Germany Olympic football team

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Shirt badge/Association crest
Nickname(s) Nationalelf (national eleven)
DFB-Elf (DFB Eleven)
(Die) Mannschaft (The Team)[1]
Association German Football Association
(Deutscher Fußball-Bund – DFB)
Confederation UEFA (Europe)
Most caps Christian Schreier (22)
Top scorer Gottfried Fuchs / Frank Mill (10)
First colours
Second colours
Summer Olympic Games
Appearances 9 (first in 1912)
Best result Silver Medal, 2016

The Germany Olympic football team represents Germany in international football competitions in Olympic Games. It has been active since 1908, and first competed in 1912. Olympic football was originally an amateur sport, and as the pre-World War II German national team was also amateur, it was able to send a full national team to the games. After the war, Germany was divided, but until 1964 East and West competed under the name of "United Team of Germany", although without a combined squad. From 1968 West Germany began to compete on its own, but were still forced to send an amateur team, who were not able to match the success of their professional counterparts in the World Cup and European Championship. The rules on amateurism were relaxed in the 1980s, which allowed West Germany some success, notably a bronze medal finish in 1988. Since 1992 the tournament has been competed by under-23 teams, making Germany's Olympic qualification dependent on the results of the under-21 team. Only in 2016 the Germans returned to the Olympic stage, with a silver medal after losing on a penalty shoot-out to hosts Brazil. Reunified Germany is now the only World Cup champion without the Olympic gold.


Pre-World War II (1912–1938)[edit]

Germany first sent a football team to the Olympics in 1912, where they were defeated in the first round, losing 5–1 against neighbours Austria. They entered a consolation tournament, however, where they recorded a 16–0 win over Russia, with 10 goals from forward Gottfried Fuchs – this is still the national team's highest margin of victory. They were eliminated in the next round, though, with a 3–1 defeat against Hungary. After World War I, Germany was banned from the 1920 Olympics, and didn't compete in 1924, returning to action in 1928, when they were eliminated in the quarter finals by eventual winners Uruguay. Uruguay would go on to win the inaugural World Cup two years later.

Football wasn't included in the 1932 Olympics, but returned for the 1936 games, in Berlin. As hosts, and having finished third at the previous World Cup, hopes of a German success were high. It wasn't to be, though: after a 9–0 win against Luxembourg, Germany were eliminated in the quarter finals, losing 2–0 to Norway. The result cost coach Otto Nerz his job, being replaced by his assistant Sepp Herberger.

Division and Unity (1948–1980)[edit]

Flag of the United Team of Germany 1956–1964

Following World War II, Germany were banned from the 1948 Olympics, but were back in 1952. By this point Germany was divided into three states – East Germany and the Saar protectorate having broken away, with what was left of the country commonly referred to as West Germany. Saar competed independently in 1952, but East Germany were unable to, and refused to represent a united German team. Consequently, the German Olympic team in 1952 was made up entirely of athletes from the west. The growth of professionalism in German football meant that the team they sent was no longer a senior national team squad, instead an amateur team. Despite this, Germany achieved their best result so far, reaching the semi-finals, where they were beaten by Yugoslavia. They lost 2–0 against Sweden in the bronze medal match.

In 1956 the different parts of Germany competed together as the United Team of Germany, including athletes from East, West and Saar (which was due to accede in 1956 anyway). The West German amateur team played-off with the East German national team for the right to represent Germany in the Olympics. The West won, and reached the quarter-finals, losing against the USSR. The process repeated itself in 1960 and 1964, but on both occasions East Germany won the right to compete in the tournament. As the East German league was amateur, it was able to send a senior national team, and despite failing to qualify in 1960, they finished third in 1964.

From 1968, East and West Germany competed separately, but West Germany failed to qualify for the 1968 games, losing against the United Arab Emirates in qualification. The 1972 Olympics were held in Munich, and West Germany qualified automatically as hosts – the amateur team, which contained future World Cup winner Uli Hoeneß and Champions League-winning coach Ottmar Hitzfeld, reached the second round, where they were eliminated in a group containing East Germany, who went on to win the bronze medals. West Germany did not qualify for either the 1976 or 1980 Olympics, losing against Spain and Norway respectively.

Olympiaauswahl (1984–1988)[edit]

The strict rules on amateurism had favoured Communist countries, who were able to send their senior national teams to the Olympics, as their leagues officially had amateur status. These rules were relaxed for the 1984 games: countries could select professional players, but only those who hadn't played in the finals of the World Cup. As such, West Germany selected a team known locally as the Olympiaauswahl (Olympic selection), similar in make-up to the B international team. Initially West Germany failed to qualify for the 1984 games, but were granted a reprieve following the boycott by Eastern Bloc countries. A team including future World Cup winners Andreas Brehme and Guido Buchwald reached the quarter-finals, losing 5–2 against Yugoslavia.

West Germany qualified for the 1988 Olympics, where they achieved their best ever result: third place. Having emerged from a group including China, Sweden and Tunisia, they beat Zambia 4–0 in the quarter finals. After losing on penalties to Brazil in the semi-finals, they beat Italy 3–0 to take the bronze medals: to date, this is the team's only tournament victory against Italy. Three strikers from the Olympic squad – Jürgen Klinsmann, Frank Mill and Karlheinz Riedle – would go on to win the World Cup two years later, along with midfielder Thomas Häßler.

Reunification (1992–present)[edit]

A Germany squad at the 2016 Summer Olympics.

Germany was reunified in 1990, and the 1992 Olympics saw another rule change: football squads would be made up of players under the age of 23, with three overage players allowed. On 23 June 2015 Germany was qualified for the first time after reunification for the 2016 Olympic games.The last time an Olympic team was specifically selected was in 1998 (a 1–0 defeat against Portugal). Olympic qualification is now decided by the under-21 team in the UEFA Under-21 Championship.

In the 2016 games held in Rio de Janeiro, Germany won the silver medal after losing to Brazil by 5–4 on penalty shoot-out; this was the first football game played between the two countries since the 2014 FIFA World Cup semifinal in which Germany beat Brazil 7–1. The German team also achieved the longest victory of the tournament, thrashing Fiji by 10–0 on group stage.

Overall record[edit]

Games Performance Competing as Squad Coach
Sweden 1912 – Stockholm 1st Round  Germany Squad DFB Committee
Belgium 1920 – Antwerp Banned
France 1924 – Paris Banned
Netherlands 1928 – Amsterdam Quarter-final  Germany Squad Germany Otto Nerz
Germany 1936 – Berlin Quarter-final  Germany Squad Germany Otto Nerz
United Kingdom 1948 – London Banned
Finland 1952 – Helsinki Fourth place  Germany Squad West Germany Sepp Herberger
Australia 1956 – Melbourne 1st Round United Team of Germany Squad West Germany Sepp Herberger
Italy 1960 – Rome Did not qualify
Japan 1964 – Tokyo Did not qualify
Mexico 1968 – Mexico City Did not qualify
West Germany 1972 – Munich 2nd Round  West Germany Squad West Germany Jupp Derwall
Canada 1976 – Montreal Did not qualify
Soviet Union 1980 – Moscow Did not qualify
United States 1984 – Los Angeles Quarter-final  West Germany Squad West Germany Erich Ribbeck
South Korea 1988 – Seoul Bronze  West Germany Squad West Germany Johannes Löhr
Spain 1992 – Barcelona Did not qualify
United States 1996 – Atlanta Did not qualify
Australia 2000 – Sydney Did not qualify
Greece 2004 – Athens Did not qualify
China 2008 – Beijing Did not qualify
United Kingdom 2012 – London Did not qualify
Brazil 2016 – Rio de Janeiro Silver  Germany Squad Germany Horst Hrubesch

2016 squad[edit]

The following 18 players were called up for the 2016 Summer Olympics in Rio de Janeiro.[2] Lars Bender, Sven Bender and Nils Petersen were the three selected over 23 years old players.

Caps and goals correct as of 20 August 2016.

No. Pos. Player Date of birth (age) Caps Goals Club
1 1GK Timo Horn (1993-05-12) 12 May 1993 (age 25) 6 0 Germany 1. FC Köln
2 2DF Jeremy Toljan (1994-08-08) 8 August 1994 (age 24) 6 0 Germany 1899 Hoffenheim
3 2DF Lukas Klostermann (1996-06-03) 3 June 1996 (age 22) 6 1 Germany RB Leipzig
4 2DF Matthias Ginter (1994-01-19) 19 January 1994 (age 24) 5 2 Germany Borussia Dortmund
5 2DF Niklas Süle (1995-09-03) 3 September 1995 (age 22) 6 0 Germany 1899 Hoffenheim
6 3MF Sven Bender (1989-04-27) 27 April 1989 (age 29) 6 0 Germany Borussia Dortmund
7 3MF Max Meyer (Captain) (1995-09-18) 18 September 1995 (age 22) 6 4 Germany Schalke 04
8 3MF Lars Bender (1989-04-27) 27 April 1989 (age 29) 6 0 Germany Bayer Leverkusen
9 4FW Davie Selke (1995-01-20) 20 January 1995 (age 23) 5 2 Germany RB Leipzig
10 3MF Leon Goretzka INJ (1995-02-06) 6 February 1995 (age 23) 1 0 Germany Schalke 04
11 3MF Julian Brandt (1996-05-02) 2 May 1996 (age 22) 6 0 Germany Bayer Leverkusen
12 1GK Jannik Huth (1994-04-15) 15 April 1994 (age 24) 0 0 Germany Mainz 05
13 2DF Philipp Max (1993-09-30) 30 September 1993 (age 24) 3 1 Germany FC Augsburg
14 2DF Robert Bauer (1995-04-09) 9 April 1995 (age 23) 1 0 Germany FC Ingolstadt
15 3MF Max Christiansen (1996-09-25) 25 September 1996 (age 21) 2 0 Germany FC Ingolstadt
16 3MF Grischa Prömel (1995-01-09) 9 January 1995 (age 23) 4 0 Germany Karlsruher SC
17 3MF Serge Gnabry (1995-07-14) 14 July 1995 (age 23) 6 6 England Arsenal
18 4FW Nils Petersen (1988-12-06) 6 December 1988 (age 29) 6 6 Germany SC Freiburg

See also[edit]


  1. ^ In Germany, the team is typically referred to as Die Nationalmannschaft (the national team), DFB-Elf (DFB eleven), DFB-Auswahl (DFB selection) or Nationalelf (national eleven). Whereas in foreign media, they are regularly described as (Die) Mannschaft (literally meaning the team).
  2. ^ "Die Olympia-Kader stehen fest". 15 July 2016.