West Germany 1954+15

GermanyJuly 1954. World Cup Winners, Berne

Left to Right: Sepp Herberger (Trainer), Fritz Walter, Toni Turek, Horst Eckel, Helmut Rahn, Ottmar Walter, Werner Liebrich, Jupp Posipal, Hans Schäfer, Werner Kohlmeyer and Karl Mai. (Max Morlock is off picture). Click picture to enlarge.

April 1969. World Cup Winners, Brunswick. Benefit Match

Left to Right (standing): Fritz Walter, Horst Eckel, Helmut Rahn, Ottmar Walter, Sepp Herberger, Werner Liebrich, Jupp Posipal, Max Morlock and Hans Schäfer.

Left to Right (kneeling): Karl Mai, Toni Turek and Werner Kohlmeyer. Click picture to enlarge

From vibrant youth and vigour to corpulent middle-aged spread – the passage of time can be punishing for players post-retiral. These pictures of West Germany’s 1954 World Cup winning team were taken 15 years apart and demonstrate the point well. Such are the changes, without the name guide it’s hard to match up the players between photos. You could probably make the case that the distinctive, lop-sided expression of trainer Sepp Herberger is the easiest feature to pick out from both.

Hans Schäfer is the only remaining members of that great team still alive and going strong in his late 80s. Toni Turek and Werner Komlmeyer in particular had the most troubled lives after their careers ended. Turek became paralysed from the waist down in 1973 and died in 1984 at the age of 65. The tragic Kolhlmeyer lived only another 5 years after this 1969 benefit match, depression and alcoholism contributing to his death from heart failure at the age of 49.

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