Sports

The Best Soccer Players from Germany 

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Updated February 14, 2020 68.7k votes 6.8k voters 177.2k views 155 items

List Rules Soccer players / footballers from Germany or played on the German national team.

In your dream Germany national soccer team, which of the best German soccer players of all time would you pick? Would you choose newer players such as Mesut Özil or ones from years past, such as Franz Beckenbauer? Compared to many other countries, drafting top soccer players from Germany is quite easy as there are many to choose from. Look at the list of top footballers from Hungary for instance and many of the names there are from decades past and aren’t very well known. In fact, many of the best footballers of all time are from Germany. So to determine who truly is the best German soccer player of all time, soccer fans have ranked their favorites below.

Vote up your favorite German soccer players or add any you feel are missing from the list. If you're searching for a particular famous German soccer player you can use the search box at the top of the list to find who you're looking for. Photos and details such as positions played have been provided when available.

On this list, you’ll see famous legends like Franz Beckenbauer, as well as modern German stars like Thomas Muller. So if you’ve ever wondered who were the best German soccer players of all time were, just look at the list below to find out.

list ordered by
1
Franz Beckenbauer is listed (or ranked) 1 on the list The Best Soccer Players from Germany
Defender and Sweeper from Munich, Germany

Nationality: Germany

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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#14 of 1,414 The Best Soccer Players of All Time #237 of 2,166 The Best Athletes Of All Time #3 of 464 The Best Soccer Defenders of All Time

2
Gerd Müller is listed (or ranked) 2 on the list The Best Soccer Players from Germany
Forward from Nördlingen, Germany

Nationality: Germany

Gerhard "Gerd" Müller (German pronunciation: [ˈɡɛɐ̯t ˈmʏlɐ]; born 3 November 1945) is a German retired footballer. A prolific striker renowned for his clinical finishing, ...more

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#46 of 2,166 The Best Athletes Of All Time #28 of 1,414 The Best Soccer Players of All Time #1 of 41 The Best Bayern Munich Forwards Of All Time

3
Manuel Neuer is listed (or ranked) 3 on the list The Best Soccer Players from Germany
Goalkeeper from Gelsenkirchen, Germany

Nationality: West Germany, Germany

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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#29 of 1,414 The Best Soccer Players of All Time #221 of 2,166 The Best Athletes Of All Time #1 of 230 The Best Soccer Goalies of All Time

4
Lothar Matthäus is listed (or ranked) 4 on the list The Best Soccer Players from Germany
Defender and Sweeper from Erlangen, Germany

Nationality: West Germany, Germany

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 ...more

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#51 of 1,414 The Best Soccer Players of All Time #102 of 2,166 The Best Athletes Of All Time #55 of 464 The Best Soccer Defenders of All Time

5
Philipp Lahm is listed (or ranked) 5 on the list The Best Soccer Players from Germany
Defender from Munich, Germany

Nationality: West Germany, Germany

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 ...more

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#40 of 1,414 The Best Soccer Players of All Time #1,106 of 2,166 The Best Athletes Of All Time #47 of 464 The Best Soccer Defenders of All Time

6
Toni Kroos is listed (or ranked) 6 on the list The Best Soccer Players from Germany
Midfielder from Greifswald, Germany

Nationality: German Democratic Republic, Germany

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 ...more

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#1,120 of 2,166 The Best Athletes Of All Time #42 of 1,414 The Best Soccer Players of All Time #12 of 535 The Best Current Soccer Players

7
Miroslav Klose is listed (or ranked) 7 on the list The Best Soccer Players from Germany
Forward from Opole, Poland

Nationality: Germany

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 ...more

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#345 of 2,166 The Best Athletes Of All Time #77 of 1,414 The Best Soccer Players of All Time #38 of 103 Coolest Soccer Players

8
Bastian Schweinsteiger ... is listed (or ranked) 8 on the list The Best Soccer Players from Germany
Playmaker and Midfielder from Kolbermoor, Germany

Nationality: West Germany, Germany

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 ...more

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#199 of 2,166 The Best Athletes Of All Time #75 of 1,414 The Best Soccer Players of All Time #111 of 535 The Best Current Soccer Players

9
Oliver Kahn is listed (or ranked) 9 on the list The Best Soccer Players from Germany
Goalkeeper from Karlsruhe, Germany

Nationality: West Germany, Germany

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 ...more

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#58 of 1,414 The Best Soccer Players of All Time #218 of 2,166 The Best Athletes Of All Time #4 of 230 The Best Soccer Goalies of All Time

10
Jürgen Klinsmann is listed (or ranked) 10 on the list The Best Soccer Players from Germany
Forward from Göppingen, Germany

Nationality: West Germany, Germany

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 ...more

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#95 of 1,414 The Best Soccer Players of All Time #310 of 2,166 The Best Athletes Of All Time #69 of 209 The Best Soccer Players of the '90s

11
Karl-Heinz Rummenigge is listed (or ranked) 11 on the list The Best Soccer Players from Germany
Forward and Midfielder from Lippstadt, Germany

Nationality: Germany, West Germany

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 ...more

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#37 of 2,166 The Best Athletes Of All Time #100 of 1,414 The Best Soccer Players of All Time #46 of 103 Coolest Soccer Players

12
Thomas Müller is listed (or ranked) 12 on the list The Best Soccer Players from Germany
Arminius added Forward and Midfielder from Weilheim in Oberbayern, Germany

Nationality: Germany

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 ...more

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#282 of 2,166 The Best Athletes Of All Time #59 of 1,414 The Best Soccer Players of All Time #333 of 343 The Most Obnoxious Athletes

13
Mesut Özil is listed (or ranked) 13 on the list The Best Soccer Players from Germany
Midfielder from Gelsenkirchen, Germany

Nationality: Turkey, 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. ...more

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#103 of 1,414 The Best Soccer Players of All Time #1,425 of 1,471 The Greatest Minds of All Time #90 of 103 Coolest Soccer Players

14
Michael Ballack is listed (or ranked) 14 on the list The Best Soccer Players from Germany
Midfielder from Görlitz, Germany

Nationality: Germany

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 ...more

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#1,403 of 2,166 The Best Athletes Of All Time #110 of 1,414 The Best Soccer Players of All Time #11 of 56 The Best Bayern Munich Midfielders Of All Time

15
Marco Reus is listed (or ranked) 15 on the list The Best Soccer Players from Germany
bluepoison52 added Forward and Midfielder from Dortmund, Germany

Nationality: West Germany, Germany

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 ...more

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#312 of 1,414 The Best Soccer Players of All Time #14 of 103 Coolest Soccer Players #36 of 535 The Best Current Soccer Players

16
Rudi Völler is listed (or ranked) 16 on the list The Best Soccer Players from Germany
Rudi Völler Forward from Hanau, Germany

Nationality: West Germany, Germany

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

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#185 of 2,166 The Best Athletes Of All Time #174 of 1,414 The Best Soccer Players of All Time #284 of 343 The Most Obnoxious Athletes

17
Sepp Maier is listed (or ranked) 17 on the list The Best Soccer Players from Germany
Goalkeeper from Metten, Germany

Nationality: Germany

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 ...more

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#12 of 230 The Best Soccer Goalies of All Time #127 of 1,414 The Best Soccer Players of All Time #3 of 9 The Best Bayern Munich Goalkeepers Of All Time

18
Paul Breitner is listed (or ranked) 18 on the list The Best Soccer Players from Germany
Defender and Midfielder from Kolbermoor, Germany

Nationality: Germany, West Germany

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 ...more

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#135 of 1,414 The Best Soccer Players of All Time #42 of 464 The Best Soccer Defenders of All Time #49 of 103 Coolest Soccer Players

19
Uwe Seeler is listed (or ranked) 19 on the list The Best Soccer Players from Germany
Forward from Hamburg, Germany

Nationality: Germany

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 ...more

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#278 of 2,166 The Best Athletes Of All Time #860 of 1,414 The Best Soccer Players of All Time

20
Fritz Walter is listed (or ranked) 20 on the list The Best Soccer Players from Germany
Forward from Kaiserslautern, Germany

Nationality: Germany

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 ...more

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#45 of 2,166 The Best Athletes Of All Time #834 of 1,414 The Best Soccer Players of All Time

21
Andreas Brehme is listed (or ranked) 21 on the list The Best Soccer Players from Germany
Defender and Midfielder from Hamburg, Germany

Nationality: Germany, West Germany

Andreas "Andy" Brehme (born 9 November 1960) is a German football coach and former football defender. At international level, he is best known for scoring the winning goal for Germany ...more

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#156 of 1,414 The Best Soccer Players of All Time #907 of 2,166 The Best Athletes Of All Time #37 of 464 The Best Soccer Defenders of All Time

22
Mario Götze is listed (or ranked) 22 on the list The Best Soccer Players from Germany
Chris Abraham added Forward and Midfielder from Memmingen, Germany

Nationality: Germany

Mario Götze (German pronunciation: [ˈmaːʁi̯o ˈɡœtsə]; born 3 June 1992) is a German professional footballer who plays as an attacking midfielder for Borussia Dortmund and the Germany ...more

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#727 of 2,166 The Best Athletes Of All Time #358 of 1,414 The Best Soccer Players of All Time #91 of 535 The Best Current Soccer Players

23
Matthias Sammer is listed (or ranked) 23 on the list The Best Soccer Players from Germany
Defender and Sweeper from Dresden, Germany

Nationality: German Democratic Republic, Germany

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

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#898 of 1,414 The Best Soccer Players of All Time #126 of 209 The Best Soccer Players of the '90s #393 of 464 The Best Soccer Defenders of All Time

24
Lukas Podolski is listed (or ranked) 24 on the list The Best Soccer Players from Germany
Forward and Midfielder from Gliwice, Poland

Nationality: Germany, Poland

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 ...more

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#615 of 1,414 The Best Soccer Players of All Time #783 of 2,166 The Best Athletes Of All Time #166 of 535 The Best Current Soccer Players

25
Mats Hummels is listed (or ranked) 25 on the list The Best Soccer Players from Germany
ramzi25589 added Defender and Midfielder from Bergisch Gladbach, Germany

Nationality: West Germany, Germany

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 ...more

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#451 of 1,414 The Best Soccer Players of All Time #1,550 of 2,166 The Best Athletes Of All Time #80 of 464 The Best Soccer Defenders of All Time