15 Best German Defenders of All Time

Who is the greatest German defender ever?

In addition to having great midfielders and strikers, Germany also has hundreds of talented defenders. This country has produced a lot of world-class defenders, such as Franz Beckenbauer, Jurgen Kohler, Andreas Brehme, Matthias Sammer, and many other names. The question is, who is the best among them?

To answer the question about the best German defenders of all time, I decided to write this article. Here, I present a ranking of the Uber Allez team, which is based on thir individual skills, accomplishments, as well as contributions for the world of football.

15. Christoph Metzelder

If only he weren't hit by severe injuries, Metzelder could only ranks higher in this list. Not only performed well in Germany national football team, Metzelder underwent a fairly successful career at Real Madrid, where was trusted believed to be the first-team defender for several years, played alongside Ricardo Carvalho. This player won a Bundesliga title while playing for Borussia Dortmund as well as a La Liga trophy at Real Madrid.

14. Arne Friedrich

Arne Friedrich was a player with very strong physical skills. Not only that, he could play in various positions. His main position was a wingback, but sometimes he was also played as a central defender, a winger or a central midfielder. Friedrich's best achievement occurred when he played for Hertha Berlin, which is winning the 2002 DFB-Pokal trophy. At Germany national team, Friedrich successfully won third place in the World Cup in 2006 and 2010 and became a finalist in the Euro 2008.

13. Guido Buchwald

Guido Buchwald is a retired German central defender who played in the 1984-1994 period. He was known as a defender with excellent marking ability and often made world-class striker felt overwhelmed. Buchwald was dubbed with the name "Diego," because he was several times given the task to mark Diego Maradona, an Argentine football star. Buchwald's best achievement are winning the 1990 World Cup and claimed two Bundesliga title at Stuttgart.

12. Per Mertesacker

Tall, strong, and good at anticipating crossing passes. Per Mertesacker is a strong tower who has played as the leader of German's defense line since 2004. Although he showed very solid performance as a defender, Mertesacker hasn't won many prestigious trophies. The only trophy that he won is the DFB-Pokal in 2006 when he played for Werder Bremen. Mertesacker is known as a defender who always plays clean. Once, he played in 31 consecutive games without getting a single card from the referee.

11. Klaus Augenthaler

Augenthaler was a central defender who spent his entire career for a single club, Bayern Munich. He played for Munich in the period 1976-1991, presented seven Bundesliga titles and three DFB Pokal trophies. His loyalty and quality as a central defender make Augenthaler is often referred as Bayern Munich's second best defender of all time, just below Franz Beckenbauer. He played an important role in helping West Germany win the 1990 World Cup.

10. Stefan Reuter

The quality Stefan Reuter as a defender cannot be doubted. Not only strong, Reuter was also named as one of the fastest defenders in the world. He was able to run 100 meters in 11 seconds, making the opponent strikers often feel frustrated under his marking. Reuter is also referred as one of the Borussia Dortmund's best players of all time for his contributions in leading the club win three Bundesliga titles and one Champions League trophy.

9. Hans-Georg Schwarzenbeck

Schwarzenbeck was Franz Beckenbauer's true partner in the 1970s. His duet with Beckenbauer led West German national team dominate the world of international football by winning the 1974 World Cup and Euro 1972. Not only that, Schwarzenbeck was also quite accomplished at the club level, where he helped Bayern Munich win six Bundesliga titles, three DFB Pokal trophies, and three Champions Cup trophies.

8. Bernard Dietz

Bernard Dietz is a former defender who was trusted to be the captain of West Germany after the period of leadership of Franz Beckenbauer and Berti Vogts. Not only strong in defense, Dietz also quite prolific in scoring goals. Throughout his career in the 1970-1987 period, Dietz scored more than 70 goals. The most memorable match in his career is when he scored four goals and took his club, Duisburg, defeated Bayern Munich with the score 6-3. Dietz's best achievement is leading the West German national team win the Euro 1980 tournament.

7. Berti Vogts

Besides Beckenbauer and Gerd Muller, Berti Vogts may be regarded as a player with the largest contribution who helped West Germany win the Euro 1972 and World Cup 1974. Throughout his career, Vogts is known as a right-back with a high work-rate, made him nicknamed as "Der Terrier." This player spent his entire career at Borussia Monchengladbach, where he won five Bundesliga titles and three UEFA Cup trophies.

6. Phillip Lahm

Despite his small stature, the strength and leadership skills of Phillip Lahm cannot be doubted. He can play equally good as a left back and right-back, fast, as well as very good in helping the team's offense. His great leadership skill made Lahm was trusted to be the captain of Germany national team and Bayern Munich. At Bayern, Lahm won six Bundesliga titles, five DFB-Pokal trophies, and one Champions League trophy.

5. Jurgen Kohler

In terms of defensive abilities such as tackling, marking and heading; Kohler probably is the best in this list. He played for the German national team in the 1986-1998 period, helping his country win the World Cup 1990 and Euro 1996. Kohler's toughness even made many best strikers in the world, such as Van Basten and Maradona, feel overwhelmed. At club level, Kohler won three Bundesliga titles, one Champions League trophy, and a Serie A title.

4. Lothar Matthaus

Lothar Matthaus was originally an attacking midfielder, but he turned into a center back at the later period of his career. He is known as a footballer with a complete quality who is able to attack and defend very well, has good leadership skills, and often scored goals from set-pieces situation. Not only that, Matthaus also holds the record as the player with the highest number of appearances for the German national team, with a total of 155 caps. He won the World Cup in 1990, the Euro 1996, and claimed seven Bundesliga titles and one Serie A title.

3. Matthias Sammer

Just like Matthaus, Sammer was a center midfielder who changed his position into a defender at the later period of his career. Sammer's best period occurred in 1996, where he led Germany win the Euro 1996 and won the Ballon d'Or award. Not only that, he also joined Ronald Koeman and Daniel Passarella as one of the most-scoring defenders in the history of football.

2. Andreas Brehme

Brehme had great role in helping West Germany national win the 1990 World Cup. In the final match of the tournament, his penalty-kick helped his country beat Argentina by 1-0. Throughout his career, Brehme is known as a left-back who had great contribution in the team's offense. He often scored from set pieces and sent accurate crossing from the left-wing. In total, Brehme won two Bundesliga titles (with Bayern Munich and Kaiserslautern) and one Serie A title (with Inter Milan).

1. Franz Beckenbauer

Not only deserves to be called as the best defender of Germany, Beckenbauer even should be named as the best defender in the history of football. He demonstrated outstanding performances, both at national team level, at the club level, as a player, and as a coach. Beckenbauer became a central figure who led West Germany win the 1974 World Cup, as well as repeating the same feat as a coach at the 1990 World Cup. At the club level, he won five Bundesliga titles and three Champions League trophies. As a defender, Beckenbauer is not only tough in defense. He has high technique, good dribbling skills, as well as the ability to organize the team's attack. Beckenbauer is also one of the first players to introduce a new position called "libero" in the world of football.

Scroll To Top