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.

Arts and Entertainment
Lou Reed distorted the truth about his upbringing, and since his death in 2013, biographers and memoirists have added to the myths
musicThe truth about Lou Reed's upbringing beyond the biographers' and memoirists' myths
Ed Miliband received a warm welcome in Chester
election 2015
Life and Style
Apple CEO Tim Cook announces the Apple Watch during an Apple special even
fashionIs the Apple Watch for you? Well, it depends if you want it for the fitness tech, or for the style
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Caption competition
Caption competition
  • Get to the point
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?

Bleacher Report

Daily Quiz
Independent Dating

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

Career Services

Day In a Page

NHS struggling to monitor the safety and efficacy of its services outsourced to private providers

Who's monitoring the outsourced NHS services?

A report finds that private firms are not being properly assessed for their quality of care
Zac Goldsmith: 'I'll trigger a by-election over Heathrow'

Zac Goldsmith: 'I'll trigger a by-election over Heathrow'

The Tory MP said he did not want to stand again unless his party's manifesto ruled out a third runway. But he's doing so. Watch this space
How do Greek voters feel about Syriza's backtracking on its anti-austerity pledge?

How do Greeks feel about Syriza?

Five voters from different backgrounds tell us what they expect from Syriza's charismatic leader Alexis Tsipras
From Iraq to Libya and Syria: The wars that come back to haunt us

The wars that come back to haunt us

David Cameron should not escape blame for his role in conflicts that are still raging, argues Patrick Cockburn
Sam Baker and Lauren Laverne: Too busy to surf? Head to The Pool

Too busy to surf? Head to The Pool

A new website is trying to declutter the internet to help busy women. Holly Williams meets the founders
Heston Blumenthal to cook up a spice odyssey for British astronaut manning the International Space Station

UK's Major Tum to blast off on a spice odyssey

Nothing but the best for British astronaut as chef Heston Blumenthal cooks up his rations
John Harrison's 'longitude' clock sets new record - 300 years on

‘Longitude’ clock sets new record - 300 years on

Greenwich horologists celebrate as it keeps to within a second of real time over a 100-day test
Fears in the US of being outgunned in the vital propaganda wars by Russia, China - and even Isis - have prompted a rethink on overseas broadcasters

Let the propaganda wars begin - again

'Accurate, objective, comprehensive': that was Voice of America's creed, but now its masters want it to promote US policy, reports Rupert Cornwell
Why Japan's incredible long-distance runners will never win the London Marathon

Japan's incredible long-distance runners

Every year, Japanese long-distance runners post some of the world's fastest times – yet, come next weekend, not a single elite competitor from the country will be at the London Marathon
Why does Tom Drury remain the greatest writer you've never heard of?

Tom Drury: The quiet American

His debut was considered one of the finest novels of the past 50 years, and he is every bit the equal of his contemporaries, Jonathan Franzen, Dave Eggers and David Foster Wallace
You should judge a person by how they peel a potato

You should judge a person by how they peel a potato

Dave Hax's domestic tips are reminiscent of George Orwell's tea routine. The world might need revolution, but we like to sweat the small stuff, says DJ Taylor
Beige is back: The drab car colours of the 1970s are proving popular again

Beige to the future

Flares and flounce are back on catwalks but a revival in ’70s car paintjobs was a stack-heeled step too far – until now
Bill Granger recipes: Our chef's dishes highlight the delicate essence of fresh cheeses

Bill Granger cooks with fresh cheeses

More delicate on the palate, milder, fresh cheeses can also be kinder to the waistline
Aston Villa vs Liverpool: 'This FA Cup run has been wonderful,' says veteran Shay Given

Shay Given: 'This FA Cup run has been wonderful'

The Villa keeper has been overlooked for a long time and has unhappy memories of the national stadium – but he is savouring his chance to play at Wembley
Timeless drama of Championship race in league of its own - Michael Calvin

Michael Calvin's Last Word

Timeless drama of Championship race in league of its own