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German Soccer: A Style All On Its Own

The History of German Soccer

Soccer is Germany has a long history going back into the early 20th century with the establishment of the German Football Federation in 1900 marking a sort of beginning for the sport in the country. 

The first official match containing Die Mannschaft as they're sometimes known in Germany took place in 1908 against the Swiss, a full 8 years after the overseeing body was established.

East vs. West

German Soccer FederationFollowing the World War 2, the national team became the team of the Federal Republic of Germany, and was unable to compete in any competition until 1950 and thus missed this World Cup.  Known internationally as West Germany, the team became a powerhouse while it existed between 1950 and 1990.

West Germany was able to win the World Cup 3 times, with their victories coming in 1954, 1974, and the last championship coming in 1990, just before the teams were unified.

The East German’s were not quite as successful, with their only really success being the gold medal at the 1976 Olympics.

Following reunification in the 1990’s, Germany’s soccer team found itself once again competing under one flag with all records from the former East and West teams being merged under the new soccer federation.

As the new amalgamated Germany, the team continued the West German tradition of excellence with the first major international win for the unified German team coming at the Euro ’96 tournament.

The Bundesliga

BundesligaFounded in 1963 just after the West German team began competing, the Bundesliga is now one of the most successful leagues in the world, regardless of which sport we’re talking about.

How big is the Bundesliga? In terms of attendance only the National Football League (NFL) and Indian Premier League (that one’s cricket) is bigger.

The league was founded out of a need to develop top flight talent for a West German national team that had some struggles in its early days.  While amateur soccer was present, the quality of players produced meant a new system was badly needed.

German Soccer Style

If ever there was a team that took on the characteristics of its country, it would be Germany.  Efficient and highly organized, the Germans play a disciplined, hard-working style that sees them become contenders in almost every international tournament they take part in.

Making use of the considerable physical stature of the players, German soccer often relies on raw physicality.  Crosses are often swung in to tall target-men, who can gain aerial control using their height, or use their stature to hold off opponents.

The team is disciplined which is to say, each player has a specific role and adheres to this role strictly.  Players are rarely out of position, with ranks within formations almost always rigidly kept.  Improvisation is rarely seen, with direct attacks at goal the usual method of going forward.  The style is not particularly attractive, but the fact that it is brutally effective cannot be denied.

Strategically, the last World Cup saw the Germans play the counter attack game to absolute perfection. With strength at every position, the German’s were able to soak up pressure from opposing teams and counter-attack quickly with fast, highly skilled players leading the charge. And finishing.

Oh how they finished. Early and often, the German's put on quite the display of attacking soccer.

There's a reason why a German is at the top of scoring at almost every tournament.....

Take a look at other european soccer styles:

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