5 of Germany’s Best European Championship Moments

Germany have undergone a period of transition since crashing out at the group stage of the

2018 World Cup in Russia. 

Their team has an altogether more youthful flavour, but this does not mean that Die Mannschaft should be underestimated. 

Their squad is still brimming with talent and they are also tied with Spain for the most European Championship wins. 

Let’s look back at some of those wins now as 90min reviews some of Germany’s most memorable moments at the Euros… 


Gerd Muller Brace in 1972 Final 

German midfielder Martin Wimmer (R) scores against the Soviet Union

?The fact that West Germany managed to reach the European Championship final in 1972 was not all that impressive – considering only four teams competed. 

However, what was impressive was their performance against the USSR, with a brace from the legendary Gerd Muller helping Die Mannschaft secure their first ever Euros. 

Inspirational captain Franz Beckenbauer was in terrific form at sweeper as was Jupp Heynckes at right forward but it would be Muller who stole the headlines by netting two goals – enough for him to scoop the tournament’s Golden Boot. 


Last Gasp Winner in 1980 Final

West German Triumph

?West Germany added a second European Championship to their trophy cabinet in 1980, leaving it very late to beat neighbours Belgium in the final. 

Horst Hrubesch gave Die Mannschaft an early lead with a well struck shot from outside the box before the Red Devils hit back via a René Vandereycken penalty 15 minutes from time. 

Hrubesch then wrote his name into the history books with two minutes left to play, powering home an unstoppable header to secure a dramatic win. 

The goal was typical of his career with the striker earning the nickname Das Kopfball-Ungeheuer (the Header Beast) for his incredible ability in the air.


The Queen is introduced to Jurgen Klinsman of Germany

?England fans and Gareth Southgate, feel free to skip this one…

On June 26 1996 the stage was set for the Three Lions to reach their first major championship final for 30 years. 

The momentum was with the host nation at Wembley Stadium that day. They had blown away tournament favourites the Netherlands in the group stages and dispatched of Spain via penalties in the quarter finals. 

On the balance of 90 minutes they deserved to win, but a dogged display from Germany forced the game to penalties… 

After five conversions from each side Southgate’s meek spot kick was saved, giving Andreas Moller the chance to break millions of English hearts by sending Germany to the final. Despite the hostile atmosphere around the stadium, the midfielder made no mistake.


Golden Goal in 1996 Final

Oliver Bierhoff

?Ah, the Golden Goal, a ludicrous concept rightly banished to the annals of footballing history. It did at least provide some unforgettable moments.

The first time a game was ever decided by this method was in 1996 in the grandest stage of them all – the European Championship final.

Czech Republic appeared to be on their way to an unlikely victory when Patrik Berger slotted a penalty away on the hour mark, only for Oliver Bierhoff to nod home an equaliser.

Bierhoff would then make himself a national hero by swivelling in the box and firing a shot away which – via a wicked deflection – eventually bobbled into the back of the net. Cue pandemonium around Wembley as Germany toasted their third European Championship win. 


2016 Penalty Shootout Drama

Germany v Italy - Quarter Final: UEFA Euro 2016

?After breezing past Slovakia in the round of 16, Germany were drawn against tournament dark horses Italy in the quarter finals. 

The game itself was a tightly contested if forgettable affair with Mesut Ozil and Leonardo Bonucci netting in a 1-1 draw. 

The game’s legendary status was instead earned during the penalty shootout in which no less than 18 spot kicks were taken before a winner was finally decided.

In the end, it would be Matteo Darmian’s miss that provided Jonas Hector with the chance to clinch it for Die Mannschaft and the defender made no mistake – squeezing the ball under a diving Gianluigi Buffon. 


For more from Matt O’Connor-Simpson, follow him on Twitter!

Let’

5 of the Best Moments of Lothar Matthäus’ Career

Lothar Matthäus is number 27 in 90min’s Top 50 Greatest Footballers of All Time series


?The complete footballer and an inspirational leader, Lothar Matthäus was one of the game’s greatest ever central midfielders. 

After conquering Germany with Bayern Munich in the mid-1980s, Matthäus set sail for Serie A to form part of the German revolution at Inter under Giovanni Trapattoni – a move that saw him thrive in Europe’s ultimate proving ground. 

His ability to play several midfield roles was what made ‘der panzer’ so special and he had the knack of simply making those around perform at a higher level. 

So from domestic triumph to World Cup greatness, here are some of the finest moments from Matthäus’ illustrious 21-year career. 


Maiden Bundesliga Crown, 1984/85


Following his development as a dynamic box-to-box midfielder at Borussia Monchengladbach, Matthäus made the switch to Bayern in 1984.

A refined passer, powerful tackler and partial to a thunderb**tard or two; Matthäus excelled in Bavaria from the get-go – with his 16 goals in his debut campaign guiding Bayern to the Bundesliga title, the first trophy of his career. 

Matthäus swiftly established himself as a leader in Udo Lattek’s imperious side, with double-figure goal tallies in 1985/86 and 1986/87, as he helped Bayern to three consecutive Meisterschales. He would then go on to lead his side out in the 1987 European Cup final against Porto in Vienna – albeit in agonising defeat. 

Nevertheless, his title victory in 1984/85 after a barren spell at Die Fohlen kickstarted an impressive haul of 15 major honours at a domestic level.


Immediate Scudetto Success, 1988/89


Despite the sky-high expectations, very few foreseen the immediate impact Matthäus would have at San Siro. 

With the influx of foreign playmakers spearheading their respective sides to Serie A glory in the 1980s, Inter now had theirs in Matthäus – who joined the club alongside West German teammate Andreas Brehme.

Playing in a more advanced role, compared to his time in the Bundesliga, the injection of Matthäus’ world-class talent galvanised the Nerazzurri squad, transforming them on the pitch. His nine goals in his debut season guided Inter to their first Scudetto in eight years, finishing an impressive 11 points clear of second-place Napoli. 


Italia ’90 Triumph

Lothar Matthaeus,Pierre Littbarski

Confidence was high within the West German camp heading into Italia ’90, despite falling at the final hurdle in both 1982 and 1986. 

With German icon Franz Beckenbauer at the helm, Matthäus skippered his country for the second time at a major tournament – leading an efficient core of individuals who, like Matthäus, were plying their trade in Serie A at the time. To nobody’s surprise, West Germany breezed through the group stages – with the captain scoring on three occasions, including a brace in a stellar individual performance against Yugoslavia.

Matthäus’ penalty was then enough the see his side overcome Czechoslovakia 1-0 in the quarter-finals before he repeated his spot-kick reliability in an unforgettable penalty shootout victory against England in the semi-final.

A gargantuan display by der panzer ensued on football’s grandest stage against Argentina, as he executed Beckenbauer’s task of shutting out the world’s best player, Diego Maradona, to perfection. It was a selfless performance, with El Diego later describing Matthäus as “the best rival I’ve ever had”.

And although it was Brehme who garnered the bulk of the glory following his game-winning spot-kick, it was the captain’s versatility and defensive nuance that guided Die Mannschaft to victory that day.


Ballon d’Or, 1990


Off the back of his fantastic display in the World Cup final at Stadio Olimpico, Matthäus was crowned as the winner of the Ballon d’Or on Christmas Day 1990, pipping that summers tournament’s Golden Boot and Ball winner Salvatore Schillaci to the post along with iconic midfield rival Paul Gascoigne. 

Continued individual brilliance followed at the Nerazzurri in the 1990/91 campaign, where he scored 23 times in 46 appearances and was just beaten by Sampdoria’s Gianluca Vialli in the race for the Capocannoniere that season.

And after guiding Inter to victory in the UEFA Cup in May 1991 with a 2-1 victory over Italian rivals Roma over two legs, Matthäus was recognised as FIFA’s inaugural World Player of the Year – an award that capped off a monumental two years for Matthäus, when der panzer truly was at the peak of his powers.


Die Mannschaft Record-Breaker, 2000

Lothar Matthaus

By the time Euro 2000 rolled around, a decade after his Ballon d’Or crown, Matthäus had developed into an outstanding sweeper – with his intelligence and tactical nous prolonging his career in a different role. 

And although the campaign itself was one to forget for Germany – now reunified by the way – it was a special one for Matthäus, as he became the first German to represent his country on 150 occasions (83 for West Germany) after appearing in a group stage game against Portugal.

By the time he’d called it a career at the impressive age of 39, Matthäus had played in nine major tournaments for Die Mannschaft since 1980, including five World Cup finals – being the first outfielder in history to achieve that feat.


Let’

Bayer Leverkusen Director Opens Up on Future of Liverpool & Bayern Munich Target Kai Havertz

Bayer Lev?erkusen sporting director Rudi Voller says the club will assess the future of their highly rated youngster Kai Havertz over the summer, amid reported interest from Liverpool, Bayern Munich and others.

Havertz broke into the Leverkusen first team back in 2016 as a 17-year-old, but really caught the eye last year as he hit 20 goals in 42 appearances from midfield.

The 20-year-old has been ?linked with a move to Liverpool, with the Reds having an approach turned down over the summer.

Kai Havertz

Leverkusen retained their young prodigy, and although Havertz has been less prolific this season, finding the net five times in 19 Bundesliga appearances, Voller still expects his future will be up for discussion at the end of the season.

Speaking to German TV Show 100% Bundesliga – Football at Nitro, the Leverkusen sporting director said: “I am glad that we still held [on to Havertz] this year.”

“We’ll see how it looks in summer. He still has a contract until 2022 – these are, of course, the classic facts.

“There was already interest in the summer, but we told him that it would be good for him to stay with us for another year. And that was the right decision.”

Havertz has two years left on his current deal, leaving Leverkusen in a strong negotiating position in the transfer window, and meaning ?Liverpool would have to pay a considerable amount to prize away the promising midfielder. 

Paying a blockbuster transfer fee for a player who is unlikely to walk straight into the first team at Anfield would not be in keeping with Liverpool’s recent transfer policy under Jurgen Klopp.

Meanwhile, ?Liverpool journalist Melissa Reddy recently claimed that the Reds’ valuation of Havertz is around half of what Leverkusen are looking for, with the German club hoping to get upwards of £80m for their star asset.

Kai Havertz

Tottenham coach Steffen Freund was also a guest on the show, and he recommended that Havertz should remain at Leverkusen for at least another year, but conceded the increased wages and lure of silverware that the top clubs can offer could tempt him away.

“I know it’s a lot about money, but I would advise him to stay at Bayer Leverkusen for another season,” Freund said. “Bayer Leverkusen is under no pressure because it is a long-term contract. 

“But then comes the pressure with consultants, large clubs that can also win titles, which is relatively rare with Leverkusen. Then it is just too good at some point [to stay at] Leverkusen. But why not another year?”

Let’

Oliver Bierhoff: The Super Sub Who Became a Golden Goal Legend at Euro ’96

?If Oliver Bierhoff is known for one thing more than anything else, it is the golden goal that won Euro ’96 for Germany, making it the first game at a major international tournament decided in such a manner, as well as Germany’s first silverware since reunification in October 1990.

These days, Bierhoff is a legend and is general manager of the national team. But, prior to 1996, he was better known in Italy than his homeland and can certainly be considered a late bloomer.

Oliver Bierhoff

Born in 1968, Bierhoff began his senior football career with Bayer Uerdingen during their stint in the top flight. From there, he moved on to Hamburg in 1988 aged 20, only to struggle.

A short-lived spell at Borussia Monchengladbach thereafter in 1990 lasted just eight games and was remarkably the last time Bierhoff would ever play for a German club.

Instead, the tall front-man moved south to Austria where a prolific season with Salzburg, long before the Red Bull days, brought him to the attention of newly promoted Serie A club Ascoli in 1991. Relegation followed after a disappointing season for both the club and their German striker, but Serie B proved to be where a 24-year-old Bierhoff would find his feet in Italy.

By the end of the 1994/95 season he’d scored 46 times in the second tier and earned a move to Udinese. This time, more mature and more experienced, he was able to compete in Serie A and scored 17 times in the top flight.

The second half of that campaign with Udinese also yielded an international call-up. Fast approaching his 28th birthday, Bierhoff made his debut in February 1996 in a friendly against Portugal, less than four months before Euro ’96 was due to start in England.

Oliver Bierhoff,Karel Rada

The following month, he scored twice in a friendly against Denmark and was named in Berti Vogts’ tournament squad. By the time the competition started, Bierhoff had only been capped five times, although he certainly wasn’t alone in the German squad as a player in his mid or late 20s with little international experience. Only he and Stefan Kuntz played outside Germany.

Having played no part in qualifying and essentially a wildcard selection owing to his club form in Italy, it was hardly a surprise that Bierhoff didn’t start the opening game against Czech Republic at Old Trafford, appearing from the bench in the closing stages with a 2-0 win sewn up.

He did start the next game against Russia alongside Jurgen Klinsmann and set up one of his strike partner’s goals in a 3-0 win, but it would be the only time he did so at the tournament.

Bierhoff returned to the bench for the final group game against Italy. Germany had already secured a place in the knockout rounds, but it wasn’t a rotated side and he didn’t get on the pitch. It was the same when Germany faced Croatia in the quarter-finals and England in the semis.

In the final at Wembley, it was Czech Republic who took the lead in the second half through Patrik Berger. With Germany trailing and just over 20 minutes remaining, Vogts turned to Bierhoff, who hadn’t played since being brought off in the final moments against Russia.

Oliver Bierhoff

His impact was swift, connecting with a Christian Ziege free-kick after breaking free of his marker to head Germany back into the final at 1-1. That intervention sent the game into golden goal extra-time, where Bierhoff played an even more decisive and legendary role.

With his back to goal in the penalty area after receiving the ball from Klinsmann, Bierhoff found room for a snap shot on his left foot, which appeared to take goalkeeper Petr Kouba by surprise. He could only weakly parry and it squirmed into the far corner to end the game immediately.

Bierhoff went from strength to strength after Euro ’96. He thrived at club level and became the first and still only German player to finish a season as Serie A top scorer when he netted 27 times for Udinese in 1997/98, outscoring Ronaldo, Roberto Baggio and Gabriel Batistuta.

That summer he joined AC Milan and was later made Germany captain when Klinsmann retired after the 1998 World Cup. Where once he was an impact sub, Bierhoff had become a regular starter for his country and finished his international career in 2002 with 70 caps and 37 goals.

Andreas Koepke,Oliver Bierhoff

After leaving Milan in 2001, he went to Monaco, before one final season back in Italy at Chievo Verona in 2002/03 led him into retirement. Fittingly, he scored a hat-trick in his last ever game as a professional, which saw Chievo fall to a narrow 4-3 defeat to Juventus.


For more from Jamie Spencer, follow him on Twitter and Facebook! 

Let’

Classic Euro Game: Germany Win 1996 Final With Dramatic Golden Goal

?Germany were beaten in the final of the European Championships in 1992 before being knocked out by Bulgaria in the quarter-finals of the World Cup just two years later.

However, they came into UEFA Euro 1996 as one of the early tournament favourites. Die Mannschaft were drawn in Group C along with Italy, Czech Republic and Russia. 

Russia v Germany

A Roberto Baggio double ensured Italy booked their place in the final of the World Cup in 1994, but they were eventually defeated on penalties in the final by Brazil. As for Russia, they missed out on a place in the knockout stages of that competition by one point, with the Italians pipping them to the place. The Czech Republic, meanwhile, were set to play in their first European Championships since the break-up of Czechoslovakia. 

These were all nations with a point to prove.

Die Mannschaft overcame the Czech Republic 2-0 in their opening game, with Christian Ziege and Andreas Möller grabbing the goals. Berti Vogts’ men went on to comfortably beat Russia 3-0 before drawing 0-0 with Italy. 

This ensured Germany qualified for the knockout stages as group winners, while the surprise package that were the Czechs also qualified as they finished second, despite finishing level on points with Italy. 

Russia v Germany

The quarter-finals saw Germany prevail over Croatia, winning 2-1. They then broke English hearts as they defeated England on penalties in the semi-finals. The two nations couldn’t be split after normal time and extra time, meaning a penalty shoot-out was required. 

Penalty after penalty after penalty flew in…until Gareth Southgate stepped up and saw his penalty saved before Möller fired in to send his country through to the final. 

Their opponent in the final? Well, it was the Czech Republic once again, who had overcome both Portugal and France to reach the final.

The Czechs were able to recall Patrik Berger for the clash as well as a number of suspended players, whereas the Germans were struggling with injuries. So much so that, in fact, Jürgen Klinsmann played despite a calf problem. 

Germany

Despite the injuries, Die Mannschaft refused to let it affect them such was their hunger and desire to win, to be the best. The first half saw the Czech Republic sit deep and try to soak up pressure, and they were let off the hook as Stefan Kuntz missed two chances. At the other end, Pavel Kuka went clear but shot straight at Andreas Köpke.

However, the Czech Republic were awarded a penalty on 59 minutes after Mattias Sammer brought down Karel Poborský inside the area. Up stepped Berger and he fired in to give his side the lead.

Germany needed a response. 

As a result, Vogts turned to Oliver Bierhoff. who had not featured in any of their three previous games, despite the mounting injuries. 

Oliver Bierhoff

And yet, he was sent on with 21 minutes to play. Could he be the man to help rescue his country? Well, just four minutes after coming on, Bierhoff headed in Christian Ziege’s free-kick. And although Germany pushed for a winner, they were unable to find one in regular time. 

However, there was to be no classic extra time because, instead, there was the golden goal rule. 

One goal to decide the winner. 

With five minutes gone, Bierhoff held up the ball before turning on the edge of the box and striking a left-footed shot which hit Michal Hor?ák on its way through to Petr Kouba. The shot-stopper was unable to readjust his feet in time, with the ball slipping through his grasp and into the back of the net. 

German players celebrate after Oliver Bierhoff gav

As Bierhoff ran off in celebration, he didn’t notice the flag being held up by the linesman, neither did the referee. The linesman lifted it and then lowered it as he hesitated before once again raising it to signal an offside against Kuntz. However, Kuntz didn’t interfere with play and, as a result, the goal stood, sparking wild celebrations.

Bierhoff had etched his name into German folklore, helping secure their third European Championships title. It was a thrilling encounter and one that will live long in the memory for Germans.


For more from ?Adam Aladay, follow him on ?Twitter!

Let’