Germany All-Time XI: Marco Reus, Michael Ballack snubbed by legendary midfield trio

Germany All-Time XI: Marco Reus, Michael Ballack snubbed by legendary midfield trio

Updated Jun. 13, 2024 2:30 p.m. ET

The Summer of Stars kicks off on FOX with the European Championship in Germany and the United States-hosted Copa América. Both tournaments will feature the world's best soccer players, but how many of them are all-time great players?

To answer that question, FOX Sports has put together 11 all-time international teams. Up next is Germany.

*All-time stats and records for individuals mentioned below refer to men's national team only

More All-Time XIs: England


GK: Manuel Neuer

Photo by Alexander Hassenstein/Getty Images)

Caps: 119
Notable clubs: Schalke 04, Bayern Munich

Germany has produced so many incredible goalkeepers, from Sepp Maier and Harald Schumacher, to Oliver Kahn and Jens Lehman. But Manuel Neur might be the most decorated one of them all. No keeper in the national team's history has more appearances, and earlier this year he set the Bundesliga record for most career clean sheets with 225. In the 2015-16 season, he also set the league record for clean sheets in a single season with 21 — a mark that still hasn't been broken. Neuer has also won a plethora of trophies, including 11 straight Bundesliga titles, five German cups, two Champions League titles, and, of course, the highly-coveted World Cup in 2014. He's expected to start for Germany at this summer's Euros.

DF: Philipp Lahm

(Photo by ODD ANDERSEN/AFP via Getty Images)

Caps: 113
Notable clubs: Bayern Munich

One of the greatest right-backs in the history of the game, Philipp Lahm spent 13 seasons with Bayern Munich and won countless trophies, including the rare treble during the 2012-13 season. Lahm was also a force for the national team, having been selected for two World Cup All-Star teams and two Euros All-Tournament teams. Like Neuer, he also was a key member of the 2014 World Cup title team, having captained the side to it's fourth title ever and first since 1990.

DF: Franz Beckenbauer

(Photo by STF/AFP via Getty Images)

Caps: 103
Notable clubs:Bayern Munich, New York Cosmos, Hamburger SV

Nicknamed der Kaiser, which translates to, "the emperor" in German, Franz Beckenbauer is considered by many to be the greatest German footballer of all-time. One of ten players ever to win the Ballon d'Or twice and one of just two defenders ever to have won the award- Beckenbauer led Germany to the 1972 Euros title as well as the 1974 World Cup trophy. At the club level, he won four Bundesliga titles, four German cups, and three European cups. His success translated into a managerial career, most notably leading Germany to the 1990 World Cup title. He's one of just three players ever to win the World Cup as both a player and a manager. The International Federation of Football History and Statistics named him to the Team of the Century (1901-2000), and he also finished third in their World Player of the Century voting.

DF: Jürgen Kohler

(Photo by Oliver Behrendt/ullstein bild via Getty Images)

Caps: 105
Notable clubs: FC Köln, Bayern Munich, Juventus, Borussia Dortmund

One of ten players to make 105 appearances for the national team, Jürgen Kohler was one of the best center-backs in the World during the 1990s. Kohler was a formidable presence in the back-line for Germany's 1990 World Cup title as well as their 1996 Euros trophy. At the club level, he won three Bundesliga titles, a Serie A title, one Champions League trophy, and three German Supecups. He is also very well known for his battles with Marco van Basten — a three-time winner of the Ballon d'Or, and one of the greatest forwards ever. Kohler was one of the few defenders to stifle him, as the two faced off at both the international level and in Serie A.

DF/MF: Lothar Matthäus

(Photo by Allsport/Getty Images/Hulton Archive)

Caps: 150
Notable clubs: Borussia Mönchengladbach, Bayern Munich, Inter Milan
Goals: 23

Lothar Matthäus was the first outfield player ever to have participated in five different editions of the World Cup, and is one of six players ever to do so. He also held the record for most matches played in the World Cup with 25, until Lionel Messi passed him in 2022. No player has made more appearances for the national team than him, and most notably he captained the 1990 team that won the World Cup. That 1990 season was arguably his best, winning the Ballon d'Or and selected to the World Cup all-star team. Matthäus also won the Euros in 1980 in addition to eight Bundesliga titles with Bayern Munich. Like Beckenbauer, he was also selected to the Team of the Century by the IFFHS, and has been inducted into the Hall of Fame for both Bayern Munich and Inter Milan.     

MF: Thomas Müller

Caps: 129
Goals: 45
Notable clubs: Bayern Munich

With two more appearances, Thomas Müller will move into third all-time in appearances for the national team- and needs five goals to move into the same position for that category. An integral part of the 2014 team that won the World Cup, he is one of the most decorated German footballers of all-time. No player has won more Bundesliga titles, with Müller having 12 to his name — all with Bayern Munich. He's also won six German cups, eight German Super Cups, two Champions League titles, and was named Best Young Player in the 2010 World Cup. Müller holds several Bundesliga records such as career assists, assists in a single season, career wins, and most consecutive titles won. Since the 2004-05 season, he and Robert Lewandowski are the only players in Bundesliga history with 300-plus goal contributions.

MF: Bastian Schweinsteiger

(Photo by Clive Rose/Getty Images)

Caps: 121
Goals: 24
Notable clubs: Bayern Munich, Manchester United, Chicago Fire

Joachim Löw, the former national team coach who led Germany to a World Cup title in 2014, called Bastian Schweinsteiger one of the greatest midfielders in the national team's history. One of five players with over 120 appearances for Germany, he led the 2010 World Cup in assists and was also the German Footballer of the Year in 2013. Schweinsteiger won eight Bundesliga titles, seven German cups, and a Champions League title with Bayern Munich, in addition to scoring 68 goals in all competitions. Bayern fans dubbed him as the fußballgott, which translates to "football god" for his incredible vision and creativity. Like Lahm, he was also part of the 2013 Bayern Munich squad that won the treble.     

MF: Toni Kroos

(Photo by Martin Rose/Getty Images)

Caps: 109
Goals: 17
Notable clubs: Bayern Munich, Bayer Leverkusen, Real Madrid

Arguably one of the greatest midfielders in the world, Toni Kroos has been an instrumental part of both Real Madrid and Germany's success over the last 10 years. He won the Champions League a whopping six times, winning it five times with Madrid and once with Bayern Munich. The IFFHS named him as part of their World Team of the decade (2011-20), and he was also selected to the FIFA World Cup all-star team in 2014 for his pivotal role in Germany's title run that year. Kroos has played all over the midfield, playing in the center, the flank, box-to-box, and even as a defensive mid. He's most known for his incredible passing ability, voted as the World's Best Playmaker in 2014 (IFFHS) and leading La Liga in assists in 2017. In 2018 he was named German Footballer of the Year, and is one of two players to have won the award while playing for a Spanish team. 

FW: Karl-Heinz Rummenigge

(Photo by Trevor Jones/Allsport/Getty Images/Hulton Archive)

Caps: 95
Goals: 45
Notable clubs: Bayern Munich, Inter Milan

There were so many options at this spot, as Germany has produced countless forwards- but Karl-Heinz Rummenigge's résumé is too good. One of 10 players ever to have won the Ballon d'Or twice since its conception in 1956, he led the Bundesliga in goals three times and also finished as Bayern Munich's second all-time goal-scorer before Lewandowski and Müller passed him in recent years. Rummenigge also led Germany to a Euros title in 1980, also winning the Bundesliga that year with Munich. Additionally, he was the German Footballer of the Year that season and won the Goal of the Year award in Germany in consecutive seasons. He made 19 appearances in World Cup matches, one of 11 German players ever to achieve that feat.

FW: Miroslave Klose

(Photo by Robert Cianflone/Getty Images)

Caps: 137
Goals: 71
Notable clubs: Werder Bremen, Bayern Munich, Lazio

There have been 22 World Cup tournaments since the first edition in 1930, and of all the players who have touched the pitch in that span- none have scored more goals than Miroslave Klose. His 16 goals across four different World Cups is the tournament record, and will only be broken in 2026 if a then 38-year-old Lionel Messi scores four goals, or if Kylian Mbappé scores five. His 71 goals for the national team is also a team record, while his 137 appearances is the second most, trailing only Matthäus. He is a two-time World Cup all-star and led the Bundesliga in both scoring and assists in 2006- en route to winning player of the season in that same campaign. Klose also won two league titles with Bayern Munich as well as two German cups, and was additionally a part of the 2014 Germany side that won the World Cup. 

FW: Gerd Müller

(Photo by Werner Schulze/ullstein bild via Getty Images)

Caps: 62
Goals: 68
Notable clubs: Bayern Munich 

Outside of Beckenbauer, this might have been the easiest selection to make, as Gerd Müller is widely considered the greatest German forward of all-time. He was the national team's all-time goal-scorer until Klose passed him, and his 1.1 goals per game average is the highest mark in their history. At the club level, Müller holds the Bundesliga record for goals scored with a whopping 365. He led the league in scoring seven times (five times outright), including 40 goals in the 1971-72 season- a record that stood until Lewandowski scored 41 in 2021. He still holds three of the top four highest single season marks in league history. From a trophies perspective, there wasn't anything he didn't win, as he recorded four Bundesliga titles, four German cups, three European cups, a World Cup, and a Euros title. Müller also won the Ballon d'Or in 1970, becoming the first German ever to do so. 

Honorable Mention

Uwe Seeler, Lukas Podolski, Rudi Völler, Michael Ballack, Matthias Sammer.

FOX Sports Research contributed to this story.

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