈɡɛɐ̯t ˈmʏlɐ]; born 3 November 1945) is a German retired footballer. A prolific striker renowned for his clinical finishing, especially in and around the...  more
  • 3
    1,542
    503

    BirthplaceErlangen, Germany

    NationalityGermany

    Lothar Herbert Matthäus (German pronunciation: [ˈloːtaːɐ̯ maˈtɛːʊs]; born 21 March 1961) is a German football manager and former player. After captaining West Germany to victory in the 1990 FIFA...  more
  • 4
    1,659
    511

    Philipp Lahm

    Defender

    BirthplaceMunich, Germany

    NationalityGermany

    Philipp Lahm (German pronunciation: [ˈfɪlɪp ˈlaːm]; born 11 November 1983) is a German retired professional footballer who played as a right back or defensive midfielder and spent much of his early...  more
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    1,476
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    BirthplaceKolbermoor, Germany

    NationalityGermany

    Bastian Schweinsteiger (pronounced [ˈbasti̯an ˈʃvaɪ̯nʃtaɪ̯ɡɐ] (listen); born 1 August 1984) is a German professional footballer who plays as a midfielder for Major League Soccer club Chicago Fire. A...  more

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    #66 of 102 Best Manchester United Players of All Time, Ranked#4 of 12 The Best Professional Soccer Players Who Retired In 2019

  • 6
    1,271
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    Oliver Kahn

    Goalkeeper

    BirthplaceKarlsruhe, Germany

    NationalityGermany

    Oliver Rolf Kahn (German: [ˈɔlɪvɐ ˈkaːn]; born 15 June 1969) is a German former football goalkeeper. He started his career in the Karlsruher SC Junior team in 1975. Twelve years later, Kahn made his...  more

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    #225 of 344 Famous Role Models We'd Like to Meet In Person#7 of 176 The Best Soccer Goalies of All Time

  • 7
    2,158
    841

    Manuel Neuer

    Goalkeeper

    BirthplaceGelsenkirchen, Germany

    NationalityGermany

    Manuel Peter Neuer (German pronunciation: [ˈmaːnu̯eːl ˈnɔʏ.ɐ, -ɛl -]; born 27 March 1986) is a German professional footballer who plays as a goalkeeper and captain for both Bayern Munich and the...  more

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    #4 of 122 The Best Goalies In The World Right Now#19 of 86 Who Is The Most Famous Athlete In The World Right Now?

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    1,566
    545

    BirthplaceOpole, Poland

    NationalityGermany

    Miroslav Josef Klose (German: [ˈmiːʁoslaf ˈkloːzə] (listen), Polish: Mirosław Józef Klose; born 9 June 1978) is a German retired footballer who played as a striker. Klose is the coach of the U17...  more
  • 9
    1,539
    529

    Toni Kroos

    Midfielder

    BirthplaceGreifswald, Germany

    NationalityGermany

    Toni Kroos (German pronunciation: [ˈtoːniː ˈkʁoːs]; born 4 January 1990) is a German professional footballer who plays for Spanish club Real Madrid and the German national team. Kroos plays mainly as...  more

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    #14 of 56 The Best Bayern Munich Midfielders Of All Time#22 of 110 The Best Real Madrid Players Of All Time, Ranked

  • 10
    998
    317

    Michael Ballack

    Midfielder

    BirthplaceGörlitz, Germany

    NationalityGermany

    Michael Ballack (German pronunciation: [ˈmɪçaːʔeːl ˈbalak]; born 26 September 1976) is a German retired footballer. He is among the top goal scorers in the history of the German national team....  more
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    876
    487

    BirthplaceGöppingen, Germany

    NationalityGermany

    Jürgen Klinsmann (German pronunciation: [ˈjʏʁɡn̩ ˈkliːnsˌman], born 30 July 1964) is a German soccer manager, pundit and former player who was most recently the head coach of the United States...  more

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    #35 of 38 The Best Current Soccer Coaches/Managers#14 of 84 The Best Tottenham Hotspur Players of All Time

  • 12
    583
    273

    Rudi Völler

    Forward

    BirthplaceHanau, Germany

    NationalityGermany

    Rudolf "Rudi" Völler (pronounced [ˈfœlɐ]; born 13 April 1960), nicknamed "Tante Käthe" (English: "Aunt Käthe"), is a German former professional footballer and a former manager of the Germany national...  more

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    #48 of 164 The Best Soccer Players of the '90s#44 of 103 Coolest Soccer Players

  • 13
    1,809
    797

    BirthplaceWeilheim in Oberbayern, Germany

    NationalityGermany

    Thomas Müller (German pronunciation: [ˈtoːmas ˈmʏlɐ]; born 13 September 1989) is a German professional footballer who plays for and vice-captains Bayern Munich, and has made 100 appearances for the...  more

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    #77 of 348 The Best Current Soccer Players#28 of 115 The Funniest Professional Athletes

  • 14
    1,106
    425

    Marco Reus

    Forward, Midfielder

    BirthplaceDortmund, Germany

    NationalityGermany

    Marco Reus (German pronunciation: [ˈmaʁkoː ˈʁɔʏs]; born 31 May 1989) is a German professional footballer who plays as a forward for the Germany national team and Borussia Dortmund, where he is the ...  more
  • 15
    835
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    Karl-Heinz Rummenigge

    Forward, Midfielder

    BirthplaceLippstadt, Germany

    NationalityGermany

    Karl-Heinz "Kalle" Rummenigge (German: [ˌkaɐ̯lˈhaɪnts ˈkalə ˈʁʊmənɪɡə]; born 25 September 1955) is a German former professional football player. He had his greatest career success with German club...  more
  • 16
    554
    298

    Paul Breitner

    Defender, Midfielder

    BirthplaceKolbermoor, Germany

    NationalityGermany

    Paul Breitner (born 5 September 1951 in Kolbermoor, Bavaria) is a former German footballer, who played as a midfielder or as a defender. One of Germany's most controversial players, he earned 48 caps...  more
  • 17
    1,615
    768

    Mesut Özil

    Midfielder

    BirthplaceGelsenkirchen, Germany

    NationalityGermany, Turkey, West Germany

    Mesut Özil (German pronunciation: [ˈmeːzut ˈøːzil], Turkish: [meˈsut œˈzil]; born 15 October 1988) is a German professional footballer who plays for Premier League club Arsenal. Özil plays mostly as...  more

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    #1341 of 1,355 The Greatest Minds of All Time#31 of 96 The All-Around Best Athletes of 2019

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    454
    257

    Uwe Seeler

    Forward

    BirthplaceHamburg, Germany

    NationalityGermany

    Uwe Seeler (German pronunciation: [ˈuːvə ˈzeːlɐ]; born 5 November 1936) is a German former footballer and football official. As a striker, he was a prolific scorer for Hamburger SV and also made 72...  more
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    444
    246

    BirthplaceDresden, Germany

    NationalityGermany

    Matthias Sammer (German pronunciation: [maˈtiːas ˈzamɐ]; born 5 September 1967) is a retired German footballer and coach who last worked as sporting director of Bayern Munich. He played as a...  more
  • 20
    560
    328

    Sepp Maier

    Goalkeeper

    BirthplaceMetten, Germany

    NationalityGermany

    Josef Dieter "Sepp" Maier (born 28 February 1944) is a German former professional football goalkeeper who played for Bayern Munich and the German national football team. Regarded as one of Germany's...  more
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    227
    92

    BirthplaceMönchengladbach, Germany

    NationalityGermany

    Josef "Jupp" Heynckes (German: [ˈjʊp ˈhaɪnkəs]; born 9 May 1945) is a German retired professional footballer and manager. As a player, he spent the majority of his career as a striker for Borussia...  more
  • 22
    594
    296

    BirthplaceGliwice, Poland

    NationalityGermany

    Lukas Josef Podolski (German pronunciation: [ˈluːkas poˈdɔlski]; born Łukasz Józef Podolski (IPA: [ˈwukaʂ pɔˈdɔlskʲi]) on 4 June 1985) is a German professional footballer who plays as a forward for...  more
  • 23
    644
    246

    Mats Hummels

    Defender

    BirthplaceBergisch Gladbach, Germany

    NationalityGermany

    Mats Julian Hummels (German pronunciation: [ˈmats ˈhʊml̩s]; born 16 December 1988) is a German professional footballer who plays as a central defender for Borussia Dortmund and the Germany national...  more
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    463
    273

    BirthplaceKaiserslautern, Germany

    NationalityGermany

    Friedrich "Fritz" Walter (31 October 1920 – 17 June 2002) was a German footballer. He usually played as an attacking midfielder or inside forward. In his time with the German national team, he made...  more

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    #695 of 1,185 The Best Soccer Players of All Time#79 of 1,316 The Best Athletes Of All Time

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    320
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    Günter Netzer

    Midfielder

    BirthplaceMönchengladbach, Germany

    NationalityGermany

    Günter Theodor Netzer (born 14 September 1944 in Mönchengladbach) is a former German football player and team general manager currently working in the media business. He achieved great success in...  more