Best defenders in Bundesliga history
Bundesliga is Germany's primary football competition and one of the largest and most entertaining national football leagues in the world. Bundesliga has the most average attendance among other leagues and, it's broadcast on television in over 200 countries. Bundesliga was founded in 1962 and, its first season took place in 1963 and till now, there have been 57 seasons. It's worth mentioning that every year the winner of the Bundesliga receives Meisterschale (Champions' Plate.)
Amongst all 18 teams that compete in the Bundesliga, Bayern Munich has won the most titles with 29 ones. Other clubs that posess the most Bundesliga titles are:
- Borussia Dortmund (5 titles)
- Borussia Mönchengladbach (5 titles)
- Werder Bremen (4 titles)
- Hamburger SV (3 titles)
- VfB Stuttgart (3 titles)
Surely, a huge part of Bundesliga and the German clubs' success is due to the players. Every year clubs spend a large amount of money to bring some good players into their team. Including capable goalkeepers, strikers, midfielders, and, clearly, defenders.
A part of football is defending as well as attacking. They have a strong relationship, affect each other and in fact, they complete each other. In order to succeed clubs must be complete, which means they should have a very good attack as well as a good defense. Without this balance, the clubs will fail and we have seen many examples of this throughout the years.Here in this article, we want to review the Greatest Bundesliga defenders of all time to see who brought this balance to the German clubs with their defending abilities.
Who are the best defenders in bundesliga history?
Here are the individuals that we think are the best bundesliga defenders of all time. It must be stated that this list has no particular order. Enjoy.
Franz Beckenbauer is the first individual in the list of the best defenders in bundesliga history. He played most of his career at Bayern Munich, winning numerous domestic and international titles as a captain. His achievements with Die Roten are included:
- Bundesliga: 5 times
- DFB-Pokal: 4 times
- European Cup: 2 times
- UEFA Cup Winners' Cup: 1 time
- Intercontinental Cup: 1 time
- UEFA Cup:1 time
- Regionalliga Süd: 1 time
He made his debut with Bayern Munich on 6 June 1964 in a Bundesliga promotion play-off match against FC St. Pauli. He then went to make over 400 appearances with Bayern but in 1977 he left Munich and played for New York Cosmos. He then returned to Bundesliga and joined Hamburger SV, where he won a Bundesliga title. Finally, he came back to New York Cosmos and retired in 1983.
In his Bayern spell, he was known as "Der Kaiser "(The Emperor) because of his commanding presence and elegance on the pitch. At the beginning of his career, he played as a midfielder but later he changed his role to a sweeper. Many believe that actually, he invented that role.
He was named European Footballer of the Year and received Ballon d'Or twice which proves the fact that he is one of the best defenders in bundesliga history.We can boldly state that he is one of the greatests!
Former German footballer, Paul Breitner generally played nine years for Bayern throughout two different spells. He played as a full-back or box-to-box midfielder.Paul Breitner, whose name is in the list of bundesliga best defenders of all time, was born on 5 September 1951 in Kolbermoor, Bavaria, West Germany, and actually started his professional career at Die Roten. But before that, he was a part of SV-DJK Kolbermoor and ESV Freilassing youth teams from 1957 till 1970.Finally, in 1970, he signed Bayern Munich and stayed there four years in his first stint with the club. Some believe that four years truly defined him as a legendary player.
He was an important individual in Bayern's games during that period and managed to win three Bundesliga titles, one DFB Pokal Cup, and the European Cup with the club. Capable of both defending and attacking, he was very versatile, creative, and skillful at linking the ball.
In 1974 he joined Real Madrid, stayed there for three years and won La Liga plus Copa del ray, moved to Eintracht Braunschweig for a year, then returned to Bayern Munich for his second stint.His second spell with Die Roten might not be as good as his first but, he was beneficial during that period as well. Definitely he is one of the best defenders in bundesliga history.
The former German right-back Manfred Kaltz is next in the bundesliga best defenders ever list. He has the second-highest appearances in Bundesliga history, playing a total of 581 Bundesliga games which, all of it was with Hamburger SV.He also played 13 games on Ligue 1 's FC Mulhouse side and scored one goal shortly after he joined their rival Girondins de Bordeaux in 1989. It also must be mentioned that he played for Hamburger on two different stints. One before going to Ligue 1 and one after he came back in 1989.
He was called up to the first team a year later he joined the Hamburger youth team in 1970. And since then he won three Bundesliga titles with them and was part of the squad that won the 1980 UEFA European Championships. Unfortunately, he was forced to leave Hamburg, when the authorities decided they don't want him. He returned when they allow him to finish his career at his old club.
One thing that he is well-known for and established his place among the best defenders in bundesliga history is his crossing ability. His crosses are known as banana crosses because they curved like a banana.He formed an excellent partnership with the striker Horst Hrubesch who owed a lot of his goals to Kaltz's crosses.
Hans-Hubert "Berti" Vogts is a German footballer who played as a right-back and established himself as one of the best defenders in bundesliga history from the mid-'60s to late70's.The Geman defender played his whole professional career in Borussia Mönchengladbach.Many consider the 1960s and '70s, Mönchengladbach's golden era, and Vogts was the part of that squad, winning the Bundesliga five times, the German Cup once, and the UEFA Cup twice.
Born on 30 December 1946 in Büttgen, Germany, Vogts joined the youth team of VfR Büttgen in 1954 at an early age till 1965 when he began his senior career with Borussia Mönchengladbach.He was one of the Mönchengladbach's key factors and helped the team a lot alongside so many great players such as Allan Simonsen Jupp Heynckes, etc.
He was a strong right-back whose tenacity brought him the nickname "The Terrier."He always fought for every ball like it was his last time. He also was a solid goal-scoring defender.He managed to score 40 goals for Mönchengladbach which is pretty good for a defender.
After making Vogts 419 Bundesliga appearances for his team, he retired as one of the bundesliga best defenders ever in 1979.Later, he began managing in and had managed teams like Germany, and Scotland. He actually won the Euro 96 with Germany.
Here we have another loyal player among the Greatest defenders in bundesliga Era who stayed his whole career in one club. German center back Hans-Georg Schwarzenbeck played for Bayern Munich throughout his whole playing career.
Acctually,he was born in Munich on 3 April 1948. At first, he was a part of the Sportfreunde München youth team for a year but then joined Die Roten junior team in 1962. After four years, he eventually began his professional career with The Bavarians, making his debut in the 1967 German Cup final against Hamburg in which Bayern won.
Known as The "Kaiser's Bodyguard" which Kaiser was Franz Beckenbauer's nickname, he formed a partnership with him at the heart of Die Roten's defense and they guarded the team's net very well.
Schwarzenbeck's most memorable moment was probably in the 1974 European Cup final against Atlético Madrid when The Red and Whites took the lead in extra time with a goal by Luis Aragonés. But in the last minute of the match, Schwarzenbeck prevented Atlético to win the cup when he equalized the match with a long-range shot. The match ended up in a draw and Bayern won the replay two days later.Having a total of 416 Bundesliga appearances and 21 goals he has definitely earned his place amongst the Greatest defenders in bundesliga Era.
Austrian footballer David Olatukunbo Alaba is currently playing for Bayern Munich and has been with The Bavarians since 2010,making over 350 appearances for Bayern.
Through the years he proved to be the best defenders in bundesliga history and helped Die Roten to win a total of 20 titles, including nine Bundesliga titles and the UEFA Champions League in 2013 and 2020.He has achieved individuals honors as well such as the Austrian Footballer of the Year award which, he has won six consecutive years. In addition he was named in the UEFA Team of the Year three times.
He was born on 24 June 1992 in Vienna and started football when he was nine years old. He first joined his local youth club, SV Aspern, then came to FK Austria Wien and finally got his way to Bayern's youth academy. After playing for a season for the reserve team, he made his first-team debut against Fiorentina on 9 March 2010.
As a versatile player, Alaba has played in several positions, including central midfield, central defense, right, and left-wing, but he mostly plays as a left-back.He also plays for his national team and was capped more than 70 times.In the new season, he has represented Bayern ten times till now.
German former footballer and manager Matthias Sammer played his career from the mid-'80s till the late 90s and has represented several clubs such as VfB Stuttgart, Inter Milan, and Borussia Dortmund. He was awarded the Ballon d'Or in 1996 and is one of the best bundesliga defenders of all time.
Born on 5 September 1967 in Dresden, East Germany, Sammer's journey began when he joined Dynamo Dresden's youth team. Then in the 1985–86 season, he made his debut for the club's senior team. It's worth mentioning that the manager of the club at that time was his father, Klaus Sammer.
Within the reunification of Germany, he was transferred to VfB Stuttgart in 1990. He helped the team to win Bundesliga and became the first champion of the reunified Germany.After two years, he left Bundesliga and joined the Serie A club, Inter Milan but returned to his previous league after a season and joined Dortmund.
The real starring of this player was with Die Borussen where he won two Bundesligas and DFL-Supercups, one UEFA Champions League, and one Intercontinental Cup.
He played at different positions which shows how versatile he is. For most of his professional career he played as a defensive midfielder but most of the time he played as a libero at Dortmund. He even played as a striker when he was playing for Dynamo Dresden.
He is now 53 and lives in Munich with his family.
In the continuation of the Greatest Bundesliga defenders of all time list, we have the German former footballer Klaus Augenthaler who played as a center-back and sometimes, as a sweeper. He also was a manager and managed teams like 1. FC Nürnberg, Bayer Leverkusen, VfL Wolfsburg, etc.
Having won seven Bundesliga titles, three German Cup, and a 1990 World Cup winners' medal, Augenthaler is the most successful individual in Bundesliga history. Plus, he won the DFB-Supercup twice in 1987 and 1990. It's worth mentioning that he stayed at one club, Bayern Munich for his whole professional career. He had been a part of The Bavarians squad for about 15 years, appearing in 404 matches in Bayern's jersey.
One of his notable moments was on 19 August 1989 when he scored a goal from the halfway line against Eintracht Frankfurt and gave Bayern the lead. The goal was named the goal of the season and by many, the goal of the decade.
Another skill that makes him one of the best defenders in bundesliga history, was his ability to read the game and control the match. His nickname 'Auge' which is his surname but meaning "the eye" as well, was given to him because of this ability. He also capped 27 times for Germany.
Bayern Munich's former captain stayed in Bundesliga for all of his playing period. He won many championships with Die Roten including 8 Bundesliga titles, 6 DFB Pokals, and 1 Champions League as part of the Treble.
His journey with The Bavarians began in 1995 when he joined Bayern's junior team from his hometown club FT Gern München in Gern, Munich. Born on 11 November 1983, Lahm joined the reserve team at 17 and soon became the captain.He made his debut for the first team on 13 November 2002 in a Champions League match against RC Lens. Unfortunately, after that season, he was loaned to VfB Stuttgart because Bayern at that time was very well-staffed so he hadn't played enough games.But after a two-year successful loan stint at Stuttgart, Lahm came back to Bayern to build his legacy and became one of the best defenders in bundesliga history.
Over the years, he has been praised for his abilities, such as being able to play on both sides of the pitch, tackling skills, tactical intelligence, and so on.Known as the "Magic Dwarf" due to his small built, he proved that you don't need to be big and tuff to be a good defender. Lahm can easily be one of the greatest full backs of all time. He also appeared more than 100 times for and lifted the 2014 FIFA world cup as the captain of the team.
You Might Also Like: Best Bayern Munich Midfielders of all time
Many might remember Andreas Brehme for his penalty kick in the 1990 FIFA World Cup Final against Argentina, which gave the Germans the lead and caused their victory. But, he also had a great career at the clubs he played for.Performing at several clubs, he has won different titles in different competitions such as Serie A, the UEFA Cup, DFB-Pokal, and Bundesliga.He spent most of his professional career in Bundesliga,playing for the teams HSV Barmbek-Uhlenhorst,1. FC Kaiserslautern,and Bayern Munich.
His first spell was in Barmbek-Uhlenhorst, his city's local side and then he started his stint with 1. FC Kaiserslautern in 1981 before joining Bayern Munich. After playing at Bavaria, he went to Inter Milan, staying four years there. His next destination was LaLiga's Zaragoza, where he stayed for just a season, then returned to Kaiserslautern and retired there.
Generally, Brehme was a defender capable of attacking and scoring goals. Possessing an accurate powerful shot, he scored at every team he played at. He was one of the greatest free-kick takers and crossers of all time as well. And let's not forget that his stamina, defensive skills, versatility, and technical ability are charitable too.
He retired in 1998 with 301 Bundesliga appearances. He also capped 86 times for Germany and won the 1990 FIFA World Cup with his national team.
Jérôme Agyenim Boateng is the last footballer in the list. He is a German Centre-back who has played for Bayern Munich since 2011. He has won many domestic and international league titles with Die Roten including eight Bundesliga titles and two champions leagues. Actually, he was a part of both Bayern squads that won the continental treble in 2012 and 2019, making The Bavarians the second European club in history to achieve that honor twice.
Born on 3 September 1988 in Berlin, Boateng started football when he was 6 with the youth team of Tennis Borussia Berlin. Then he joined the youth team of Hertha BSC in 2002.His senior career began when he joined a team of Hertha BSC and after one or two years he came to the first-team.His next destination was Hamburger SV on 22 August 2007 and become an important part of the team in both his years at the club, reaching the semi-finals of the UEFA Europa League.Eventually, after 24 appearances for Manchester City, he was transferred to Bayern with a €13.5 million fee.His debut came on 27 July 2011 when he came as a substitute in a match against Milan.
As one of the best defenders in bundesliga history, Boateng has both Physical and mental strength plus good passing and liking abilities. His versatility is also notable.