Germany's football team: Everything you need to know about the World Cup champions

They’re going to rule football for a generation, so we’d better get to know the world champions, says Will Dean

If your interest in football begins and ends with biannual international tournaments, you’ll be in need of a handy cut-out-and-Google-later guide to the new world champions. Here’s all/some of what you need to know. Rule 1, if in doubt, they probably play for Bayern Munich...

Coach: Joachim ‘Jogi’ Löw

Low first became known to the world as Jürgen Klinsmann’s assistant in 2006, when the pair nearly took Deutschland to the title on home soil, wearing matching shirts and trousers. Very neu man. Euro 2008 aside, Jogi has proved himself a semi-final specialist of almost Henman-esque skill. His hairstyle sits somewhere between a dialogue-free assassin in a Dolph Lundgren movie and Chrissie Hynde’s.

Manuel Neuer, Bayern Munich

Neuer was both the best stopper in the tournament and the man responsible for Guy Mowbray and Mark Lawrenson overusing the phrase “sweeper-keeper” like a new pair of jeans. As well as being a brilliant keeper, Neuer paid homage to old Germany with his tribute to Harald Schumacher’s 1982 hip-in-face assault on Patrick Battiston when he floored Gonzalo Higuain. More scary than that was “Frightening” Frank McCay, the character Neuer voiced in the German version of Pixar’s Monsters University. Your move, Joe Hart.

Philipp Lahm, Bayern Munich

Germany’s densely eye-browed Kapitän may have the look of someone you went to school with who was good at racquet sports, but he has proved himself pretty useful at football, too, having won absolutely everything. However, Lahm had the lifting of the World Cup slightly ruined for him by Sepp Blatter and Dilma Rousseff, who cowered behind the Deutsche players lest they were further booed by the Rio crowd. This meant that Lahm had to shuffle to the middle of his team with the trophy in his hand before raising it. Another reason, if required, to dislike Sepp.

Jérôme Boateng, Bayern Munich

Boateng found himself in the unusual position of playing against his brother when Kevin-Prince Boateng lined up for Ghana in the group stages. The latter was sent home in disgrace for insulting his coach, while Jérôme turned in a man of the match-worthy performance in the final. Which will no doubt make the “what did you do in the summer?” chats at Boateng family dinners somewhat tense. His one season at Manchester City in 2010/11 was so disappointing than even the wonderful nickname Das Boat failed to catch on. There’s still time.

Thomas Müller, 24, Bayern Munich

Arguably Germany’s best player in Brazil, Muller once described himself as a “ramdeuter”, a “space interpreter”. Which is his clever way of saying that he puts himself about a bit. Not quite a striker, not quite a midfielder, unfathomably effective. Müller’s boy-next-door good looks allied with a propensity for rolling down his socks – a look evocative of previous World Cup heroes Paul Breitner, Mario Kempes and Laurent Blanc – provide a combination that can make otherwise heteronormative male fans go weak at the shinpads.

Bastian Schweinsteiger, Bayern Munich

Despite taking the brunt of more Argentinian hacks on Sunday than the editorial staff of La Nación, Schweinsteiger is perhaps the most traditionally German player in the World Cup winners’ squad. And although his exterior is harder than a frozen wurst, Schweinsteiger was pictured offering his commiserations – à la Andrew Flintoff at Edgbaston – to his vanquished opponents. What a guy. And like Löw’s (pronounced “love”), his name is a treat to British tabloid headline writers. It not only translates, roughly, as “pigclimber” – but allows for linguistic tour de forces like, “you schwein” and “you dirty schwein”. Those two gems earned The Mirror and The Sun bans from Bayern Munich press conferences in April.

Per Mertesacker, Arsenal

Worthy of a place in any squad on the basis of the nickname given to him by Arsenal: BFG, or “Big Fucking German”. A moniker made infamous by German broadcaster Chris Lymberopoulos, who glibly mentioned it on air on Sky Sports News in March. 

Mesut Özil, Arsenal

Along with Sami Khedira, İlkay Gündoğan and Jérôme Boateng, Özil has been part of a generation of German players with diverse backgrounds who have helped the country thrive. Yet, as Özil was born in Germany, grew up in Germany to German-born parents (his grandparents were Turkish immigrants) and has played for Germany at three different levels, he must have been thrilled in 2010 to receive a Bambi Award (a sort of German public Oscars) for successful “integration” into German society.

Miroslav Klose, Lazio

The veteran striker, 103, became the World Cup Finals’ leading all-time scorer, with two goals in 2014, overtaking compatriot Gerd Müller and Brazil’s Ronaldo. Klose’s achievement was all the more impressive given that his 16 tournament goals came from a Lineker-esque combined distance of 1.3 metres. He celebrated his record-equalling 15th goal with the worst piece of gymnastics (a failed frontflip) since McKayla Maroney stacked it at London 2012. 

Mario Götze, Bayern Munich

Despite looking like an exchange student who can’t find his favourite baseball cap, Götze sealed his role as German football’s wunderkind with his exceptional winning extra-time volley, which ought to ensure he need never buy a stein of Hofbräu ever again. Götze was still living with his parents when he made the controversial move from Borussia Dortmund to Bayern (announced just before the two played each other in the Champions’ League final). He now goes out with lingerie model Ann-Kathrin Brommel, so you hope for his folks’ sake that he’s since moved out.

PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Sport
Two christmas trees ,Moonbeam (2L), Moonchester (2R) and Santa Claus outside the Etihad Stadium
footballAll the action from today's games
News
Sarah Silverman (middle) with sister Reform Rabbi Susan Silverman (right) and sister actress Laura Silverman (left) at Jerusalem's Western Wall for feminist Hanuka candle-lighting ceremony
peopleControversial comedian stages pro-equality Hanukkah lighting during a protest at Jerusalem's Wailing Wall
Arts and Entertainment
The Bach Choir has been crowned the inaugural winner of Sky Arts’ show The Great Culture Quiz
arts + ents140-year-old choir declared winner of Sky Arts' 'The Great Culture Quiz'
Life and Style
food + drink
News
i100
Caption competition
Caption competition
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?

Bleacher Report

Daily Quiz
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

Career Services

Day In a Page

Homeless Veterans appeal: 'You look for someone who's an inspiration and try to be like them'

Homeless Veterans appeal

In 2010, Sgt Gary Jamieson stepped on an IED in Afghanistan and lost his legs and an arm. He reveals what, and who, helped him to make a remarkable recovery
Could cannabis oil reverse the effects of cancer?

Could cannabis oil reverse effects of cancer?

As a film following six patients receiving the controversial treatment is released, Kate Hilpern uncovers a very slippery issue
The Interview movie review: You can't see Seth Rogen and James Franco's Kim Jong Un assassination film, but you can read about it here

The Interview movie review

You can't see Seth Rogen and James Franco's Kim Jong Un assassination film, but you can read about it here
Serial mania has propelled podcasts into the cultural mainstream

How podcasts became mainstream

People have consumed gripping armchair investigation Serial with a relish typically reserved for box-set binges
Jesus Christ has become an unlikely pin-up for hipster marketing companies

Jesus Christ has become an unlikely pin-up

Kevin Lee Light, aka "Jesus", is the newest client of creative agency Mother while rival agency Anomaly has launched Sexy Jesus, depicting the Messiah in a series of Athena-style poses
Rosetta space mission voted most important scientific breakthrough of 2014

A memorable year for science – if not for mice

The most important scientific breakthroughs of 2014
Christmas cocktails to make you merry: From eggnog to Brown Betty and Rum Bumpo

Christmas cocktails to make you merry

Mulled wine is an essential seasonal treat. But now drinkers are rediscovering other traditional festive tipples. Angela Clutton raises a glass to Christmas cocktails
5 best activity trackers

Fitness technology: 5 best activity trackers

Up the ante in your regimen and change the habits of a lifetime with this wearable tech
Paul Scholes column: It's a little-known fact, but I have played one of the seven dwarves

Paul Scholes column

It's a little-known fact, but I have played one of the seven dwarves
Fifa's travelling circus once again steals limelight from real stars

Fifa's travelling circus once again steals limelight from real stars

Club World Cup kicked into the long grass by the continued farce surrounding Blatter, Garcia, Russia and Qatar
Frank Warren column: 2014 – boxing is back and winning new fans

Frank Warren: Boxing is back and winning new fans

2014 proves it's now one of sport's biggest hitters again
Jeb Bush vs Hillary Clinton: The power dynamics of the two first families

Jeb Bush vs Hillary Clinton

Karen Tumulty explores the power dynamics of the two first families
Stockholm is rivalling Silicon Valley with a hotbed of technology start-ups

Stockholm is rivalling Silicon Valley

The Swedish capital is home to two of the most popular video games in the world, as well as thousands of technology start-ups worth hundreds of millions of pounds – and it's all happened since 2009
Did Japanese workers really get their symbols mixed up and display Santa on a crucifix?

Crucified Santa: Urban myth refuses to die

The story goes that Japanese store workers created a life-size effigy of a smiling "Father Kurisumasu" attached to a facsimile of Our Lord's final instrument of torture
Jennifer Saunders and Kate Moss join David Walliams on set for TV adaptation of The Boy in the Dress

The Boy in the Dress: On set with the stars

Walliams' story about a boy who goes to school in a dress will be shown this Christmas