Sunday, January 24, 2016

East German players after 1990

East Germany's last ever match vs Belgium in 1990

Please also see my All-Time World Cup Team Index.

After the reunification of  Germany in 1990, East German football seemed to have disappear.  At the 2014 WC Finals, only one German Toni Kroos was born in the former East Germany on the national team.  East German clubs seldom appeared in the top level of Bundesliga. At the time of writing, no East German club is playing there.

In actuality, East Germany did well immediately after the Reunification.  They produced a number of good German players after the reunification. Jorg Bohme, Matthaus Sammer,Thomas Doll, Andreas Thom, Thomas Linke, Michael Ballack, Carsten Jancker, Ulf Kirsten, Steffen Freund, Dariusz Wosz, Jens Jeremies, Bernd Schneider, Tim Borowski, Marko Rehmer, Marcel Schmelzer, Robert Enke, René Adler and Toni Kroos were all born in East Germany.

In fact, East Germany won the 1986 European Under-18 Championship beating the talented Yugoslavia in the quarterfinal.  At the World Youth Championship in 1987, they narrowly lost to Yugoslavia and finished 3rd.  Matthias Sammer was the star of the team.  I believe East Germany might have their Golden era from1996 to 2006.

In 1998, Olaf Marschall and Jens Jeremies went to the World Cup Finals.  East Germany could select Carsten Jancker, Thomas Linke, Bernd Schneider, Jens Jeremies, Steffen Freund and Ulf Kiirsten.  Thomas Doll, Andreas Thom, Matthias Sammer and Dariusz Wosz were old, but they would probably make it to the WC Finals.  Michael Ballack who was 21 years old in 1998 and just made his first Bundesliga in 1998 might be included.

In 2002, Ballack, Jancker, Schneider, Bohme, Jeremies, Linke, and Rehmer went to Japan/Korea. In addition, Kirsten was a regular starter for Leverkusen that season as they finished runner-up at the CL that season. Enke was already capped by Germany and would have been the started for the East German NT. Tim Borowski made his NT debut a month after the WC Finals. He probably would have made the East German team as well.  Robert Huth was an emerging player with Chelsea in 2002, but had not made his professional debut.

If there were an All-Time World Cup, this would be the 23 players I would bring to the tournament.  The team is not an All-Star team. I tried to be as realistic as possible.   A few of the players are selected for tactical reasons at the expense of more famous players.

Team
GK: René Adler
Adler started at age six playing for VfB Leipzig's youth side. After nine years for Leipzig, Adler joined the youth system of Bayer 04 Leverkusen in 2000. He signed a five-year contract at Bundesliga rivals Hamburger SV in 2012.  He made his debut for Germany on 11 October 2008 in a World Cup qualifier against Russia. Despite having been confirmed as Germany's main team goalkeeper for the World Cup, a serious rib injury prevented him from travelling to South Africa. 
Rene Alder

GK: Robert Enke
Enke most notably played for Benfica and Barcelona, but made the majority of his appearances for Bundesliga side Hannover 96 in his homeland. He won eight full international caps for the German national team between the 1999 Confederations Cup and his death in 2009, and was part of the squad which finished as runners-up in Euro 2008.

GK: René Müller
Müller was first-choice goalkeeper of the East German national team for much of the 1980s, and was twice East German Footballer of the Year. He played for 1. FC Lokomotive Leipzig for fourteen years, and later had spells with FC Sachsen Leipzig, Dynamo Dresden and FC St. Pauli.

RB: Clemens Fritz 

Having begun his career at Rot-Weiß Erfurt and Karlsruher SC, he joined Bayer Leverkusen in 2003. In 2006 he moved to Werder Bremen, winning the DFB-Pokal and helping them to the UEFA Cup final in 2009. Across all competitions, he has played over 300 matches for Bremen. In a two-year international career for Germany starting in 2006, he earned 22 caps and scored two goals. He was part of their team which finished as runners-up at UEFA Euro 2008.

CB/RB: René Schneider
He played mostly for Hansa Rostock and Borussia Dortmund. During his time at Dortmund he gained a Champions League medal in 1997, making one appearance en route to the final.  He played for Germany national football team and was a participant at the 1996 UEFA European Championship.


CB: Thomas Linke
Linke was remembered as a hard-nosed tackler with tremendous heading ability, and played in 13 Bundesliga seasons in representation of Schalke 04 and Bayern Munich, totalling 340 games.  Having gained his first cap for Germany in his late 20's, Linke went on to represent the nation in one World Cup and one European Championship.
Thomas Linke

CB: Robert Huth
Huth was signed for Chelsea from the youth system of German club 1. FC Union Berlin in 2001. He joined Middlesbrough in August 2006 for a fee of £6 million. He spent three years at the Riverside. In 2009, Huth signed for Stoke City for a then-club record fee of £5 million.  He was unable to force his way back into the team and he joined Leicester on loan in January 2015, helping them to win the Premier League title in 2016. Capped 19 times.

CB: Marko Rehmer
Rehmer played for hometown 1. FC Union Berlin; he arrived in the first division at almost 25, joining former East Germany's F.C. Hansa Rostock during the 1997 winter transfer window. For the following six years, Rehmer played with another club from his city, Hertha BSC; being an important defensive unit as the side always made the UEFA Cup in the first four seasons.

SW: Matthias Sammer
He was capped by East Germany before the unification.  He won the Euro 1996 with Germany and a Champions' League in 1997.  He won the Ballon D'Or in 1996 after winning the Euro 1996 with the unified Germany.  He won the Champions' League in 1997 with Borussia Dortmund.
Matthias Sammer

LB: Marcel Schmelzer
He started his professional career with Borussia Dortmund, making his first appearance on 9 August 2008.  Capped 18 times.

LB/LM: Jörg Heinrich
After spells with various small clubs in East Germany, Heinrich joined amateur side Kickers Emden in the summer of 1990. In the summer of 1994, he left Kickers Emden for Bundesliga side SC Freiburg. In 1997, he also won the UEFA Champions League with Borussia Dortmund, playing all 90 minutes in their 3–1 victory over Juventus in the Final. In 1998, Heinrich moved to Italian club ACF Fiorentina and continued to play there in the following two seasons before returning to Borussia Dortmund in the summer of 2000.  Capped 37 times.  He started at the WC Finals in France.

DM: Steffen Freund
He started his career at Stahl Brandenburg in East Germany.  In 1991 he was transferred to FC Schalke 04 and he established himself as an important midfield player. Schalke were forced to sell Freund due to financial reasons in 1993 to Borussia Dortmund where he stayed until 1998. During his time at Dortmund, he won the league twice in 1995 and 1996 and gained a Champions League medal in 1997. After this he transferred to English premiership club Tottenham Hotspur where he stayed until 2003 and is famous for having never scored a goal. He did however win the League Cup with Spurs in 1999.  He won UEFA Euro 1996 with Germany and also competed in the FIFA World Cup 1998.
Steffen Freund

CM/DM: Jens Jeremies
Best known for his tackling abilities, he played for three clubs during his professional career, most notably Bayern Munich which he helped to 16 titles, 12 as an important unit, in a career also marred by many injuries. Jeremies won 55 caps for Germany, representing the nation in two World Cups and as many European Championships and helping it finish second in the 2002 World Cup.

DM: Tim Borowski
He spent 11 years of his 12-year professional career with Werder Bremen, amassing Bundesliga totals of 236 games and 32 goals and winning three major titles, including the 2004 national championship. Borowski played 33 times for the German national team, and represented the country at the 2006 World Cup and Euro 2008.


CM: Toni Kroos
A member of Bayern Munich's first team at the age of 17, Kroos played in a 18-month loan spell at Bayer Leverkusen, before going back to Munich and winning back-to-back Bundesliga titles and the 2012–13 Champions League. After winning the FIFA World Cup in 2014, he joined Real Madrid on a six-year contract. In Madrid, he won the 2015–16 UEFA Champions League and was elected to the Team of the Season in all his last three Champions'. In 2014, he was elected to the UEFA Team of the Year and the FIFPro World XI, as well as the IFFHS World's Best Playmaker. He was a key player for Germany since 2010.  He won the WC in 2014 as one of Germany's star players.
Toni Kroos
CM: Bernd Schneider
Nicknamed Schnix by fans and teammates, Schneider started out at his hometown club Carl Zeiss Jena and made a name for himself during his decade-long stint at Bayer Leverkusen. He earned the nickname "The White Brazilian" for his dribbling and passing skills as well as his accurate free kicks and corners.  Capped 81 times.  He was a key player at the WC Finals in 2006.

CM: Michael Ballack 
Born in East Germany, Ballack was the best German player of his generation. first made his name with Bayer Leverkusen, helping them to the Final of the Champions' League in 2002. On the same summer, he helped Germany reaching the Final of Japan/Korea 2002.  He moved to Bayern Munich after the WC Finals.  he also played for Chelsea before his retirement.



AM: Thomas Doll
Doll began his career with local side BSG Lokomotiv Malchin, before joining East German first-division DDR-Oberliga side Hansa Rostock. In 1986 he was transferred to Berliner FC Dynamo, where he won two East Germany titles (in 1987 in 1988). After reunification Doll was one of the most sought-after players of coming out of the former East Germany.  He played as an attacking midfielder for Hamburger SV, Lazio, Eintracht Frankfurt and Bari. He played for both East Germany and Germany.  He went to Euro 1992 for Germany.

LW: Jorg Bohme
As a professional he has played for FC Carl Zeiss Jena, 1. FC Nürnberg, Eintracht Frankfurt, 1860 München, Arminia Bielefeld, FC Schalke 04 and Borussia Mönchengladbach. On club level he won two German Cup trophies with FC Schalke 04.  Capped 10 times and participated in the 2002 FIFA World Cup, where Germany finished as runners-up.

AM: Dariusz Wosz
Born in Poland, he started his career in East Germany. He started with Chemie Halle in 1984.  Wosz was transferred to VfL Bochum in toward the end of the 1991–92 season. As captain, he led Bochum to its biggest success yet: the third round of the 1997–98 UEFA Cup which was lost 4–6 on aggregate to Ajax Amsterdam.  He also played for Hertha Berlin.  Capped 7 times for East Germany and 17 times for Germany.  He went to Euro 2000.

FW: Andreas Thom
Thom played as a forward for Dynamo Berlin, Bayer Leverkusen, Celtic and Hertha Berlin. He played 51 times for East Germany throughout the 1980s and played 10 times for the unified German national team in the early 1990s. He went to Euro 1992.
Andreas Thom

ST: Carsten Jancker
Jancker played between 1993 and 2009 for various teams including FC Köln, Rapid Wien, FC Bayern Munich, Udinese Calcio, FC Kaiserslautern, Shanghai Shenhua F.C., and SV Mattersburg. Capped 33 times for Germany.

ST: Ulf Kirsten
Started with Dynamo Dresden.  He was one of the first East German footballers to enter the Bundesliga after the German reunification. In the German Bundesliga he played 350 matches for Bayer Leverkusen and scored 182 goals.  Kirsten's 100 caps are almost evenly split: 49 for East Germany and 51 for the re-unified Germany. Kirsten played for his country at the 1994 and 1998 World Cups and Euro 2000.
Ulf Kirsten

Honorable Mention
Olaf Marschall, Uwe Rosler, Rainer Ernst, Rico Steinmann

Squad Explanation
-- All players were born in East Germany still under GDR.
-- The third keeper is tough. Ronny Teuber, Dirk Heyne and Rene Muller were considered.  Hayne and Muller were East German internationals who played in the Bundesliga. I took Muller because he was better-known as a East German player.

Formation





Saturday, January 16, 2016

Maradona vs England (1980)

Diego Maradona dribbled past four English defenders on right wing. With the goalkeeper to beat, he shot.... and missed.  No, I was not imagining an alternative result of the 1986 WC quarterfinal match between England and Argentina in Mexico.  On May 13th, 1980, Argentina met England for a friendly match at Wembley stadium.  A year earlier, Argentina won the World Youth Cup in Japan.  Maradona was the star of the tournament.  In London that day, he was 19 years old.  The English players knew about his reputation as the next great player, but when he entered the field that day, they thought the short, Argentine was the mascot.  

Background: The Falkland Wars had not happened.  The rivalry between the two sides existed, but was not as intense.  Argentina was the reigning World Cup winner while England missed the previous, two World Cup Finals.  The match was a part of Argentina's European tour and England's preparation match for Euro 1980.  Kevin Keegan won two Ballon d'Or in 1978 and 1978. In two's time, he would play in the European Cup Final against Nottingham Forrest.  Liverpool was a top side in Europe.  Five of England's starting eleven came from Liverpool, perhaps the top side in Europe. Osvaldo Ardiles and Mario Kempes were not on Argentina's team.  


Diego Maradona was brilliant throughout the match.  In the first half, the moment came.  He dribbled past 4 defenders. With Ray Clemence to beat, he shot wide to the left.  I have been told that Maradona regretted about not dribbling past Clemence before shooting.   Six years later, he again dribbled past the English defenders.  With Peter Shilton,  he decided to cut to his right and dribbled past the keeper before shooting.  The 1986 goal was very similar to the 1980 miss.



Maradona swapped shirt with Keegan


England beat Argentina that day.  David Johnson scored two goals before Daniel Passarella answered back, but Keegan scored a brilliant goal to make it 3-1.  Argentina was the losing side, but Maradona made a big impression that day.