Bundesliga Legends: Lothar Matthaus

It is time to remember Lothar Matthaus – the man who is considered to be the greatest midfielder in the history of German football.

Lothar Matthaus was born on 21 March 1961 in Erlangen, a town in the Bavaria region of former West Germany. He took his first step on the ladder to megastar status at the local club FC Herzogenaurach.

He spent eight years in the youth categories of the club, before signing his first professional contract with Borussia Monchengladbach back in 1979.

Matthaus quickly established himself as one of the most promising young players in the Bundesliga and earned himself a place in the national team of West Germany for the European Championship in 1980.

The Germans won the competition and it was the first big trophy in his rich career.

Lothar Matthaus was a versatile and complete player, who spent his early days in football in a more attacking role in the midfield.

He played as a box to box midfielder and dictated the flow of the game. He was known for his range of passing and well-timed tackling but also was an excellent shooter, having scored a total of 227 goals in his career.

The midfielder joined Bayern in 1984 and won three successive Bundesliga titles in his first stint with the club. He developed into one of the best midfielders in football, before joining Inter in 1988.

Matthaus had a successful four-year spell in Milano, winning the Serie A and the UEFA Cup with the Nerrazurri.

The highest point of his career came in this period, as the midfielder captained West Germany to World Cup glory in 1990.

He scored four goals in the competition and was described as “the best rival I ever had” by Argentina’s Diego Maradona – who was marked out of the game by Matthaus in the World Cup final.

The German won the Ballon d’Or in 1990 and re-joined Bayern Munich two years later.

In the second part of his career, Lothar Matthaus picked up a more defensive role and developed into a world-class sweeper.

He added four Bundesliga titles, two DFB-Pokals and another UEFA Cup to his trophy cabinet in his second stint with the Bavarians, but unfortunately couldn’t win the most prestigious club competition – the UEFA Champions League.

And he was so close in 1999, but Teddy Sheringham and Ole Gunnar Solskjaer scored two stoppage-time goals to win the trophy for Manchester United.

Matthaus is the most capped German player of all time, making 150 appearances for the national team in the period between 1980 and 2000. He holds the record for the most World Cup matches played by a single player – 25 games.

The midfielder played in five different World Cup (1982, 1986, 1990, 1994, 1998) and with the former Mexican defender, Rafael Marquez are the only players to do so.

He retired in 2000 and started his career in football management, which is not nearly as successful as his playing career.


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