West Germany 1990 World Cup squad - Who were the players and where are they now?

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Germany 1990 World Cup
The final wasn’t a classic, but the World Cup of Italia ’90 saw German efficiency overcome Carlos Bilardo’s Argentina

West Germany sealed their third World Cup win when gaining revenge over Argentina for the loss they suffered in the 1986 final.

Franz Beckenbauer saw his side cruise through the group stage as they beat Yugoslavia and UAE, before settling for a draw in their final group-stage fixture against Colombia.

They then overcame Netherlands, Czechoslovakia and England on the way to the final in Rome.

Andreas Brehme netted the only goal of the match in the 85th minute from the penalty spot to seal the game and help the Germans lift the trophy.

Who were part of the squad, though, and what has happened to those players since?

  1. Bodo Illgner - Goalkeeper
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    Bodo Illgner - Goalkeeper

    Keeper Illgner was at 1. FC Koeln during the 1990 finals and stayed there until 1996 when he joined Real Madrid. He was a key figure in the semi-final penalty shoot-out win over England, as Stuart Pearce will testify.

    At Real, he had to fight Santiago Canizares for the first-team jersey and kept goal for Los Blancos’ Champions League final win over Juventus in 1998. In 1999, however, he lost his place to youngster Iker Casillas and retired in 2000.

    Yet he remained in Spain living in Alicante with his wife Bianca and his three children. He was a co-commentator for Premiere at various times. In 2007 he decided to emigrate to Miami.

  2. Andreas Brehme - Defender

    Andreas Brehme - Defender

    It was Brehme’s 85th-minute penalty that won the World Cup for Germany against the negative Argentines. Following the triumph in Rome, he spent two further seasons with Inter Milan before moving to Spain with Real Zaragoza for a season. He returned to Germany and made 120 appearances for Kaiserslautern, helping the Red Devils win the Bundesliga in 1998.

    Brehme entered coaching after his retirement but without great success. At Kaiserslautern, he was fired after two years, and the same thing happened at second-division Unterhaching. He became Giovanni Trapattoni’s assistant at Stuttgart but again was dismissed along with the Italian in 2006.

    He was an ambassador for the German FA and is involved in an initiative to provide mini football pitches for children in Germany.

  3. Jurgen Kohler - Defender
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    Jurgen Kohler - Defender

    Following the World Cup success, center-back Kohler was snapped up by Juventus in 1991 and he went on to win Serie A (1995) and the UEFA Cup (1993). He returned to the Bundesliga in 1995 with Borussia Dortmund with whom he won the league title twice and the Champions League in 1997. He was also part of the German side that won the European Championships in 1996.

    He retired in 2002 and succeeded Johannes Loehr as German U-21 trainer and a year later he became the sporting director at Bayer Leverkusen. At the start of 2006, he spent four months as a trainer of MSV Duisburg before being sacked. In August 2008 he became the trainer of third division VfR Aalen but lasted just 80 days as doctors told him to quit on health grounds.

  4. Klaus Augenthaler - Defender
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    Klaus Augenthaler - Defender

    The World Cup sweeper retired in 1991 and took up the position of youth team trainer at Bayern Munich. Between 1992 and 1997 he was the co-trainer for the Bavarian giants. His first trainer post came with Grazer AK in 1997, but he returned to Germany in 2000 to take the reins at Nuernberg, whom he led into the Bundesliga. However, with the club in danger of being relegated in 2003, he was let go.

    Bayer Leverkusen took him on and he led them to Champions league qualification with a third place finish in 2004. He was fired in 2005, and after a break became Wolfsburg trainer only to lose his job in 2007 when he agreed to terminate his contract. He also worked for the radio channel Bayern 1 as a presenter.

  5. Guido Buchwald - Defender
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    Guido Buchwald - Defender

    Buchwald left Stuttgart in 1994 to try his luck in Japan with the fledgling J-League and Urawa Red Diamonds before returning to Germany and playing 40 games for Karlsruhe. On retiring in 1999 he became sporting director first at Karlsruhe then at Stuttgarter Kickers.

    In 2004 he returned to Japan to take up the trainer’s position at Urawa. After finishing as runners-up twice, he led the Asian side to a long-awaited league and Cup double in 2006. He duly left his position and took up the post of trainer with German second division side Alemannia Aachen.

    Less than six months later though and he was fired due to poor results. He was strongly linked with becoming the national team trainer of Ghana in 2008 before the Africans handed the job to Serbian Milovan Rajevac instead.

  6. Thomas Berthold - Defender
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    Thomas Berthold - Defender

    Full-back Berthold was playing for Roma when Germany triumphed in his ‘home’ stadium in 1990. He also played in the 1986 World Cup final when Germany lost to Argentina in Mexico. He joined Bayern Munich in 1991 and then moved to Stuttgart in 1993.

    After hanging up his boots he had a time as manager of Fortuna Duesseldorf. Nowadays he can be found playing on the ex-pros circuit for the ‘Swabia All-Stars’ along with Karl-Heinz Foerster and Guido Buchwald, as well as writing a column for Kicker. He is also involved in charitable work for South American street children.

  7. Thomas Haessler - Midfielder
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    Thomas Haessler - Midfielder

    Following the World Cup, Haessler was signed by Juventus for a fee of DM 15 million but lasted just one season before Roma signed him for DM 14 million. After 88 games for the Giallorossi, he returned to Germany with Karlsruhe. He retired in 2004 after additional spells at Borussia Dortmund, 1860 Munich and Austria Salzburg.

    After retirement, he worked as an assistant coach with the Nigeria national team and FC Koln and since 2019 he has been managing German sixth-division club BFC Preussen.

  8. Lothar Matthaus - Midfielder

    Lothar Matthaus - Midfielder

    The 1990 World Cup-winning captain has had a far less glamorous and successful career following retirement as a player. He was yet another of the winning team to be plying his trade in Italy at the time of Germany’s triumph in Rome. He left Inter in 1992 when he returned to Bayern Munich. Eight more years and four more Bundesliga titles followed to go with the three he had won in his first spell with the Bavarians.

    He ended his playing days in America with NY/NJ Metro Stars before taking up a coaching career. The highlights however have been few and far between. Spells at Rapid Vienna, Partizan Belgrade, the Hungarian national team, Atletico Paranaense, and Red Bull Salzburg hardly set the world on fire.

  9. Pierre Littbarski - Midfielder

    Pierre Littbarski - Midfielder

    Alongside goalkeeper Bodo Illgner ‘Litti’ was the second Koeln player to appear in Germany’s final winning team. He joined J-League side JEF United in 1993 and ended his playing career in 1997.

    Like many of the 1990 winning side, Littbarski has tried his hand at coaching - mainly in Asia and has had spells at Yokohama FC, Sydney FC, Avispa Fukuoka, and Saipa Teheran in Iran. He won the league title twice while with Yokohama and added a further league triumph at Sydney.

  10. Rudi Voeller - Forward
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    Rudi Voeller - Forward

    German legend Voeller was at Roma along with Thomas Berthold in 1990 so felt at home at the Stadio Olimpico for the final, although will be best remembered for his spat (spit?) with Frank Rijkaard.

    On leaving Roma in 1992 ‘Aunty Kaethe’ had spells at Marseille and Bayer Leverkusen where he scored a further 50 goals in the twilight of his career. He also won the European Cup while at Marseille. After retiring in 1996 Voeller was the DFB’s choice to succeed Erik Ribbeck as German national team trainer in 2000. It was meant to be an interim appointment until Christophe Daum could take over, but Daum’s subsequent drug use ruled him out and Voeller stayed on.

    He took Germany to the World Cup finals in Japan/Korea and went as far as the final only to fall to Brazil. He resigned in 2004 following a poor showing at Euro 2004 and had a strange month in charge at Roma. Since January 2005 he has been the sporting director at Bayer Leverkusen.

  11. Juergen Klinsmann - Forward
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    Juergen Klinsmann - Forward

    Yet another Serie A player at the time of the World Cup triumph. Klinsmann was with Andy Brehme and Lothar Matthaus at Inter in 1990 but left the Nerazzurri in 1992 for Monaco. From there he joined Tottenham before playing for Bayern Munich, Sampdoria and finally Orange County Blue Star under the pseudonym of Jay Goppingen.

    Following Rudi Voeller’s resignation in 2004 the DFB considered many candidates to take them to the World Cup on home soil in 2006, before ultimately choosing Klinsmann. His modern methods and philosophy very nearly paid dividends but Germany narrowly failed to achieve glory. After leaving the national team's job, Klinsmann briefly served Bayern Munich as their manager between 2008 and 2009. He then managed the USA national team from 2011 to 2016. In 2019, he joined Hertha BSC as their manager but left the job within 10 weeks.

  12. Stefan Reuter - Substitute
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    Stefan Reuter - Substitute

    Reuter, then at Bayern Munich, was the only German sub sent on in the final. He had just won the Bundesliga twice in succession with the Bavarians and joined Juventus after the World Cup, but returned to Borussia Dortmund after just one season.

    He won the Bundesliga three times there as well as the Champions League in 1997. He won the 1996 European Championships with Germany to go with his World Cup medal before retiring in 2004.

    After ending his playing days he took up a position in the Dortmund administration before joining 1860 Munich as their business manager. He also worked as a general manager at FC Augsburg.

  13. Franz Beckenbauer - Coach

    Franz Beckenbauer - Coach

    ‘Der Kaiser’ lifted the World Cup in 1974 as a player, and repeated the feat as manager in 1990. Following the triumph in Italy, Beckenbauer took up the post of coach at French side Marseille, whom he led to the Ligue 1 title in his only season in charge.

    After brief spells filling in as Bayern trainer, he took up office as Bayern president in 1994 and served the club until 2009 when Uli Hoeneß succeeded him. In 1998 he became vice-president of the German FA and led Germany's successful bid to host the 2006 World Cup, chairing the organizing committee.