Germany is known for having some of the deadliest striker in the history of football like the great Gerd Muller or Uwe Seeler. So let us see who else is among the best German attackers of all time?!
By now it’s a known fact that Germany has had some of the best strikers ever in football. this has been the case even before the Bundesliga started in 1963 with the likes of Walter brothers and the great Uwe Seeler. But since Bundesliga’s inception, German football has experienced an unbelievable surge of excellence at both club and international level. Where they were once great, Germany became unstoppable during the 60s and 70s and has continued to be a dominant force in world football ever since.
A large part of that dominance is thanks to the deadly strikers Germany has produced over the years. while Gerd Muller is a household name amongst football fans, the likes of Jupp Heynckes, Klause Fischer and Manfred Burgsmuller were almost as great as Muller, despite being overshadowed by the former Bayern Munich legend. So let us take a closer look at some of these players’ career and see who are the
best German attackers of all time
While this list could’ve easily been comprised of players from the 60s and 70s because of the sheer amount of great attackers from that era, we have tried to include players from different eras of German football as much as we can. So here are 9 greatest German attackers of all time:
First up on our list of 9 greatest German attackers of all time is none other than Werder Bremen and AS Roma legend, Rudi Voller. The 1960-born attacker started his career in the second-tier of German football with teams like Offenbach and 1860 Munich and after becoming the 2. Bundesliga top scorer in 1982 he moved to Werder Bremen in Bundesliga where he was top scorer once again. He then made his debut for Germany and went on to become one of the best German soccer players of all time.
Voller was an accomplished player at club level, although he never excelled like some of the other players on our list, but he won a fair share of prizes in his time. At club level, Voller is perhaps known for his time with Werder Bremen, AS Roma and his brief stint atMarseille
where he managed to win the Champions League in the 1992-93 season. at Werder Bremen he managed to become twice runner-up in the Bundesliga and with AS Roma with home he made almost 200 appearances with, Voller won a Coppa Italia.
However, Rudi Voller is perhaps best known for his time with the German national team, both as a player and a manager. Voller has managed to score 8 goals for Germany in World Cup competitions alone. He is also Germany’s joint-fourth top goal scorer of all time with 47 goals, alongside his longtime partner, Jurgen Klinsmann. Although, Voller has a better goal ratio than Klinsmann since he’s scored his goals in 90 matches, which is 18 fewer than that of Klinsmann.
Apart from being one of the best German attackers of all time, Rudi Voller is one of only 4 individuals (Mario Zagalo, Franz Beckenbauer and Didier Deschampes) to reach the World Cup final as both a footballer and a manager. His first World Cup final was in 1986 where he managed to score despite Germany’s loss to Argentina. However, they remedied that 4 years later in 1990 where they won the World Cup. Voller also led a Germany team that were considered to be the underdogs into the 2002 World Cup final as manager but his team lost to Ronaldo’s Brazil 2-0.
A Borussia Dortmund legend and one of the
9 greatest German attackers of all time
, Manfred Burgsmuller is the next player on our list. Burgsmuller started his career in 1968 with Rot-Weiss Essen and played until 1990 where he hung his boot up after playing for Werder Bremen for 5 years. a complete forward that could also operate as a midfielder, Burgsmuller was deadly in front of goal proven by the fact that he managed 213 goals in 447 Bundesliga matches and is the competition’s 5th top goal scorer of all time.
Despite being known for his time atBorussia Dortmund
and Werder Bremen, Manfred Burgsmuller actually caught his big break playing for Bayer Uerdingen. From 1968 till 1976, Burgsmuller had 2 spells at both Rot-Weiss Essen and Bayer Uerdingen scoring 32 and 81 goals respectively for each club. he then transferred to Dortmund in 1976 where he stayed at for 8 seasons. With the BVB, Burgsmuller was mainly deployed as a midfielder but in terms of scoring, he started hitting his career best nonetheless. In the 1980-81 season, Burgsmuller scored 27 goals in the Bundesliga which was the ebst he ever achieved in a single season.
After 8 seasons with Dortmund, Manfred Burgsmuller had a season with FC Nurnberg and then another season with the second tier team, Rot-Weiss Oberhausen but came back to Bundesliga in 1985 at the age of 36 to play for Werder Bremen, where he finally won his first Bundesliga title. despite his illustrious career at club level, Burgsmuller never got the chance to truly shine for Germany and the Essen-born attacker only appeared for Die Mannschaft 3 times and only in friendlies.
One of the best German attackers of all time and Borussia Dortmund’s top goal scorer of all time, Burgsmuller was the epitome of a German footballer. A player who worked hard at every level and hungered for success even when he was reaching his 40s. Burgsmuller retired from football in 1990 at the age of 41 and passed away in his home city of Essen in 2019.
Perhaps the most flamboyant goal scorer amongst the best German soccer players of all time is none other than the incredible Klaus Fischer. He played for 4 clubs during his career (1860 Munich, Schalke 04, Koln and Vfl Bochum) and was a deadly finisher wherever he played at, especially at Schalke where he became their all-time top goal scorer. Additionally, Fischer is the 3rd top goal scorer of all time in Bundesliga behind Gerd Muller and Robert Lewandowski with 268 goals.
Fischer started his senior career at 1860 Munich and after a couple of good seasons at the Bavarian club joined Schalke 04. He got off to a good start at Schalke but in 1971, it was revealed that the club was involved in a bribery scandal and Fischer himself was one of the players found guilty. At first he was banned for life but then his sporting ban got reduced to one year at club level and 5 at international level.
During his ban Fischer excelled at the club level and even won theBundesliga
top goal scorer award in 1976 after scoring 29 goals for Schalke. he was then called up to the German national team and went on to have an outstanding career with Die Mannschaft, appearing in two World Cup tournaments in 1978 and 1982. In the 1982 semi-final match against France, Fischer managed to score an amazing bicycle kick equalizer in the extra time which would become one of his most memorable goals.
But his most memorable goal and the best goal he ever scored was in a friendly against Switzerland in 1977 where Germany beat the Swiss 4-1. Fischer scored a bicycle goal in that match which later won the Goal of the Year, Goal of the Decade and Goal of the Century award. One of the best German attackers of all time, Klaus Fischer is a legend at Schalke 04 where he is their top goal scorer of all time with 226 goals, a record that is unlikely to be broken especially in modern football.
A legendary figure for both Germany and his club FC Kaiserslautern, Fritz Walter is a player that is often named amongst the best German soccer players, both because of his excellent career at club and international level and also because of his interesting life story. Born in 1920, Walter joinedKaiserslautern
as a youth in 1928 and stayed with the club until the end of his career. He made his senior debut for the club in 1939 and managed to score 30 goals in only 15 games in his debut season.
In 1942, Walter had the best season of his career as he scored 39 goals in 14 matches for Kaiserslautern but the realities of World War II soon caught up to him as he was drafted into the German military and was subsequently captured a year later. Walter was put in a Hungarian prison alongside his brother but because of how he played football in the prison and someone recognizing him as the famous Fritz Walter, he was saved from being sent to a Soviet Gulag.
After the war, a 24 year-old Walter came back to Germany and resumed his career. Unlike many players that were involved in the war, Walter’s footballing talents and hunger were unaffected after the war and he managed to lead Kaiserslautern to 2 German titles in 1951 and 1953. Then a year later Fritz and his brother Ottmar became the first brothers to win the World Cup together. Fritz captained Germany to that 1954 World Cup glory.
Fritz Walter managed to score 357 goals in 364 matches for Kaiserslautern and 33 goals in 61 matches for Germany. A clinical finisher both at club and international level, Walter has become a symbol in German sports’ history because of the way he persevered through war and captivity which is why he is not only one of the
best German attackers of all time
but also a member of Germany’s Sports Hall of Fame.
Next up on our list of best German soccer players is Germany’s top goal scorer of all time, Miroslav Klose. Born and raised in Poland, Klose came to Germany when he was 8 years-old but became a German citizen with the right of return because of his heritage. Although he was a reliable goalscorer at club level, Klose was a beast when it came to international football as he dominated every tournament Germany was in between 2002 and 2014.
Klose started his club career at Homburg but then transferred to Kaiserslautern in 1999 where he caught the eye of Rudi Voller who was Germany’s manager at the time. After making his debut for Germany in 2001, Klose went on to shock everyone in the 2002 World Cup by scoring 5 goals in the competition. Germany was beaten by Brazil in the final but Klose was not deterred as he scored another 5 goals in the 2006 World Cup as Germany came 3rd behind Italy and France, this time however, Klose won the Golden Boot of the tournament. Another 3rd place finish and 4 goals by Klose in the 2010 World Cup followed.
The 2014 proved to be the most memorable for Germany and Klose in particular, as he scored twice on Germany’s way to the final and became World Cup’s top goal scorer of all time by scoring 16 goals in the competition, one more than Brazil’s Ronaldo. He also became one of the few players to have won all three Gold, Silver and Bronze medals at the World Cup.
During his club career that involved him playing for Werder Bremen, Bayern Munich in Bundesliga and Lazio inSerie A
, Klose won 3 DFB-Pokals as well as 2 Bundesliga titles (both with Bayern) and a Coppa Italia with Lazio which makes him an accomplished player at club level as well and one of the reasons why he is considered to be among the best German attackers of all time. It’s doubtful that Klose’s accomplishments at international level for Germany is ever eclipsed by another player as there could be no one like Salto-Klose!
The first Ballon d’Or winner on our list is the legendary striker Karl-Heinz Rummenigge who played forBayern Munich
, where he won most of his career honors, Inter Milan and Swiss-side Servette. Known for his great technique, Rummenigge’s potency as a goal scorer increased as his career went on and under the under the guidance of Bayern Munich’s coach Pal Csernai, he became one of the best strikers Bundesliga has ever seen.
Rummenigge started his youth career at the amateur side Borussia Lippstadt but then he joined Bayern in 1974 at the age of 19. At the start of his career at Bayern Munich due to his great technique, Rummenigge was mainly used as a support striker or winger but later in his career Bayern coach Pal Csernai, used him in a more central role where Rummenigge became a great goal scorer and won the Bundesliga top goal-scorer award 3 times.
Rummenigge played a small part in Bayern’s back to back Champions League victories in 1975 and 1976 but the peak of his career came at the start of 1980s where he won 2 consecutive Bundesliga titles and 2 DFB Pokal trophies. He also managed to win the 1980 Euro with Germany. Although he didn’t have much luck when it came to World Cups as he managed to lose two World Cup finals with Germany in 1982 and 1986. However, he did manage to score 45 goals in 95 matches for Germany.
Rummenigge represented Bayern Munich in 422 matches and scored 217 goals, which makes him the 3rd best goal scorer in Bayern Munich’s history. For his achievements with Bayern and Germany he was awarded with 2 consecutive Ballon d’Or trophies in 1980 and 1981, forever cementing his place as one of the best German attackers of all time.
Many know Jupp Heynckes from his days of managing teas like Bayern Munich and Real Madrid but back in Heynckes’ heyday as a footballer in the 1960s and 1970s, Heynckes was undoubtedly one of the best German attackers of all time amongst the
list of Germany international footballers
. Heynckes represented two teams during his career, Borussia Monchengladbach and Hannover 96, and was a big part of the rivalry between Bayern Munich and Gladbach during the 1970s as well as being a big part of Germany’s success in the same decade.
After starting his senior career at his hometown club of Borussia Monchegladbach and showing great talent as a goal scorer, scoring 56 goals in 91 matches, Heynckes joined Hannover 96 in 1967 and spent 3 seasons over there, however he once again returned to Gladbach after the team had won its first ever Bundesliga trophy and helped them retain it in 1971. A series of European Cup and UEFA Cup heartbreaks followed as Heynckes and Gladbach were almost always beaten by Liverpool in the final stages of European tournaments but they managed to win the 1974-75 UEFA Cup, the same season Heynckes won his 2nd Bundesliga title.
He then went on to help Gladbach win the Bundesliga twice more in the following seasons, making it 3 consecutive titles over their rivals at the time, Bayern Munich. Heynckes had a personal rivalry too which was between him and Gerd Muller and he was able to come out on top and win the Bundesliga top scorer award twice between 1973 and 1975.
At International level however, Muller always came out on top as Heynckes was mainly used as a backup for Muller. Although Heynckes too, was a part of Germany’s 1972 Euros and 1974 World Cup victories. This with the fact that he is Bundesliga’s 4th top goal scorer of all time behind, Muller, Lewandowski and Klaus Fischer, makes Jupp Heynckes one of the best German attackers of all time and one of the greatest among the list of Germany international footballers.
When it comes to the best German attackers of all time, perhaps only Gerd Muller has achieved more than Uwe Seeler. The legendaryHamburger SV
striker started his professional career in 1953 and played until 1972, becoming one of the greatest strikers that the world has ever seen. Seeler is one of a few players who has played in 4 different World Cup tournaments between 1958 and 1970, having scored at least 2 goals in each of them. Despite never winning the competition, Seeler is one of the most accomplished World Cup players of all time and has made 21 appearances in the competition.
Seeler’s career was spent entirely at Hamburg, even at the youth level, with almost half his career spent at the old German Oberliga and the other half at the Bundesliga, even though his numbers in his days at the Oberliga were better, Seeler never lost his goal scoring potency and to this day remains at the top goal scorer of all time when it comes to the German leagues (Oberliga and Bundesliga combined) with 404 goals in league matches, above the likes of Gerd Muller and Klause Fischer.
At the club level, Seeler led Hamburd to 2 trophies. First the 1960 league title, the same year he was nominated for a Ballon d’Or and came in 3rd, and then to a DFB Pokal title in 1963. He also led Hamburg to a European Cup semi-final in the 1960-61 season alongside his brother who also played for Hamburg but HSV lost to Barcelona and failed to reach the final. In 1968 Seeler led Hamburg to the Cup Winners’ Cup final but this time was denied by AC Milan.
His time with the German national team, where he scored 43 goals in 72 matches, was kind of similar as his career with Germany was sandwiched between 2 World Cup victories in 1954 and 1974 but Seeler himself never managed to win the competition. He led Germany to the final in 1966 but came 2n in a controversial loss to the host England. Despite all of this there is no doubt that Uwe Seeler is one of the
best German soccer players
, a sporting legend and still a popular figure in Germany.
There is no one in the history of football more deserving of the term ‘Goal Machine’ than the legendary Bayern Munich striker, Gerd Muller. While the list of Germany international footballers are chuck full of great strikers, some of which we have named above, none were as clinical and as successful as Gerd Muler. Winner of2 European Golden Boots
, some of Muller’s goal scoring records have only been broken by the likes of Messi and Ronaldo only recently which considering those two’s lengthy career and Muller’s relatively shorter one, shows just how deadly a striker he was.
Muller started his career at his hometown of Nordlingen and played for the local club for a season before moving to Bayern. During his 14-season long tenure with Bayern, Muller managed to score more than 30 goals-a-season in 12 seasons. Gerd Muller won every trophy there ever was with Bayern and West Germany. With Bayern he won 4 Bundesliga titles and 4 DFB Pokal trophies, as well as 3 consecutive European Cups (now called the Champions League) from 1974 to 1976 and a European Cup Winners Cup.
He scored an incredible amount of 565 goals in 607 matches for Bayern, which earned him 7 Bundesliga top scorer award. His success at the club level was echoed in the German national team as well since Muller was a big part of Germany’s dominance in the 1970s which saw die Mannschaft win the 1972 Euros and the 1974 World Cup. he retired from international duty early at the age of 28 but he managed to have an astonishing record of scoring 68 goals in 62 matches for Germany.
Gerd Muller’s status as the greatest goal scorer ever could only be contested by the likes of Cristiano Ronaldo and Lionel Messi and even then it could be argued that Muller was the better finisher, with better goal ratio per game. He is undoubtedly one of the
best German attackers of all time
if not the best and his 2 Golden Boots and a Ballon d’Or is further proof of that.
Unfortunately, as of writing this article it was reported that Gerd Muller has passed away on 15 August of 2021 at the age of 75. the footballing world has lost a true legend this day, someone whose contribution to German football has truly been immense. Ruhe in Frieden, Der Bomber!