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The Franconian is a former footballer who became European champion in 1980 and world champion in 1990 as captain with the German national team. He won a number of other titles at his club stations Borussia Mönchengladbach, FC Bayern Munich and Inter Milan. Initially he worked as a trainer after his active career, but he is now a TV expert on his own.
Like most boys at that time, Lothar Matthäus started playing football at a very young age. His first club in his hometown was 1. FC Herzogenaurach. He also grew up there, although he was born in Erlangen in 1961. At the age of 18 he began an apprenticeship as an interior decorator. But in 1979 he moved to Borussia Mönchengladbach in the Bundesliga, where he was immediately part of the team as a midfielder under the then coach Jupp Heynckes.
After these convincing performances in the Bundesliga, Lothar Matthäus was quickly nominated for the German national team and taken to the 1980 European Championships in Rome. He made his only appearance there, coming on as a 73rd-minute substitute for then-captain Bernard Dietz in a 3-2 group-stage win over the Netherlands.
But his career continued to climb steeply. He fully established himself in the Bundesliga and took part in the 1982 World Cup, where he only made two brief appearances. In 1984, after losing the DFB Cup final with Borussia Mönchengladbach, he followed the call of FC Bayern Munich. He stayed there until 1988 before moving on to Inter Milan in Italy.
From there he returned to FC Bayern Munich for 8 years before adding another season with the New York Metro Stars.
He then ended his career as an active player and worked as a coach at various stations. His first stop was Rapid Vienna, followed by Partizan Belgard, Hungary, Athletico Paranaense, Maccabi Netanja and most recently Bulgaria. Since the end of this job in 2011, he has worked exclusively as a TV expert, primarily for the German pay channel sky.
The greatest success by far was winning the 1990 World Cup in Italy, when he not only led the German team to the title as captain, but also made a decisive contribution to this success with strong performances and his own goals. He was also voted the (unofficial) world footballer of the year in the same year. An award that has never been granted to any other German player.
At club level he won several national titles. These include 7 German championships, 1 Italian, 2 German cup victories and two UEFA Cup titles. In 1980 he did it right at the start of his career with Borussia Mönchengladbach, and again in 1991 with Inter Milan. In the Champions League or its predecessor, however, he lost the final twice (in 1987 and 1999 with FC Bayern Munich), so he does not have this title in his collection.
There are also a number of individual awards, of which only the most important are mentioned:
In 1991 he was voted World Player of the Year a second time, this time officially by FIFA. In 1990 he was also voted Europe’s Sportsman of the Year, as well as Germany’s Footballer of the Year, which was to be repeated again in 1999.
Since 2001 he has been one of only six honorary captains of the German national team, alongside the late Fritz Walter, Uwe Seeler, Franz Beckenbauer, Jürgen Klinsmann and Philipp Lahm.
Since he has been in the public eye since he was 19, there is a huge pool of quotes from Lothar Matthäus. Only the highlights should be mentioned here.
- “We just mustn’t stick our heads in the sand now.”
- “We’re a well-schemed squad.”
- “Yes, the back is the Achilles’ heel of the body.”
- “I hope we’re a little bit lucky.”
- “A Lothar Matthäus cannot be defeated by his body, a Lothar Matthäus decides his fate himself.”
- “I noticed right away that it’s a pain when you press on it.”
The German record national player 150 appearances holds many other records. He holds the record for most World Cup appearances by a player, with 25 games in 5 World Cup appearances.
His private life was also quite eventful. Lothar Matthäus had a total of five different wives with whom he fathered four children. His last marriage, which has lasted since 2014, was with a woman 27 years his junior, with whom he also had a son.
At the age of 39, when he took part in the European Championships in 2000, he is still the oldest German national player. In addition, with his goal from the year before, he is the oldest goalscorer in the DFB selection at the age of 38.
Nevertheless, he is the only player to miss a penalty twice in a DFB Cup final. First on penalties for Borussia Mönchengladbach in 1984 against his future club FC Bayern Munich. Then in 1999 with FC Bayern against Werder Bremen, whereupon Bremen and not Bayern won the DFB Cup.