Uwe Seeler Biography

Wed 24 November 2021 | 7:00

He is one of the most prolific strikers in the history of German football and one of the few to score in four different World Cups. In this article, we will take a look at Uwe Seeler biography.

Uwe Seeler, born 5 November 1936 in Hamburg, Germany, is a German former international footballer, who played as a striker for Hamburg SV and the German national team. He is one of the few players, along with Brazil's Pele, Portugal's Cristiano Ronaldo and Germany's Miroslav Klose, to have scored in four different World Cups.

Uwe Seeler was born on 5 November 1936 in Hamburg. Born into a family deeply involved in football (his father Erwin and older brother Dieter were also players), he was regarded as one of the best centre-forwards of his time.

In 1972, the German Football Association awarded him the title of honorary captain of the German national team for his achievements. He shares this honour with the likes of Fritz Walter, Franz Beckenbauer and Lothar Matthäus. Pelé included him in the FIFA 100 list of the greatest living footballers.

He helped Hamburg to their third national title in 1960 by defeating Cologne in the final, where he scored twice. He was elected German footballer of the year in the same year (a title he repeated in 1964 and 1970) and finished third in the Ballon d'Or, behind the winner Suárez and Puskás, which attracted the attention of Europe's biggest clubs.

He played 72 times for the West German national team and participated in four World Cups, from 1958 to 1970, becoming the first player in the world to play 20 matches at the World Cup (21 in total) as well as the first to score in four World Cups.

All You Need to Know About Uwe Seeler Biography

With Hamburg, he scored 404 goals in 476 league games, of which 137 goals were scored in 269 Bundesliga games (created in 1963); in the national team, he scored 44 goals in 72 matches. In addition, he was the youngest player to have made his debut with the German senior national team, a record that remains unbeaten to this day.

Uwe Seeler Information

Now that we know the German footballer much better, in this section of

Uwe Seeler biography

we will share more general information about him such as

Uwe Seeler nationality

to let you know him even better.

Uwe Seeler Bio

  • Full Name: Uwe Seeler

  • Nickname: Our Uwe

  • Profession: Professional Footballer

Uwe Seeler Physical Stats

  • Weight: 65 Kg

  • Height: 1.7 m

  • Eye Color: Blue

  • Hair Color: Grey

Uwe Seeler Football Information

  • Position: Attacker

  • Jersey Number: 9

  • Professional Debut: 1953

Uwe Seeler Date of Birth and Personal Info

  • Date of Birth: 5 November 1936

  • Birth Place: Hamburg, Germany

  • Zodiac Sign: Scorpio

  • Nationality: German

Now stay tuned to this section of

Uwe Seeler biography

as we want to share some info about

Uwe Seeler childhood


Uwe Seeler Early Life

Uwe Seeler was born in Hamburg as the third child of Anny and Erwin Seeler who both came from Hamburg-Rothenburgsort and is the younger brother of Dieter Seeler. His father, who earned his living as a dockworker, had been one of the most famous footballers in the Hanseatic city from the 1920s to the 1940s.

Because he last played for

Hamburger SV

, his father also enrolled his sons Uwe and Dieter to play football for HSV in 1946. In addition, the brothers played football on the streets, and there Uwe Seeler proved to be a gifted footballer despite being younger than his playmates. Seeler experienced the bombing raids in Hamburg as a child during the Second World War.

According to Seeler, he and his siblings were raised "to be absolutely correct and honest". Seeler was raised in Frickestraße and went to school in Martinistraße. Uwe was "quiet, companionable and open" as a student, and his final report card was excellent, according to Seeler's former teacher in 1986.

Following his graduation from elementary school in Hamburg-Eppendorf, Seeler underwent an apprenticeship as a forwarding merchant with the Hamburg company Schier, Otten & Co. He also worked in field service in the port during this time.

Now stay tuned to this section of Uwe Seeler biography as we want to share some info about his playing career with HSV.

Hamburger SV

The young Uwe started playing in the youth department of Hamburg's largest sports club, the Hamburger SV, in 1946. There he was mentored by coach Günter Mahlmann. He made his first appearance for the senior team there on 5 August 1953 in a friendly match against Göttingen 05 when he was only 16 years old.

Uwe Seeler Profile

Thanks to a special permit from the DFB, from July 1954 he was permanently eligible to play for the league team (Oberliga Nord). He scored four goals in his first competitive match on 1 August 1954 in the NHV Cup match against Oberliga rivals Holstein Kiel (final score 8:2).

The strong centre-forward also scored his first Oberliga goal on his first appearance on 29 August 1954, when he made the score 2-0 in a match against

VfB Oldenburg

(final score 3-0). Right from the start, Seeler was the undisputed regular at the centre of the Hanseatic attack and quickly became an integral part of the team.

He had a fantastic goal-scoring record, and as the regular top scorer in the Oberliga Nord, he confirmed his reputation as Germany's best centre-forward. Hamburg's HSV club dominated its regional association and became North German Oberliga champions nine times in a row from 1955 to 1963.

With his team, he reached the final of the German championship in both 1957 and 1958, but was defeated twice and made do with the runners-up title. Hamburger SV again made it to the final of the German championship at the end of the 1959/60 season, facing 1. FC Köln.

After two Seeler goals, HSV won 3-2, celebrating the third title win in its club history, and Seeler won a major title himself finally. He was voted Germany's Footballer of the Year for the first time in the same year and was also generally regarded as one of the best strikers in Europe.

An offer from Inter Milan

Seeler received a really lucrative offer from Italy's top club

Inter Milan

in 1961, which offered him 1.2 million Deutschmarks - one of the highest transfer sums ever offered at the time - and caused an uproar among the fans. Adi Dassler, his friend for many years, approached Seeler and offered to take over the Adidas agency for northern Germany in order to convince him to stay in Hamburg.

However, Seeler refused and stayed in his hometown, where his fans cheered his decision. Together with his wife Ilka, he had thought long and hard about the offer from Milan, but according to his own statement, he decided in favour of "our little house, our families and our secure future". Since he was a realistic person and needed security, the decision was made to stay in Hamburg, Seeler later said.

Our Uwe

Seeler received his nickname "Uns Uwe" (Our Uwe in English) in 1961 after a cup match against Burnley FC, which, quite unusually for that time, was broadcasted in full length on television. Although HSV had lost the first leg 3-1, they went on to win the second leg 4-1 in Hamburg, triggering a national response. Richard Kirn, a journalist from Frankfurt, wrote that Seeler was now "our" Uwe for all of Germany.

The subsequent abbreviated translation into Low German developed into Seeler's nickname in the years that followed. Among his teammates, Seeler was also nicknamed "Der Dicke" (The Fat One). He won the DFB Cup with HSV in 1963. Seeler scored all the goals in the 3-0 victory over

Borussia Dortmund

in the final, becoming the first player to score three goals in a cup final.

HSV was promoted to the newly founded Bundesliga in the 1963/64 season and, following its recent successes, was also regarded as one of the favourites for the championship. But while the team ended up in a disappointing sixth place, star striker Seeler was completely unstoppable and with 30 goals secured the title of the first Bundesliga top scorer.

In 1964, as a reflection of his strong displays, Seeler was named Germany's Footballer of the Year for the second time. Seeler's career seemed to be over in February 1965 when he ruptured his Achilles tendon in a Bundesliga match in Frankfurt.

However, six months later he returned to the pitch, with a special boot handmade by Adi Dassler and laced at the back, quickly finding his way back to his old level of performance. Nevertheless, the club did not enjoy a period of success during these years and was regularly mid-table in the league. But Seeler remained loyal to the club, coming second in the scoring charts behind Gerd Müller with 23 goals in the 1968/69 season.

On the international stage, however, the Reds created more of a stir by reaching the final of the European Cup Winners' Cup in 1968 of which HSV, as DFB Cup finalists in 1967, participated because their opponents in the final,

FC Bayern München

, also participated once again as defending European Cup winners. This would be Seeler's last final.

Retirement from football

In May 1972, "Our Uwe" retired from playing football when HSV played a match against a world selection team. Seeler considered the timing of his retirement from competitive sport to be "exactly right", even years later. The double burden of football and his job had put "a lot of strain on him", and Seeler stated in 1986 in an interview with the Hamburger Abendblatt that his withdrawal from football had been "relatively easy".

Seeler only interrupted this retirement briefly once more when, following a request from the sporting goods manufacturer Adidas, a company with which he had professional ties, for a guest appearance at Cork Celtic in the Irish First Division on 23 April 1978. In his own words, Seeler was unaware that this was a league match because he did not know that guest players could also be registered for league matches in the Irish league. In the 2:6 defeat against

Shamrock Rovers,

he scored both goals.

Now stay tuned to this section of

Uwe Seeler biography

as we want to share some info about his career on the international stage.

West Germany national team

Seeler was a member of the U18 national team that won 3-2 against


in Liège on 31 March 1953, the first FIFA tournament for this age group. He played ten times for the team and scored 15 goals, of which four came on 11 April 1954 in a 6-1 victory over Saarland in Wuppertal.

When the young striker's qualities came to his attention, national coach Sepp Herberger called him up to the senior national team on 16 October 1954, where Seeler made his debut at the age of just 17 in the 3-1 defeat against



1958 World Cup

However, it was at the 1958

World Cup

in Sweden that Seeler established himself as a top international star, where he formed the forward line together with Helmut Rahn and Hans Schäfer. In each of the group matches against Argentina and Northern Ireland, he scored a goal.

The end for Germany came in the semi-final against Sweden, in which Seeler was injured and unable to play in the third-place match against France. He also featured once for the U23 national team that year, when he was involved in a 4-1 win over the Belgium selection team in Wuppertal on 26 February.

1962 World Cup

Seeler donned the captain's armband for the first time in the 1961 match against Denmark. The striker, who was only 1.68 m tall, managed a hat-trick with three headed goals in the 5:1 victory. As in the HSV, he had now risen to become a combative role model and leader in the national team. In the 1962 World Cup in Chile, Seeler was the German team's main striker.

The Germans won their group with ease, and Seeler contributed two goals. However, this was followed by disappointment in the quarter-finals, as Germany was knocked out and sent home after a 1-0 defeat by Yugoslavia. Shortly after the World Cup, team captain Hans Schäfer retired from the national team and from then on Seeler was the new captain.

1966 World Cup

Seeler was fit again in time after his serious Achilles tendon injury in 1965, with the captain leading his team to the 1966 World Cup finals in


with a goal in a 2-1 victory over Sweden. At the World Cup, the German team had strong performances, in part due to the new national players Franz Beckenbauer, Wolfgang Overath and Sigfried Held.

With Seeler scoring the decisive goal in the 2-1 victory over Spain, Germany won their group. They swept aside Uruguay 4-0 in the quarter-finals (a Seeler goal to make it 3-0 in the interim). The Soviet Union were crushed 2-1 in the semi-finals and Seeler and his team made it to the World Cup final against hosts England.

At the legendary final at Wembley Stadium, Germany was defeated 2:4 and finished as runners-up in the World Cup. The photo of the German captain creeping off the pitch with his head down following the final whistle has become famous.

1970 World Cup

Seeler declared his retirement from the national team in 1968, however, he gave in to the urging of coach Helmut Schön and came back into the team, as the coach wanted to add more international experience to the squad by using Seeler. The 33-year-old played behind Gerd Müller at the 1970 World Cup tournament in Mexico.

The re-appointed captain's contribution paid off; he scored against Morocco and Bulgaria in the group stage. His experience benefited the entire team. He scored probably the strangest goal of his international career in the quarter-final against defending champions England when he headed the ball into the goal with the back of his head shortly before the end to equalise the score at 2:2.

In the semi-finals, the German team was knocked out by Italy in a dramatic match and came third after a 1:0 win against Uruguay. He was one of the best players of the World Cup despite his age.

Retirement from the national team

On his last, 72nd international match against Hungary on 9 September 1970, he broke Paul Janes' record, which had stood since 1942. The record was held until 24 November 1973, when Franz Beckenbauer surpassed it.

Seeler scored 43 goals, his last being the 2:2 in the quarter-final against England at the 1970 World Cup, which gave him the best goal-scoring record of any German player with more than 70 caps (Gerd Müller only played 62 caps). He participated in 1958, 1962, 1966 and 1970 World Cups, playing in a total of 21 international matches.

Now stay tuned to this section of Uwe Seeler biography as we want to share some info about his playing style.

Style of Play

He was considered a clever striker who filled the penalty area with surprising actions such as back-heeled goals or explosive bicycle kicks and was also capable of dealing with demanding situations when he had his back to the opponent's box. He was credited with these aspects, his fighting spirit and helping his colleagues, as further facets of an otherwise quite modern striker.

Notwithstanding his short stature, Seeler was deployed quite early and subsequently for much of his career as a centre-forward who was always able to provide plenty of goals. At that time, as today, his hard-working style of play was often mentioned, but never discussed to its extent. However, how far Seeler often let himself fall back and thereby performed various tasks in deeper zones for the team has too seldom been explicitly highlighted.


Uwe Seeler is one of Germany's all-time great footballers. His optimistic character and the ability to see life and sport from the right side have all contributed to his success. As a living legend in Hamburg, Uwe Seeler has always been seen as a great warrior, brilliant, loyal and humble.

Uwe Seeler outside Football

Uwe Seeler worked as a representative for Adidas from 1961 onwards and founded a clothing company called "Uwe-Seeler-Moden" after the end of his career. He was also one of the first German players to do commercials in film and television (for aftershave lotion, among other things). He was also the owner of a petrol station at that time. While working for Adidas, Seeler travelled some 40,000 kilometres a year in his car.

Seeler founded the "Schneeforscher e.V." in 1980 together with Franz Beckenbauer and Willi Holdorf, among others. The members of this group of friends always came together at the beginning of December in Obertauern for a joint skiing holiday.

In public, Seeler is mostly known as a down-to-earth, sincere, honest and simple person. Besides his sporting fairness - he was sent off only once in his long career in 1970 - and the fact that he rejected the eye-catching offer to move to Inter Milan in 1961 for the then very high sum of 1.2 million Deutschmarks, Seeler's image is also based on his close ties to his homeland, where he has lived for decades next to the former HSV football training ground.

Uwe Seeler made a brief cameo appearance in the 1971 film Willi wird das Kind schon schaukeln with Heinz Erhardt and Hannelore Elsner. In this film, he played himself. He took over the position of "Schildkröte" in a guest appearance on Dittsche on 10 April 2005. In episode 273 Ungeschriebene Gesetze (Unwritten Laws) of the TV series Großstadtrevier, which was set in Hamburg and aired in spring 2009, Seeler played himself.

Uwe Seeler Personal Life

In this section of Uwe Seeler biography, we will take a deeper look into his personal life and share some information about things like

Uwe Seeler life story


Uwe Seeler religion

, stay tuned.

Family, Children and Relationships

On 18 February 1959, Seeler married his girlfriend Ilka, with whom he had met at a New Year's Eve ball in 1953, in the St. Johannis church in Hamburg-Eppendorf. They have three daughters and seven grandchildren. Uwe Seeler is living with his wife in Norderstedt near Hamburg.

Levin Öztunali, his grandson, is also a professional footballer and since 2021 has played for Union Berlin. His father, Erwin, and his older brother, Dieter, also played football, including for Hamburg's HSV.

Hans-Joachim Seeler, a former member of the German parliament, was Seeler's second cousin. His sons, Christian Seeler, former manager of the Ohnsorg Theatre, and Joachim Seeler, a former member of the Hamburg Parliament, are thus Uwe Seeler's third cousins.


Seeler has been active in different charity projects during his career. For example, he established a traditional national team (Uwe-Seeler-Traditionself) with approximately 60 former professionals, which played 10 to 15 charity matches per year with a changing line-up.

Seeler has also been involved as a SchrittMacher for the Tom Wahlig Foundation since 2008, which is dedicated to researching and curing spastic spinal paralysis.

Legal Issues

At the time of writing this article, there are no reports of any legal issues or disputes regarding Uwe Seeler in either German or English media.

Uwe Seeler Career Statistics

In this section of Uwe Seeler biography, we will take a look at his career stats on the international and club level.


As a single-club footballer, between 1954 and 1972, Uwe Seeler played a total of 580 matches in all competitions for Hamburger SV, scoring 491 goals.


He was also part of the West German national football team for 16 years between 1954 and 1970, where he played a total of 72 matches and scored 43 goals.

Uwe Seeler Honors

With the Hamburger SV club, Seeler was able to win the German football championship in the 1959-60 season and also the DFB-Pokal four years later.

He also finished runner-up with the West


national team in the 1966 World Cup and third-placed in the 1970 World Cup in Mexico.

The list of his notable personal awards and titles includes Ballon d'Or third place, Germany Footballer of the Year (three times),


Top Scorer, FIFA World Cup All-Star Team, FIFA 100 and many others.

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