Germany had a deep run in the 2002 World Cup joint-hosted by Japan and South Korea 20 years ago, and they were unfortunate to not win the whole thing as they finished as runners-up. They lost to Brazil 2-0 in the International Stadium Yokohama in Kanagawa, Japan from a Ronaldo Nazario brace. The next World Cup that they were finalists in was at Brazil 2014, and they won. A lot of time has passed since then, and if you’re curious enough to think of the whereabouts of Germany’s 2002 team, then you’ve come to the right place. Let’s begin!
Note: Teams in brackets show which club the player was playing for at the time of the 2002 World Cup.
Head Coach: Rudi Völler
Frank Rijkaard’s best friend and one who likes to do business with Bayern Munich (not), Rudi Völler was head coach of the national team from 2000 to 2004. He then became Sports Director for his old club Bayer Leverkusen from 2005 to 2018, and as Managing Director of Sport from 2018 to 2022. Völler will now become part of Leverkusen’s shareholder committee and act as their ambassador.
Starting XI (Formation: 3-4-1-2)
Oliver Kahn (Bayern Munich)
The man between the posts (phrasing). Oliver “Der Titan“ Kahn is one of the most legendary Goalkeepers the world has seen, and one of the most successful, and intimidating, players in his playing days. Kahn has had his fair share of final heartbreaks, such as the one against Manchester United in the Champions League final three years prior, and this one hurt just as much. Kahn let the ball spill from his gloves and Ronaldo was there to poke it home. Germany never recovered, culminating in Ronaldo’s second of the night. Kahn retired from international football in 2006 and from Bayern in 2008. He now serves as Bayern’s CEO.
Thomas Linke (Bayern Munich)
Thomas Linke was a member of Bayern’s 2001 Champions League winning team and had the mighty task of defending against Ronaldo. Linke’s last bit of activity with any club was at FC Ingolstadt as a director in 2019 and has been inactive since.
Carsten Ramelow (Bayer Leverkusen)
Carsten Ramelow played as a center-back or as a defensive midfielder and was a Bayer Leverkusen player for almost 13 years. He now serves as the vice president of the VDV players’ union.
Christopher Metzelder (Borussia Dortmund)
Metzelder was a towering center-back who was playing for Borussia Dortmund at the time of the 2002 World Cup on the back of a successful 2001/02 season. After a period of being a TV expert, he was put on probation for 10 months in May 2021 due to legal issues.
Torsten Frings (Werder Bremen and Borussia Dortmund*)
Frings is best known for his time at Werder Bremen, coming either side of stints at Dortmund and Bayern. In the game against the United States in 2002, Frings stopped the ball from going over the line using his hands and denied a surefire goal for the Americans. Despite his error that sparked controversy, he got away with it and went on to feature in Euro 2004 and the 2005 Confederations Cup where he picked up a bronze medal. He last managed SV Meppen until April 2021 and is currently inactive.
(*Frings was a Bremen player when the World Cup started, but he signed a contract with Dortmund after playing two games at the World Cup)
Dietmar Hamann (Liverpool FC)
Currently known for being a pundit, “Didi” Hamann was a creative midfielder whose peak at club level was winning the 2005 UEFA Champions League against AC Milan in one of the greatest comebacks in Champions League history.
Jens Jeremies (Bayern Munich)
Jeremies played as a defensive midfielder and was part of Bayern’s 2001 Champions League winning team. He now works for consulting firm T21+, an agency who has Holstein Kiel striker Jann-Fiete Arp and Fortuna Düsseldorf front man Rouwen Hennings.
Marco Bode (Werder Bremen)
Bode spent the entirety of his career in Northern Germany, playing for Werder Bremen from 1988 to 2002, with the World Cup being his last ever major tournament before retiring from football. His last involvement with any club was for Bremen as a chairman for the supervisory board until late 2021.
Bernd Schneider (Bayer Leverkusen)
Schneider was present in every game as he played all the matches at the World Cup. Nicknamed “Schnix” by fans and teammates, Schneider was a technically gifted playmaker known for his passing, dribbling, shots from distance, and accurate set-pieces, thus earning another nickname: “The White Brazilian”. He now works as a player consultant for the “Soccer Marketing Group GmbH” agency.
Miroslav Klose (FC Kaiserslautern)
The front-flipping goal machine and a proponent of fair play on the pitch, legendary striker Miroslav Klose was a regular for the national team and in his maiden international tournament in 2002 finished with a silver medal, though he would go one better in 2014. He also set a record for most headed goals in the World Cup (5 in 2002). Klose, who is the highest scoring player in German international football history, is currently plying his trade as a coach for SCR Altach in Austria.
Oliver Neuville (Bayer Leverkusen)
Neuville partnered Klose up front in the final against Brazil. The Swiss-born striker, whose unique surname stemmed from his Belgian grandfather, scored plenty of goals for Bayer Leverkusen and Borussia Monchengladbach, the latter of which he serves as assistant coach.