All-Time Greatest Players ('Kicker', July 1941)

Discussion in 'The Beautiful Game' started by Gregoriak, Jan 28, 2018.

  1. Gregoriak

    Gregoriak BigSoccer Supporter

    Feb 27, 2002
    Bolzplatz
    #1 Gregoriak, Jan 28, 2018
    Last edited: Jan 28, 2018
    The following series was published by 'Kicker' between July and September 1941. It was compiled by former Reichstrainer Otto Nerz, who had been a football observer for the past 40 years. Its focus is on continental football but Nerz also incorporates the most well-known South American players (those that left a mark in the three World Cups played up to that point as well as the Olympic tournaments). British players are not included. I guess since Nerz was a great admirer of British football, the best British players would by default be ranked as the world's best in any position and to avoid boredom he just left them out (my take). Nerz observes the best players in each position, first for Germany (including Austrians), then continentally, then the global best. I will try to translate the most interesting parts but I don't know when. First the actual series without translation (except the headlines).

    GOALKEEPERS
    Headlines:
    Who were the best players in the world?
    Today: Goalkeepers!
    Best German: Jakob!
    World's Best: Zamora!
    Comparisons are possible
    Attempt at a world ranking


    [​IMG]

    My rolemodel: Pekarna
    Versatile Lohrmann
    The most popular of all

    [​IMG]

    The greatest talent
    Wunderteam-Keeper: a little nervous
    Germany in world class
    God in goal
    Above all: Zamora

    [​IMG]

    FULL BACKS
    None better than Tarp
    No class man before 1914

    [​IMG]

    Off-Side tactic spoilt full back style
    Now the "full backs" had to run
    Viennese elite of the 1920s
    The modern playing style demands a mobile full back

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    Sesta in "Wunderteam" and European selection
    Our full backs during the II. World Cup in Italy
    Tarp named Münzenberg as world's best
    Prime player among German full backs: Janes

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    The suns on the international football sky
    Tarp dominated all forwards
    Ramseyer, the iron-hard hustler

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    Romanic aces: Caligaris and Quincoces
    None stronger than Fogl II
    Best German full backs: Janes-Blum
    Best European full backs: Tarp-Fogl II
    World's best: Tarp-Nasazzi

    [​IMG]

     
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  2. Gregoriak

    Gregoriak BigSoccer Supporter

    Feb 27, 2002
    Bolzplatz
    #2 Gregoriak, Jan 28, 2018
    Last edited: Jan 28, 2018
    CENTRE-HALVES

    The centre-halves in the parade of the world's best
    Monti towered above all
    Breunig and Ugi
    The early Viennese class

    [​IMG]

    The decade of Hans Kalb
    Paralyzed strikers - style disorientation
    Szepan would have become the best of all centre-halves

    [​IMG]

    With Ludwig Goldbrunner: Greatest successes in hardest games
    The centre-halves of the "Wunderteam"
    Now European panorama

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    Middelboe outperformed Breunig
    Kada was Kalb's opponent
    Monti the best of all


    [​IMG]

    Not to forget Schmiedlin
    Best German: Goldbrunner
    Continent's best: Monti
    World's best: Monti


    [​IMG]

    HALF BACKS

    The world's best: Andrade-Evaristo
    The best of the Reich and Europe: Kupfer-Nausch
    Great team - great lateral runners
    How tactics changed

    [​IMG]

    Burger, one of the greatest talents
    Before and after the World War: Schmidt Bumbas

    [​IMG]

    Fighter Knöpfle
    Unsurpassed: Kupfer

    [​IMG]

    Now the "left-sided ones"
    Kitzinger world class just as much as Nausch

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    Beyond the borders of the Reich
    A football wonder from Uruguay
    The greatest ball artist
    Right halves:
    Best German: Kupfer
    Continent's best: Kupfer
    World's best: Andrade

    Left halves:
    Best German: Nausch
    Continent's best: Nausch
    World's best: Evaristo

    [​IMG]
     
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  3. Gregoriak

    Gregoriak BigSoccer Supporter

    Feb 27, 2002
    Bolzplatz
    #3 Gregoriak, Jan 28, 2018
    Last edited: Jan 28, 2018
    LINKMEN / INSIDE FORWARDS
    The crown of the linkman forwards belongs to the best team directors - Szepan and Meazza
    Close behind, in the rich variety of Nerz's ranking, Richard Hofmann and Gschweidl among the "artists of the game"
    Fritz Förderer, the fine technician


    [​IMG]

    After the World War the time of "Resi" Franz
    From the II. World Cup to the Breslau XI
    The great time of the Viennese

    [​IMG]

    Gschweidl ahead of Hahnemann
    The Belgian aces
    Latin record international forwards
    Kvammen, the best Scandinavian
    Best German: Fritz Gschweidl
    Best on the continent: Meazza - Italy
    World's best: Meazza - Italy
    The inside left forwards!

    [​IMG]

    The unsurpassed dribbler Fischera
    The first teacher of Schalke

    [​IMG]

    Richard Hofmann during his time the world's greatest inside left
    But Fritz Szepan got even bigger

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    Competition from inside the family
    As a juvenile on course to the national team
    Bowlegs ahead in Europe
    Forward kings of Paris 1924
    Under Italian sun
    German best: Szepan
    Continent's best: Szepan
    World's best: Szepan

    [​IMG]
     
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  4. Gregoriak

    Gregoriak BigSoccer Supporter

    Feb 27, 2002
    Bolzplatz
    #4 Gregoriak, Jan 28, 2018
    Last edited: Jan 28, 2018
    WINGERS
    The world's best
    The choice was easy: Orsi
    In Germany Lehner and Vogl were the unsurpassed outside forwards
    World's best outside right: Sas
    Mostly pace
    With Wegele the "classic" outside right tradition began

    [​IMG]

    Wondrak's great precursor
    When Albrecht emerged....
    New tasks for the wingers

    [​IMG]

    Right-hand drive for the Wunderteam
    At the top Lehner
    From Rivolta to Riha

    [​IMG]

    My choice as world's best: Sas
    South Americans born wingers
    Outstanding "lefties" from the past: Oberle and Möller

    [​IMG]

    Sutor inaugurates the rank
    Class of his own: Vogl


    [​IMG]

    Kobierski outstanding in the old Reich
    Fath and Zamora
    Greats of the continent
    Choice without hesitation: Orsi
    Outside Rights
    Best German: Lehner
    Continent's best: Sas
    World's best: Sas
    Outside lefts
    Best German: Vogl I
    Continent's best: Orsi
    World's best: Orsi

    [​IMG]
     
  5. Gregoriak

    Gregoriak BigSoccer Supporter

    Feb 27, 2002
    Bolzplatz
    #5 Gregoriak, Jan 28, 2018
    Last edited: Jan 28, 2018
    CENTRE FORWARDS
    Now at the end of the 'Kicker' series, the stately guard of the centre forwards
    Sindelar the world's best
    Tank and leader at the same time
    The great rolemodel Adolf Jäger

    [​IMG]

    Striker leader Studnicka already legendary
    Tull Harder a type of his own kind
    Artists of the short pass game

    [​IMG]

    In the years of the conversion
    Conen a star of first order
    Again a Saarpfälzer....

    [​IMG]

    Binder, the controversial man
    Viennese heyday is looming
    Sindelar was the Wunderteam
    Best German: Sindelar
    Alfred Schaffer, the football king

    [​IMG]

    CONCLUSION
    The result of our great showing of the most famous footballers of all time
    Two Germans in the world team
    ...and 18 Germans deserve the rank of 'world class'
    How do you like these teams?
    This is the best world class!
    There are 700 international players, but ....

    [​IMG]

    90 selected players, screened once more
    Continental class beyond the borders
    World class of far away continents
    This is how I line up the world team
    Germanic versus Romanic world XI
    A team of record internationals
    Proof for extra class

    [​IMG]

    Player personalities of a special kind
    Outstanding foreign players in Germany
    The highest yet rarest benchmarks

    [​IMG]
     
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  6. msioux75

    msioux75 Member+

    Jan 8, 2006
    Lima, Peru
    Fascinating series.

    As a complement, in the old great players list thread, another publication match with this list, mentioning amongt the world's best, in prewar era, to:

    Keeper: Zamora, Planicka, Jakob, Mazali
    Defender: Nasazzi, Janes, Fogl II, Quincocés, Caligaris, Foni, Rava
    Centre-half: Monti, Kada, Orth
    Wing-half: Nausch
    Inside Forward: Meazza, Scarone, Regueiro, Ferrari
    Winger: Orsi, Puc, Gorostiza
    Striker: Sindelar, Conen, Leonidas, Binder

    Overlooked - JL.Andrade (in the other list)
    British players, as mentioned in the opening post.
     
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  7. poetgooner

    poetgooner Member+

    Nov 20, 2014
    Club:
    Arsenal FC
    I enjoyed that a lot even though I couldn't read it. Contemporary accounts are always fascinating.

    As a matter of my own interest as an Arsenal fan, do you know how highly rated the Arsenal team of the 30s were? You know, the team with Chapman in charge, and later Joe Shaw and George Allison. Specifically, the likes of Eddie Hapgood, Ted Drake, Alex James, and Cliff Bastin. I know they were rich team of the time, but I wonder if they were highly rated internationally?
     
  8. peterhrt

    peterhrt Member

    Oct 21, 2015
    Club:
    Leeds United AFC
    Austrian manager Hugo Meisl said he only needed to add Bastin to his team to be sure of winning the 1934 World Cup.

    He also remarked that a friend's young niece knew only three words of English: Bastin, James and Arsenal.

    Chapman's Arsenal were unpopular in England. Their new tactics of defending deep and hitting opponents on the counter-attack appeared to many to be contrary to the spirit of the game. The tactics were nicknamed "smash and grab" and were all the more galling in a period of economic depression when London seemed to be escaping most of the hardship.

    Chapman appeared to enjoy flashing his money around and Arsenal were the first club south of Birmingham to win the league.

    His tactical acumen was appreciated more by Meisl and the Italian manager Pozzo, who became his friends but did not adopt his system. German national team manager Otto Nerz was an early convert to Chapman's WM.
     
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  9. peterhrt

    peterhrt Member

    Oct 21, 2015
    Club:
    Leeds United AFC
    Arsenal played 29 matches against club sides in Europe during the 1930s. Opponents were from Scandinavia, France, Netherlands and Belgium.

    Arsenal won 24 games, drew 4, and lost 1 to Feyenoord in Rotterdam.

    They scored 103 goals and conceded 23.
     
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  10. poetgooner

    poetgooner Member+

    Nov 20, 2014
    Club:
    Arsenal FC
    Those are some very impressive numbers for sure.

    I didn't know England was so highly rated.

    Would it be safe to say that England would have been favourites at both '34 and '38 World Cup? That seems to weird to me lol.

    Arguably, compared to the rest of the World, Arsenal actually reached their peak in the 30s, and not in the early 2000s?

    I actually did some googling, and found this interesting piece. Fun read:
    http://www.thearsenalhistory.com/?p=10144
     
  11. peterhrt

    peterhrt Member

    Oct 21, 2015
    Club:
    Leeds United AFC
    There is another thread on England and the World Cups of the 1930s.

    https://www.bigsoccer.com/threads/what-if-england-had-been-in-1930-34-and-38-world-cups.2011835/

    Arsenal were more dominant in England during the 1930s than during Wenger's successful phase. The ten seasons 1930-39 brought the club 5 league titles and 2 FA Cups at a time when the cup was almost as important as the league in England. No other club won the league more than twice in the 1930s, or the cup more than once.

    During the ten-year period 1998-2007, Arsenal picked up 3 league titles and 4 FA Cups (including 2 Doubles). But they were behind Manchester United who had 5 league titles, 2 FA Cups and 1 Champions League (including 1 Treble). Liverpool also won the Champions League during this period and reached another final. Arsenal made one UCL final, losing to Barcelona.

    Arsenal's record against European clubs in the 1930s was impressive, but all opponents were amateur. The Gunners did not face any of the professional clubs from Austria, Czechoslovakia, Hungary, Italy and Spain. Nor the leading German club Schalke. As your interesting link shows, Arsenal did however beat a strong Austrian XI at Highbury.

    Set against that was a poor record against Rangers, seven times Scottish league champions during the decade and five times cup-winners. The two clubs faced each other on six occasions during the 1930s, with Rangers winning three times and Arsenal just once. A two-legged “British Championship” playoff in September 1933 saw Rangers win both legs: 2-0 at Ibrox and 3-1 at Highbury.

    Wenger's team's achievement of becoming only the second team to go through the league season unbeaten could perhaps be compared with Chapman's being the second to win three successive league championships. The latter feat has been devalued a little by being emulated three times since.

    On balance Arsenal's golden age was probably the 1930s.
     
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  12. Gregoriak

    Gregoriak BigSoccer Supporter

    Feb 27, 2002
    Bolzplatz

    In most of Germany in the 1930s (and the decades before and after), England were considered the be-all and end-all of football. The absolute rolemodels which everyone tried to emulate and approach as much as possible. Of course German football was non-professional which made the contrast between German and English football much starter than between Italian, Spanish or Austrian football, who were also professionals like the English. But even in comparison with other professional countries, England was generally put on a pedestal by German experts, possessing an almost unattainable high level.
     
  13. Gregoriak

    Gregoriak BigSoccer Supporter

    Feb 27, 2002
    Bolzplatz
    I have scanned the "Kicker" report on England's October 1938 encounter against a European selection (3-0 to England) and it certainly will show a lot of admiration and worshipping by Dr. Friedebert Becker, but I have only browsed over it so far, translation will take time.
     
  14. Gregoriak

    Gregoriak BigSoccer Supporter

    Feb 27, 2002
    Bolzplatz
    First part:

    Time and again football friends compare diverse players, weighing them against each other and thus the attempt shall be made to reach a solid ground in this. We dare to create a football ranking but none of currently active players but a "timeless" ranking of the most famous players of the past and present. The first question that arises: is it reasonable to devise such a ranking? Can one compare players from different decades who mostly never faced each other and who played under very different circumstances? Even in those sports were solid measures and times are available to judge performances one cannot automatically conclude which man was
    t h e b e s t, because there are the circumstances playing a role in which a performance was achieved, like the general state of development.

    How much more difficult is it now to make a comparison in football over lengthy periods, where we lack concrete measures and times, a comparion that spans continents and oceans. Technique and tactic are constantly evolving. What few today manage will in a few years be basic skill. What may have been sufficient to win a championship 30 years ago today hardly is sufficient for an average or beginner's performance. After all, the individual player is part of a team and his performance is depending on that of his teammates. We can safely assume that many great a talent remains undiscovered because it lacks the surroundings that could make it become visible. Still, I'll have a go at it.

    First I will try to conclude who is the best G e r m a n in each position. This surely is not an easy task and I am well aware that this only mirrors my personal opinion and that someone else would arrive at a complete different verdict. On the other hand I am sure that no one can disprove me just as well as I cannot prove my views.

    One point put into consideration is the duration a player managed to keep a high level. A player that has reached as good a level as another player but for a longer period will be rated higher. Subsequent to the German ranking an international ranking will follow. Generally I will only consider those players that are somehow known to us, who we competed against. This is also not easily done because we still only have not much more than a sketchy knowledge of these international players' level. The British will not be considered.

    Also considered are overseas players insofar as they competed in Olympic Games and World Cups and thus have had contact with European football. A world ranking is still not possible because the true potential of the South Americans cannot be judged in such a few games. But even regarding German and continental players my ranking is not a complete one. The number of players is just too vast to be complete. It is likely in particular that the pre-War era (pre 1914) is getting a raw deal. My own observations only span the last 40 years. Additionally, this ranking is based on m y concept and m y principles of football which naturally influences the result.
     
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  15. Gregoriak

    Gregoriak BigSoccer Supporter

    Feb 27, 2002
    Bolzplatz
    #15 Gregoriak, Jan 30, 2018
    Last edited: Jan 30, 2018
    Goalkeepers

    The goalkeeper is one of the key players of a team. Hence it is no surprise that teams that proved to be successful for a number of years had excellent goalkeepers. The road to a championship is long and it often depends on the goalkeeper in decisive moments. For example the old Nürnberg team is unthinkable without Stuhlfauth. In five finals he conceded no goal and almost for 20 years he was at the centre of attention. He was arguably the most popular German goalkeeper.

    Some goalkeepers are unlucky having to play in a mediocre team, thus their deeds are not witnessed by the great masses and remain rather obscure. They can prove their class only on rare occasions. This needs to be reckoned with in this ranking. The most popular goalkeeper is not automatically the best!

    My rolemodel: Pekarna

    In my consideration I must add that I consider the Viennese as part of the Germans although they led a separate existence for the majority of the past. Since we did not compete that often with them it is likely that the Austrians might get a raw deal in this ranking. But still I hope that the very greatest are considered and it is them that really count.

    The best German goalkeeper of the pre-War era was in my opinion the Viennese Pekarna. He was at least equal to the British professionals of his time. …. His style was virtually classic and elegant. He commanded the goalline and the box very assuredly and avoided any superfluous leaving of his goal. He used his feet very effective and was excellent in that regard. Of slender build and slighty above average height he ideally met the requirements of a goalkeeper. When I taught goalkeeping it was Pekarna who I used as a rolemodel. ….. [he goes on about a number of other goalkeepers but I will only translate the highest ranked player among the German selections].
    ...
    Kress was followed by Jakob. He accomplished the greatest career of all German goalkeepers. Capped 38 times. Played for West Europe in 1937 in Amsterdam. His club was an average provincial team (Jahn Regensburg) and Jakob stayed true to his club. Thus the only time he really was in focus of attention was when playing for the national team. Hence he might not have attained the popularity of Stuhlfauth but his performances have been outstanding. Jakob by the way is also an excellent track-and-field athlete just as Kress is a good handball player.
     
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  16. Gregoriak

    Gregoriak BigSoccer Supporter

    Feb 27, 2002
    Bolzplatz
    Excellent reputation and high skill possessed Hiden, the goalkeeper of the Viennese Wunderteam. In many ways he resembled Pekarna but he also had the luck to play in a first class club team and national team. In the game against England however it showed that it is a distinctive difference for a goalkeeper getting attacked or not getting attacked. While he played well he couldn't shake a certain nervousness. Without doubt he stood for great class. Via emigration to France he left the Viennese and Austrian focus. While there have been other good goalkeepers before and after Hiden in Vienna (Franzl, Platzer, Raftl etc.) Hiden did tower above all of them. Of the pre-War goalkeepers only Pekarna is a choice for the first spot. Other goalkeepers that were excellent: Stuhlfauth, Kress, Hiden and Jakob. Regarding their style these were basically on the same level: Pekarna, Hiden, Kress. Performance-wise at the top: Stuhlfauth and Jakob. To me, Jakob is at the top.

    When we compare our goalkeepers internationally, they do compare quite well. In no other position do we have so many players of world class! Pekarna, Hiden, Stuhlfauth, Kress and Jakob - between them there are only minor differences that are really hard to determine - belong to the group of international class players that have to fear a comparison with no one.

    The playing style of goalkeepers has changed considerably over the years. Originally the goalkeeper was an outfield player that was set into the goal. Only slowly it was noticed what a high tactical value the goalkeeper has and over the years a specialist with a special technique evolved. Around 1900, when goalkeepers started diving for balls, this was a sensation. The defense via foot became less frequent and for a while it almost completely disappeared. Goalkeepers had become sole "hand ball players". Only the conversion to the modern playing style with the attacking of the goalkeeper brought footwork and fisting back. The rank of former goalkeepers that would still be up-to-date today begins with Pekarna. It goes without saying that the leading football nations also had outstanding goalkeepers. Especially the Romanic nations with their mobile temperament seem to be very gifted for the taks of goalkeeping.
     
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  17. Gregoriak

    Gregoriak BigSoccer Supporter

    Feb 27, 2002
    Bolzplatz
    Italian football, which doubtlessly is at the top on the continent due to its many recent successes, provided two very excellent goalkeepers in recent times: at the 1928 Olympics in Amsterdam Combi excelled. He was Italy's no. 1 goalkeeper for many years and took part in the 1934 World Cup. In 1930 in the game Italy v Germany he saved his team from defeat. The Italian press wrote back then: "God himself stood in the goal!" Similar superlatives were bestowed upon Heinrich Stuhlfauth after his great game against Italy in Torino in 1929 where Stuhlfauth was instrumental in saving Germany's only ever victory in Italy. Combis successor is Olivieri. He already twice played in Berlin (1936 Olympics and 1939 friendly). He was Italy's goalkeeper during the 1938 World Cup in France and was also the keeper of the European XI that faced England at Wembley in 1938. Cat-like agility and lightning-fast reactions identify this goalkeeper.

    Above all: Zamora

    A wholly different type was Zamora, the Spanish goalkeeper. He was an outstanding athlete and combined southern temperament with nordic calm and tactical nous. I place Zamora at the top of the continent and the world, too. For almost 20 years he was without competition in Spain, almost a national hero. I first saw him 20 years ago in Spain and afterwards a few times playing for Spain. Against Germany he only played once: in Barcelona. He couldn't prevent Spain's defeat in that game.

    Belonging to the very great masters of the art of goalkeeping is also the Prague player Planicka. He played many years for Slavia and the Czechoslovakian national team. He was very instrumental in Czechoslovakia reaching the World Cup final in Italy. His speedy reactions were fascinating.

    The North of Europe provided an ongoing supply of good goalkeepers. Outstanding the Dane Svend Jensen. He too spent almost 20 years in goal. The best Swissman was arguably Pulver who kept Switzerland's goal during the 1924 Olympics.

    First place on the continent: Zamora (short-listed: Combi).

    Of the overseas goalkeepers Mazzali of Uruguay may be mentioned. He played in Paris as well as Amsterdam (Olympics). His style resembled that of the Italians Combi and Olivieri. Yet neither he nor another overseas goalkeeper can dispute Zamora's first rank.
     
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  18. poetgooner

    poetgooner Member+

    Nov 20, 2014
    Club:
    Arsenal FC
    How highly rated were the South Americans such as Scarone, Erico, and Leonidas, by Kicker?
     
  19. msioux75

    msioux75 Member+

    Jan 8, 2006
    Lima, Peru
    I see Scarone and Leonidas being named in the subsection for SA in their respective roles.

    btw, I guess only SA players who played at WC and Olympics were named.
     
  20. Gregoriak

    Gregoriak BigSoccer Supporter

    Feb 27, 2002
    Bolzplatz
    We continue our series of the world's best players by Prof. Dr. Otto Nerz with the parade of the full backs. This time the screening of the elite spans three decades and all countries. And the result:

    None bigger than Tarp

    Together with the Uruguayan full-back athlete Nasazzi the Dane would form the strongest full-back pairing in the world, with the robust Hungarian Fogl II the best of the continent. The Viennese and Italians have a famous full back tradition, the ideal German however would have to be named

    Paul Janes-Pepi Blum

    With outfield players it is even harder than with goalkeepers to arrive at solid results. Technique and tactic are liable to even more significant changes. During my observations I naturally use a strict benchmark so that only the very best players of international class may get mentioned, trying to identify the best German, the best continental and the best global player.

    Over the course of my observation it showed that there are positions in which we Germans have been relatively weak over the course of the years. Obviously this is the case for full backs in which Germany only recently spawned players of world class. In Austria the full backs all along have been on a higher level. Thus it is no wonder that in my observation Vienna played a big role and that with the exception of Janes only Viennese players have made the shortlist.

    No class man before 1914

    Back then the full backs were rather primitive. Long, massive punts and strong shoving of opponents were the norm. Often it was former strikers that performed the best in this role. Since the whirlwind combination play did not exist back then, it was most instrumental to attack dashingly. While the full backs did work together at times, it was still a one-sided system: one of the two full backs played attackingly while the other looked on as reserve to sweep if necessary. Attacking and "standing" full back. They operated chiefly in front of the goal. Build up was not intended, yet already back then there were players around that possessed classic passing skills. I fondly remember the Karlsruhe full back Hollstein, a small, almost delicate player who possessed fine low passing skill and well-placed long passing skill.

    Very great full backs were not existing in Germany back then. In almost every international game the full backs changed. Relatively good performers were next to Hollstein Röpnack, Möller and Hempel. But internationally they were only average.
     
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  21. Gregoriak

    Gregoriak BigSoccer Supporter

    Feb 27, 2002
    Bolzplatz
    Offside-tactic spoilt full back style

    Now the time of the build-up play began. The full backs learned how to take part in the build up of attacking moves. The style of MTK Budapest, who had fully adopted the Scottish short pass game, caught on. The ball was passed forward from defense through all ranks and long punts became the exception. Additionally, the "off-side" tactic of the full backs also caught on in a big style. Now it was not necessary anymore to take the ball off the opponent by means of combat, ruse, power and skill but by acting out the off-side rule on the pitch which put into off-side oftentimes the whole forward rank. This tactic demanded good vision and lots of experience. Over time, this tactic was used ever more excessively. The full backs did not play football anymore but hide-and-seek behind the forwards. A few steps forward – in the right moment – was all that was needed.

    Now the "full back" had to run

    The playing performance and the sportive value of defending was afflicted by this. With the new off-side rule, tactical conversions were forced upon the full backs, yet many of them were not able to adapt to the new situation. They were no match for the new tempo style.

    In the phase between the World War and the change of the off-side rule our full backs again showed no international class. Kugler, J.Müller, H.Müller, Risse, Beier and Weber have to be mentioned as the best we had during those years. They were however only good average class, nothing more. One was too slow, the other lacked passing skill. Added to this were the differences in playing style between North and South which made it hard to find players that fit together to play in the national team. The consequence was a chronic weakness of defense. …..

    Viennese Elite of the 1920s

    In the years following the World War Vienna produced a number of fine full backs that were all world class: Popovich, Blum, Dietrich and Schramseis. Popovich already played before the War for the amateurs and followed this by a great international career after the War. He was a squat yet fast player with strong long pass skill. 35 caps and many games for Vienna are part of his record. Blum came pretty close to the ideal of the full back of that era. He was a tactically well-versed player with a surefire instinct for the right moment to attack the opponent. While doing that, his playing style was technically assured and clean. His nickname was w o r l d c h a m p i o n. While he may not have been the world's best full back he still was outstanding without doubt, towering above all his full back comrades in Germany. Today he is a football teacher.

    Schramseis was of robust kind. He resembled the Swissman Ramseyer in that way, who with just cause was called "iron post". Schramseis and Blum reached into the era of the Wunderteam with their last games but were replaced by Rainer, Sesta and Schmaus after their retirements.

    The modern playing style demands the mobile full back

    With the rise of the modern style the requirements for full backs had changed. Highest pace and control of a wide area of space became necessary. Added to this of course also assured long passing skill with both feet, good short passing, excellent heading and general athletic abilities coupled with tactical understanding.

    The times were over where a single striker would be put off-side 20 times in a game and with him the whole attacking move of his side. One can still use the off-side trap today when the opponent fields mindless forwards but the risk is unequally higher.
     
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  22. Gregoriak

    Gregoriak BigSoccer Supporter

    Feb 27, 2002
    Bolzplatz
    Some captions:

    The impact and the long passing of the Hungarian (Karoly) Fogl II were no less celebrated than the forward art of Magyars Schaffer or Orth. The UTE-player embodied the physical full back type who at the same time was known for his speed. Bark and Sesta are exponents of this kind and hardly below the Hungarian in terms of class. But Fogl managed the greater career. When he defended with his brother Fogl III in the Hungarian team they never conceded many goals. Both are ideal athletic types, no less famous a pair than the Sarosi brothers.

    Scissors kick in front of the own goal is always a delicate thing and only good ball handlers and self-confident full backs like Paul Janes may solve a dangerous situation in this artistic way. The seemingly phlegmatic nature of the Düsseldorf player is an expression of his absolute command. The tactician seems to us even more admirable than the technician.

    Far longer than a decade the Dane Tarp was part of the national team of the Kingdom Denmark. His self-confident, pose-free way baffled the most agile forwards. Many a German defeat was caused by his artful playing style and tactical mastership. Taller than Rinellli, with his reliable vision he was no less of a effective destroyer. Here he took off the ball from the rousing Seppl Fath.

    Pozzo nominated Rava, the tall, stalwart full back, for the Olympic amateur team that won the tournament in the 1936 Berlin Olympics. Since then Rava also plays in the World Cup winning team of the professionals together with his Torino clubmate Foni. Both fought in the victorious team that won the III. World Cup and they overshadowed the Brazilian forward stars.

    …. Sesta, the powerful, lively, full of beans type of player who is inclined to an odd playing style is fully meeting the taste of the Viennese who were quite happy that their player became an international for Greater Germany.

    Reinhold Münzenberg served the German national team in four different positions. He started out well as an offensive centre half (see verdict of Tarp!), fulfilled the role of the right half back against France in Paris (first meeting) and as stopper in the second meeting, like he already did during the II. World Cup. 1935 he was withdrawn together with Janes to form a strong pair of full backs. Today "Iron Reinhold" plays in the city of "Iron Roland", not far away from his partner Janes who is stationed in Wilhelmshaven.

    "World champion" Pepi Blum of FC Vienna and the "Wunderteam". He founded the full back school of the Döbling club, of which also Rainer, Schmaus and Kaller are part of. He was the record international of the old Austria. A full back with superb positioning, never nervous and outstanding in tackling. Only full backs that are so self-confident and speedy both in moving and thinking like Blum and Janes may appear so unhurried and calm.

    The FC Vienna full back Schmaus belonged to the "Wunderteam" and formed a full back pair with Sesta in the Central European team that faced a Western European team in Amsterdam. Recently he celebrated together with his old partner the return to the German national team of which he was already part of during the III. World Cup.

    The Spaniard Quincoces of FC Madrid was rated as the best full back of the II. World Cup. His scissors kicks and leaping headers were of a fascinating elastic elegance, as it runs in the Romanic's blood. Today he is still regarded as one of the best full backs of his country. In the 1935 encounter with Germany in Köln he neutralized the fast German winger pair Lehner-Hohmann via his rapid and technically brilliant counter moves.

    Caligaris, who died all too early, was one of the most popular and deserving internationals of Italy. His hot-blooded temperamental style of playing was proverbial. He was already part of the Azzurri when Germany lost to Italy in Milano on New Years Day 1923 and he was still the same great full back in 1930 when Italy beat us 2-0 in Frankfurt. Neither Resi Franz nor Fritz Szepan, two of our most elegant technical players, were able to come out on top against Caligaris. The Azzurri were the first national team that practised the system of the well-rehearsed full back pairing: Caligaris was followed by Rava-Foni, all of them Juve players. The best and most chivalric full back of Italy receives the annual Caligaris badge.
     
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  23. Gregoriak

    Gregoriak BigSoccer Supporter

    Feb 27, 2002
    Bolzplatz
    Sesta in "Wunderteam" and European team

    In Vienna Rainer-Sesta were the outstanding full back pair of that time. Rainer was a fine tactician who fit very well into the classic playing style of Austria's best national team. He was a worthy successor of Blum with whom he played together for FC Vienna. Of wholly different kind is Sesta. He is a very massive player who is unselective in his means. While he has great talent he does lack a well-balanced tactical understanding and is too temperamental. One of the most disputed player personalities who is not willing to blend into the tactical texture, a head-strong man, impulsive and explosive.

    Schmaus and Sesta played together for Germany recently against Croatia. Schmaus is a great tactician and as such a great addition to Sesta. Two players like Sesta could not play together. Schmaus is giving Sesta a certain hold. But he is a little slow and phlegmatic. Technique and understanding of the game make Schmaus a man of extraclass. …


    Our full backs during the II. World Cup in Italy

    Münzenberg's fate was varying. He began in the national team in 1930 as offensive centre half and performed splendidly. But since in our region the time for that style of play was over, he had to evolve into a stopper. In his club however he continued to play offensively. That he can play both styles he proved in Naples against Austria when Szepan was released from defense to act offensively. He was at least equal to Smistik!

    Tarp named Münzenberg world's best

    With the emergence of Goldbrunner our worries in the centre half position diminished, Münzenberg formed a full back partnership with Janes and this was the first really great German full back pairing. He played on the left or right side, wherever he was needed. Tarp, the famous Dane, saw Münzenberg during his debut in Copenhagen and stated that he had never seen a better centre half, not even in England. This may have been a little too much praise but a really great career had started. May I say that there are few players to who I was personally interlinked as with "Iron Reinhold". His commitment was monstrous and never giving up. Although he sometimes behaved like a demon he was always a good comrade. In between Sigmund Haringer played relatively shortly as full back for Germany. He was a great talent but could apparently not come to terms with the big public attention. He began as a forward in the first game against France in Paris which was lost by an own goal of Münzenberg. Haringer was an excellent athlete and he certainly was the fastest player of the team. He really started to blossom after the switch to the modern playing style which was taylor-made for Haringer. But during the World Cup in Italy he lost his starting place in the team and thus his international career ended. In his place Janes stepped forward, not a bad change!

    Prime among German full backs: Janes

    Janes in my opinion is the overall best German full back. He started out as a right half and then replaced Haringer as right back when Germany faced Austria in 1934. Janes possesses a surprisingly fine technique but he does not lack physicality at the same time. His style is an aesthetic pleasure. He consequently sticks to the right side, although he by no means is a one-dimensional player. This may be caused by his partnership with Kupfer.

    Since Szepan retired Janes is the skipper of the Greater German national team. He has played 60 times for Germany altogether. In fights against all great football nations he passed with honor and distinction. One day it will be very hard replacing him. But right now he still enjoys his best years. His greatest competitor as a right back is arguably Rainer. As best left back in Germany I consider Blum, short-listed is Sesta. JANES-BLUM would theoretically be an ideal full back pairing. Would they have played well together in reality? We can only presume this.
     
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  24. PuckVanHeel

    PuckVanHeel Member+

    Oct 4, 2011
    Club:
    Feyenoord
    To move it over to here then and my observation/idea that British footballers and Jewish figures (Meisl, Fuchs) in particular were censored out. Also that there was a policy to promote Monti and (perhaps paradoxically) Sindelar - at least those two.

    My main idea and proposition is that one needs to be extra careful, more than usual.

    Full discussion here at post #126 and beyond.

    https://www.bigsoccer.com/threads/old-great-players-lists-esp-1950s-1970s.2038892/page-6



    Since this relates to the main point of being wary for (hidden) censorship and campaigning (especially at that time, as you point out - this period more 'boobytrapped' than others) I searched a bit deeper into this and this idea is probably true. At least it would lead to self-censorship by 1941, even if relative free press standards had been maintained, and with a lack of a hierarchical and rigid organization for steering the press.

    "In 1940 the Ministry of Information launched an "Anger Campaign" to instill "personal anger ... against the German people and Germany", because the British were "harbouring little sense of real personal animus against the average German". This was done to strengthen British resolve against the Germans. Sir Robert Vansittart, the Foreign Office's chief diplomatic advisor until 1941, gave a series of radio broadcasts in which he said that Germany was a nation raised on "envy, self-pity and cruelty" whose historical development had "prepared the ground for Nazism" and that it was Nazism that had "finally given expression to the blackness of the German soul".
    The British Institute of Public Opinion (BIPO) tracked the evolution of anti-German/anti-Nazi feeling in Britain, asking the public, via a series of opinion polls conducted from 1939 to 1943, whether "the chief enemy of Britain was the German people or the Nazi government". In 1939 only 6% of respondents held the German people responsible; however, following the Blitz and the "Anger Campaign" in 1940, this increased to 50%."


    Like the Anglo-Italian relations laid out in above piece (post #133), it is my understanding that the mutual relations of the respective elites (c.q. establishment) was more ambivalent, ambiguous and sensitive before 1940. For a long time during those "politicized" 1920s and 1930s France was seen as the foremost (military) rival and potential threat (for sure before the re-armament).

    Many have claimed Hitler and his circles was in fact an Anglophile (and if not, then strongly into that direction), with the media strategy reflecting that. Goebbels (chief of the media) made a U turn by 1939, after initially seeing the Brits as 'Aryan' (and thus intrinsically the 'good' guys) and having launched staunchly pro-British campaigns previously. This lays a necessary part of the background for the focus on British football reporting and the (explicitly voiced) admiration for their game during much of the 1930s.

    Similarly there were substantial elements within the British aristocracy (in particular) that felt natural ties and ancestry to Germany, and occasionally further than that (think of Edward VIII). As it is at times bluntly retold (without necessary qualifiers): “The British 'Establishment', including key figures in the aristocracy, the press were keen supporters of Hitler up until the invasion of Czechoslovakia. Few were supporters of Nazism [the ideology], but they admired Hitler and felt he offered the best means of preventing the spread of communism. They tended to turn a blind eye to anti-Semitism and the attacks Hitler made on communists, socialists, and other internal opponents.” Some historians, a minority, have challenged this though.

    The excellent Spartacus website (also for football) notes this with regards to press coverage:
    http://spartacus-educational.com/ExamRHU15.htm

    This ambiguous reality in part explains the sudden and fierce campaigning that started in 1940, in order to sway the 'common public' around. As the numbers above show, this was - in the face of evolving circumstances - successful.

    A high level of self-censorship in 1941 would have been very likely and probable (click this link) during this sudden and fierce push, in a football or sports publication.

    Alas, it is a minefield in this era. It needs extra care (and I was a bit "depressed" that nobody seemed to have noticed this - also in the light of modern day realities).

    Thanks, this clarifies it better and comes closer to what I've thought.

    Rory Smith's Mister book shows there was a general disrespect and distrust to coaches working abroad (not just working in Austro-Hungary or the German Empire). Frederick Wall's attitude matches this - his recommendation to Pentland to go work in France in 1920 was done haughty and grudgingly. Also Jimmy Hogan his death decades later was more widely reported in the countries he had worked (and even in the low countries) than in his homeland.

    John Madden his fear of losing his pension seems to be substantial, in particular materializing after he stayed (working) in the protectorate of Bohemia (that was formally recognized March 1939).

    Perhaps a similar research is justified for the British press (even if largely self-censored). That one publication is clearly censored (Meisl, British footballers and more that's perhaps beneath the surface or I am not aware of) doesn't mean others are completely neutral in whichever way.
     
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  25. Gregoriak

    Gregoriak BigSoccer Supporter

    Feb 27, 2002
    Bolzplatz
    Thanks for providing this valuable perspective.
     

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