Germany national football team

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Germany national football team
Shirt badge/Association crest
Nickname(s)DFB-Team (DFB Team)
Nationalelf (National Eleven)
DFB-Elf (DFB Eleven)
Die Mannschaft (The Team)[a]
AssociationDeutscher Fußball-Bund (DFB)
Head coachHansi Flick
CaptainManuel Neuer
Most capsLothar Matthäus (150)
Top scorerMiroslav Klose (71)
Home stadiumVarious
First colours
Second colours
FIFA ranking
Current 14 Steady (6 April 2023)[5]
Highest1[6] (December 1992 – August 1993, December 1993 – March 1994, June 1994, July 2014 – June 2015, July 2017, September 2017 – June 2018)
Lowest22[6] (March 2006)
First international
 Switzerland 5–3 Germany 
(Basel, Switzerland; 5 April 1908)[7]
Biggest win
 Germany 16–0 Russia 
(Stockholm, Sweden; 1 July 1912)[8]
Biggest defeat
 England Amateurs 9–0 Germany 
(Oxford, England; 13 March 1909)[9][b]
World Cup
Appearances20 (first in 1934)
Best resultChampions (1954, 1974, 1990, 2014)
European Championship
Appearances13 (first in 1972)
Best resultChampions (1972, 1980, 1996)
Summer Olympic Games
Appearances13[c] (first in 1912)
Best result1st place, gold medalist(s) Gold Medal (1976)
FIFA Confederations Cup
Appearances3 (first in 1999)
Best resultChampions (2017) (in German)

The Germany national football team (German: Deutsche Fußballnationalmannschaft) represents

Federal Republic of Germany (commonly referred to as West Germany in English between 1949 and 1990), the Saarland team representing the Saar Protectorate (1950–1956) and the East Germany team representing the German Democratic Republic (1952–1990). The latter two were absorbed along with their records;[13][14] the present team represents the reunified Federal Republic. The official name and code "Germany FR (FRG)" was shortened to "Germany (GER)" following reunification in 1990

Germany is one of the most successful national teams in international competitions, having won four World Cups (1954, 1974, 1990, 2014), same as Italy, and only one less than the most successful team, Brazil. Germany has also won three European Championships (1972, 1980, 1996), and one Confederations Cup (2017).[11] They have also been second place in the European Championships three times, four times in the World Cup, and a further four third-place finishes at World Cups.[11] East Germany won Olympic Gold in 1976.[15] Germany is the only nation to have won both the FIFA World Cup and the FIFA Women's World Cup.[16][17] At the end of the 2014 World Cup, Germany earned the second highest Elo rating of any national football team in history, with 2,223 points.[18] Germany is also the only European nation that has won a FIFA World Cup in the Americas.

On 1 August 2021, Hansi Flick became head coach of the team, after Joachim Löw announced that he would step down after UEFA Euro 2020.


Early years (1899–1942)

On 18 April 1897, an early international game on

German soil was played in Hamburg when a selection team from the Danish Football Association defeated a selection team from the Hamburg-Altona Football Association, 5–0.[19][20]

Between 1899 and 1901, prior to the formation of a national team, there were five international matches between Germany and English selection teams, which are today not recognised as official by either nation's football association (in part because England fielded their amateur side, which was an overflow or B team). All five matches ended in large defeats for the Germany teams, including a 12–0 loss at White Hart Lane in September 1901.[21] Eight years after the establishment of the German Football Association (DFB) in 1900, the first official match of the Germany national football team[d] was played on 5 April 1908, against Switzerland in Basel, with the Swiss winning 5–3.[7] A follow-up to the earlier series between England Amateurs and Germany occurred in March 1909 at Oxford's White House Ground[22] and resulted in Germany's largest official defeat to date: 9-0 (this time, the match was recognised and recorded as official by the DFB but not by the FA, again due to the amateur side being fielded).[21] These early confrontations formed the beginning of the rich rivalry between the two teams: one of the longest and most enduring international rivalries in football.[23]

Julius Hirsch was the first Jewish player to represent the Germany national football team, which he joined in 1911.[24][25] Hirsch scored four goals for Germany against the Netherlands in 1912, becoming the first German to score four goals in a single match.[26][27]

American Samoa.[28] He was Jewish, and the German Football Association erased all references to him from their records between 1933 and 1945.[29][30] As of 2016, he was still the top German scorer for one match.[31]

At that time the players were selected by the DFB, as there was no dedicated coach. The first manager of the Germany national team was

Breslau, Lower Silesia (now Wrocław, Poland).[33][34]


Nazi politicians ordered five or six ex-Austrian players, from the clubs Rapid Vienna, Austria Vienna, and First Vienna FC, to join the "all-German" team on short notice in a staged show of unity for political reasons. At the 1938 World Cup in France, this "united" Germany national team managed only a 1–1 draw against Switzerland and then lost the replay 2–4 in front of a hostile crowd in Paris. That early exit stands as Germany's worst World Cup result, and one of just three occasions the team failed to progress from the group stage – the next would not occur until the 2018 tournament, and it would be repeated in 2022

During World War II, the team played over 30 international games between September 1939 and November 1942. National team games were then suspended, as most players had to join the armed forces. Many of the national team players were gathered together under coach Herberger as Rote Jäger through the efforts of a sympathetic air force officer trying to protect the footballers from the most dangerous wartime service.

Three Germany national teams (1945–1990)

After World War II, Germany was banned from competition in most sports until 1950. The DFB was not a full member of FIFA, and none of the three new German states –

Saarland – entered the 1950 World Cup

The Federal Republic of Germany, which was referred to as West Germany, continued the DFB. With recognition by FIFA and UEFA, the DFB maintained and continued the record of the pre-war team. Switzerland was the first team that played West Germany in 1950,[35] with the latter qualifying for the 1954 World Cup and the former hosting it.

The Saarland, under French control between 1946 and 1956, did not join French organisations, and was barred from participating in pan-German ones. It sent their own team to the 1952 Summer Olympics and to the 1954 World Cup qualifiers. In 1957, Saarland acceded to the Federal Republic of Germany.

In 1949, the

communist German Democratic Republic (East Germany) was founded. In 1952 the Deutscher Fußball-Verband der DDR (DFV) was established and the East Germany national football team took to the field. They were the only team to beat the 1974 FIFA World Cup winning West Germans in the only meeting of the two sides of the divided nation. East Germany won the gold medal at the 1976 Olympics. After German reunification
in 1990, the eastern football competition was reintegrated into the DFB.

1954 World Cup victory

West Germany, captained by Fritz Walter, met in the 1954 World Cup against Turkey, Yugoslavia and Austria. When playing favourites Hungary in the group stage, West Germany lost 3–8, and faced the Hungarian "Mighty Magyars" again in the final. Hungary had gone unbeaten for 32 consecutive matches, and West Germany snapped the streak by winning 3–2, with Helmut Rahn scoring the winning goal.[36] The success is called "The Miracle of Bern" (Das Wunder von Bern).[37]

Memorable losses: Wembley goal and game of the century (1958–1970)

After finishing fourth in the 1958 World Cup and reaching only the quarter-finals in the 1962 World Cup, the DFB made changes. Professionalism was introduced, and the best clubs from the various Regionalligas were assembled into the new Bundesliga. In 1964, Helmut Schön took over as coach, replacing Herberger who had been in office for 28 years.

In the

USSR in the semi-final, facing hosts England. In extra time, the first goal by Geoff Hurst was one of the most contentious goals in the history of the World Cup: the linesman signalled the ball had crossed the line for a goal, after bouncing down from the crossbar, when replays showed it did not appear to have fully crossed the line. Hurst then scored another goal giving England a 4–2 win.[38][39]

West Germany in the

Game of the Century" in both Italy and Germany.[40][41] West Germany claimed third by beating Uruguay 1–0. Gerd Müller
finished as the tournament's top scorer with 10 goals.

1974 World Cup title on home soil


In 1971, Franz Beckenbauer became captain of the national team, and he led West Germany to victory at the European Championship at Euro 1972, defeating the Soviet Union 3–0 in the final.[42][43]

As hosts of the 1974 World Cup, they won their second World Cup, defeating the Netherlands 2–1 in the final in Munich.[44] Two matches in the 1974 World Cup stood out for West Germany. The first group stage saw a politically charged match as West Germany played a game against

penalty. However, West Germany tied the match on a penalty by Paul Breitner, and won it with Gerd Müller's fine finish soon after.[46][47]

Late 1970s and early 1980s

West Germany failed to defend their titles in the next two major international tournaments. They lost to

penalty shootout 5–3,[48] their last penalty shootout loss in a major tournament as of 2022.[49]

In the 1978 World Cup, Germany was eliminated in the second group stage after losing 3–2 to Austria. Schön retired as coach afterward, and the post was taken over by his assistant, Jupp Derwall.

West Germany's first tournament under Derwall was successful, as they earned their second European title at

final, they were defeated by Italy 1–3.[54]

During this period, West Germany's Gerd Müller racked up fourteen goals in two World Cups (1970 and 1974). His ten goals in 1970 are the third-most ever in a tournament. Müller's all-time World Cup record of 14 goals was broken by Ronaldo in 2006; this was then further broken by Miroslav Klose in 2014 with 16 goals.[55]

Beckenbauer's managing success (1984–1990)

After West Germany were eliminated in the first round of Euro 1984, Franz Beckenbauer returned to the national team to replace Derwall as manager.[56] At the 1986 World Cup in Mexico, West Germany finished as runners-up for the second consecutive tournament after beating France 2–0 in the semi-finals, but losing to the Diego Maradona-led Argentina in the final, 2–3.[57][58] In Euro 1988, after drawing Italy 1–1 and beating both Denmark and Spain 2–0 in the group stage,[59] West Germany's hopes of winning the tournament on home soil were spoiled by the Netherlands, as the Dutch beat them 2–1 in the semi-finals.[60][61]

At the

Mario Zagallo
of Brazil.

Olympic football

Medal record
Olympic Games
Bronze medal – third place 1988 Seoul Team

Prior to 1984,

United Team of Germany

Berti Vogts years (1990–1998)

In February 1990, months after the fall of the

Deutscher Fußball-Verband integrated into the DFB, by which time the East Germany team had ceased operations, playing its last match on 12 September 1990. The unified Germany national team completed the European Championship qualifying group. The East German 1990–91 league continued, with a restructuring of German leagues in 1991–92. The first game with a unified Germany national team was against Switzerland on 19 December.[66]

After the 1990 World Cup, assistant Berti Vogts took over as the national team coach from the retiring Beckenbauer. In Euro 1992, Germany reached the final, but lost 0–2 to underdogs Denmark.[67] In the 1994 World Cup, they were upset 1–2 in the quarterfinals by Bulgaria.[68][69]

Reunified Germany won its first major international title at Euro 1996, becoming European champions for the third time.[70] They defeated hosts England in the semi-finals,[71] and the Czech Republic 2–1 in the final on a golden goal in extra time.[72]

However, in the 1998 World Cup, Germany were eliminated in the quarterfinals in a 0–3 defeat to Croatia, all goals being scored after defender Christian Wörns received a straight red card.[73] Vogts stepped down afterwards and was replaced by Erich Ribbeck.[74]

Erich Ribbeck and Rudi Völler years (2000–2004)

In Euro 2000, the team went out in the first round, drawing with Romania, then suffering a 1–0 defeat to England and were routed 3–0 by Portugal (which fielded their backup players, having already advanced).[75] Ribbeck resigned, and was replaced by Rudi Völler.[76]

Coming into the

Golden Ball,[81] the first time in the World Cup that a goalkeeper was named the best player of the tournament.[82]

Fans watching Germany play against Argentina in the 2006 World Cup match at the Donau Arena in Regensburg

Germany again exited in the first round of Euro 2004, drawing their first two matches and losing the third to the Czech Republic (who had fielded a second-string team).[83] Völler resigned afterwards, and Jürgen Klinsmann was appointed head coach.[84][85]

Resurgence under Klinsmann (2004–2006)

Klinsmann's main task was to lead the national team to a good showing at the

ranked only 22nd in the world entering the 2006 World Cup.[87]

As World Cup hosts, Germany won all three group stage matches to finish top of their group. The team defeated Sweden 2–0 in the round of 16,[88] and Argentina in the quarter-finals in a penalty shootout.[89][90][91] The semi-final against Italy was scoreless until near the end of extra time when Germany conceded two goals.[92] In the third place match, Germany defeated Portugal 3–1.[93]

Golden Boot for his tournament-leading five goals.[94]

Löw era (2006–2021)

Euro 2008, 2010 World Cup and Euro 2012

Germany's entry into the Euro 2008 qualifying round was marked by the promotion of Joachim Löw to head coach, since Klinsmann resigned.[95] At UEFA Euro 2008, Germany won two out of three matches in group play to advance to the knockout round.[96] They defeated Portugal 3–2 in the quarterfinal,[97] and won their semi-final against Turkey.[98] Germany lost the final against Spain 0–1, finishing as the runners-up.[99]

In the 2010 World Cup, Germany won the group and advanced to the knockout stage. In the round of 16, Germany defeated England 4–1.[100] The game controversially had a valid goal by Frank Lampard disallowed.[101][102][103] In the quarter-finals, Germany defeated Argentina 4–0,[104] and Miroslav Klose tied German Gerd Müller's record of 14 World Cup goals.[105] In the semi-final, Germany lost 1–0 to Spain.[106] Germany defeated Uruguay 3–2 to take third place (their second third place after 2006).[107] German Thomas Müller won the Golden Boot and the Best Young Player Award.[108][109]

Euro 2012 qualifiers

In Euro 2012, Germany was placed in group B along with Portugal, Netherlands, and Denmark. Germany won all three group matches. Germany defeated Greece in the quarter-final and set a record of 15 consecutive wins in all competitive matches.[110] In the semi-finals, Germany lost to Italy, 1–2.

2014 World Cup victory

Germany were placed in Group G of the 2014 World Cup,[111] with Portugal, Ghana, and the United States. They first faced Portugal in a match billed by some as the "team of all the talents against the team of The Talent (Cristiano Ronaldo)", routing the Portuguese 4–0 thanks to a hat-trick by Thomas Müller.[112][113] In their match with Ghana, they led the game with Götze's second half goal, but then conceded two consecutive goals. Klose scored a goal to level Germany 2–2, his 15th World Cup goal to join former Brazil striker Ronaldo at the pinnacle of World Cup Finals scorers. They then went on to defeat the Klinsmann-led United States 1–0, securing them a spot in the round of sixteen against Algeria.

The round of sixteen knockout match against Algeria remained goalless after regulation time, resulting in extra time. In the 92nd minute, André Schürrle scored a goal from a Thomas Müller pass. Mesut Özil scored Germany's second goal in the 120th minute. Algeria managed to score one goal in injury time and the match ended 2–1. Germany secured a place in the quarter-final, where they would face France.

In the quarter-final match against France, Mats Hummels scored in the 13th minute. Germany won the game 1–0 to advance to a record fourth consecutive semi-finals.[114]

2014 FIFA World Cup Final

The 7–1 semi-final win against Brazil was one of the most memorable games in World Cup history; Germany scored four goals in just less than seven minutes and were 5–0 up by the 30th minute with goals from Thomas Müller, Miroslav Klose, Sami Khedira and two from Toni Kroos. Germany's 7–0 in the second half was the highest score against Brazil in a single game. Germany conceded a late goal to Brazil's Oscar. It was Brazil's worst ever World Cup defeat,[115] whilst Germany broke multiple World Cup records with the win, including the record broken by Klose, the first team to reach four consecutive World Cup semi-finals, the first team to score seven goals in a World Cup Finals knockout phase game, the fastest five consecutive goals in World Cup history (four of which in just 400 seconds), and the first team to score five goals in the first half in a World Cup semi-final.[116]


Maracana in Rio de Janeiro on 13 July, and billed as the world's best player (Lionel Messi) versus the world's best team (Germany).[117][118] Mario Götze's 113th-minute goal helped Germany beat Argentina 1–0, becoming the first-ever European team to win a FIFA World Cup in the Americas and the second European team to win the title outside Europe.[119][120]

Euro 2016 to 2017 Confederations Cup

After several players retired from the team following the 2014 World Cup win, including Philipp Lahm, Per Mertesacker and Miroslav Klose, the team had a disappointing start in the UEFA Euro 2016 qualifiers. They defeated Scotland 2–1 at home, then suffered a 2–0 loss at Poland (the first in their history), a 1–1 draw against the Republic of Ireland, and a 4–0 win over Gibraltar. The year ended with an away 0–1 friendly win against Spain.

Troubles during qualifying for the 2016 European Championship continued, drawing at home, as well as losing away, to Ireland; the team also only narrowly defeated Scotland on two occasions, but handily won the return against Poland and both games against Gibraltar (who competed for the first time). They would eventually win their group and qualify for the tournament through a 2–1 victory against Georgia on 11 October 2015.

On 13 November 2015, Germany played a friendly against France in Paris when a series of terrorist attacks took place in the city, some in the direct vicinity of the Stade de France, where the game was held.[121] For security reasons, the team spent the night inside the stadium, accompanied by the French squad who stayed behind in an act of comradery.[122] Four days later, Germany was scheduled to face the Netherlands at Hanover's HDI-Arena, in another friendly. After initial security reservations, the DFB decided to play the match on 15 November.[123] After reports about a concrete threat to the stadium, the match was cancelled 90 minutes before kickoff.[124]

Germany began their campaign for a fourth European title with a 2–0 win against Ukraine on 12 June 2016. Against Poland, Germany was held to a 0–0 draw but concluded Group C play with a 1–0 win against Northern Ireland. In the Round of 16, Germany faced Slovakia and earned a comfortable 3–0 win. Germany then faced off against rivals Italy in the quarter-finals. Mesut Özil opened the scoring in the 65th minute for Germany, before Leonardo Bonucci drew even after converting a penalty in the 78th minute. The score remained 1–1 after extra time, and Germany beat Italy 6–5 in a penalty shootout. It was the first time Germany had overcome Italy in a major tournament.[125][126] The Germans lost to hosts France 2–0 in the semi-finals, their first competitive win against Germany in 58 years.[127]

Germany qualified for the

final at the Krestovsky Stadium in Saint Petersburg, Russia.[128]

Disappointment at the 2018 World Cup, 2018–19 UEFA Nations League and Euro 2020

After winning all their qualifying matches and the Confederations Cup the previous year, Germany started their 2018 World Cup campaign with a defeat to Mexico, their first loss in an opening match since the 1982 World Cup.[129] Germany defeated Sweden 2–1 in their second game via an injury-time winner from Toni Kroos, but was subsequently eliminated following a 2–0 loss to South Korea, their first exit in the first round since 1938 and first ever in the group stage since the format had been reintroduced in 1950.[130][131]

Following the World Cup, Germany's struggles continued into the inaugural UEFA Nations League. After a 0–0 draw at home against France, they lost 3–0 against the Netherlands[132] and 1–2 in the rematch against France three days later; the latter result being their fourth loss in six competitive matches.[133] These results meant that Germany could not advance to the 2019 UEFA Nations League Finals and faced the prospect of possible relegation to League B in the next Nations League.[133]

After the Netherlands' win against France, the relegation to League B was originally confirmed, but due to the overhaul of the format for the 2020–21 UEFA Nations League, Germany was spared from relegation to League B.[134]

In March 2021, the DFB announced that Löw would step down as Germany's manager after Euro 2021.[135] Later that month, Germany lost 1–2 at home to North Macedonia in the 2022 World Cup qualifiers, their first World Cup qualification defeat since losing 5–1 to England in the 2002 World Cup qualifiers and only their third in history.[136] On 25 May 2021, the DFB announced that former assistant manager Hansi Flick will replace Löw as head coach.[137]

At Euro 2020 (delayed until 2021 due to the

round of 16, their first round of 16 exit in a major tournament.[138]

Revival under Flick and 2022 World Cup disappointment (2021–present)

Following Germany's disappointment at

2022 World Cup in Qatar.[139]

In the 2022–23 Nations League, Germany recorded their first-ever competitive win against Italy as the Germans beat the visitors 5–2. This was Germany's fourth game and first win in the league, however the Germans finished third in the group.[140]

In the 2022 World Cup, Germany were drawn into Group E with Spain, Japan and Costa Rica. The campaign started with a shock 2–1 defeat to Japan.[141] Germany drew 1–1 with Spain,[142] and then were knocked out of the World Cup in the group stage for the second consecutive tournament, despite a 4–2 win over Costa Rica, missing out on a place in the knockout stages on goal difference.[143]

Team image

Kits and crest

2006 World Cup saw a widespread public display of the German national flag