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
    #26 Gregoriak, Feb 2, 2018
    Last edited: Feb 6, 2018
    The suns in the international sky

    There's of course a certain arbitrariness involved if one picks a player for a certain position when he has played in a number of different other positions as well. Sesta for example played on the right side almost as often as on the left. The example of Münzenberg has already been noted. The same is true for all great players that played in more than one role. With this in mind I am now going to try to determine the best right backs and left backs of the continent and then the world.

    Tarp dominated all forwards

    The best continental right back in my opinion is the Dane Tarp and he certainly also belongs to the world's best in his position. He was an intelligent and tactically high-end player who almost hypnotized his opponent. He approached his opponent with the same aplomb as the cat approaches the mouse. While doing that he did not lack athletic ability and hardness. But he used them almost subtly. He was mainly a great tatician! Punt, heading and positioning simply classic. I have no reservations calling him the world's best right back, too. An excellent right back was also Jörgen Juve of Norway. He played in so many positions that it's hard to pin him down in one.

    Foni, the right back of Italy in their second World Cup victory is an excellent full back. He also played for FIFA in London. He is tall and athletic. Together with his partner Rava he forms an excellent and well-rehearsed pairing. They started their international careers during the 1936 Berlin Olympics when Italy won the laurels. It is hard to state who is the better of the two.

    Outstanding rivals of Tarp were the two Swissmen Ramseyer and Minelli, both of them for almost a decade without competition in their national team. Ramseyer was an athletic, almost herculean full back and was instrumental in Switzerland's success during the Paris Olympics. He was however unable to avoid Switzerland's defeat against Germany. But he was always a hard to take obstacle. By the way he started out as a winger and played as such against Germany in Frankfurt in 1922. He was equally good on the left and on the right side. While Minelly is hardly tender, his strength is tactics. He doubtlessly is part of the best world class. A great impression made the Egyptian Salem during the Amsterdam Olympics. He was the outstanding figure in his team and a highlight of the whole tournament. We get to see Egypt players only rarely, but the little we have seen was enough to shortlist him for the group of the world's best.

    Romanic aces: Caligaris and Quincoces

    The left backs were almost even better than the right backs. I start with the Italian Caligaris. He played a number of times against Germany. 59 caps are recorded for Italy. He was always easy to spot because he always wore a white headband. He had his peak during the Amsterdam Olympics when Italy began to move into the foreground. His strength was his pace and his overwhelming fighting power.

    Quincoces is a Spanish international. His performance against Germany in Cologne will remain unforgettable. He alone managed to avoid a Spanish defeat. He played 24 times for Spain and is similar to Caligaris.

    Rava, Italy's left back, is a worthy successor to Caligaris. An excellent full back who is even more powerful than his full back partner. He took part in Italy winning the Olympics and the World Cup in France. Together with Foni he played for FIFA and made a very good impression so that he was rated higher than Foni, although there is no real difference between them. Rava belongs to extraclass even if I wouldn't place him among the very best.

    A very good, high above average playing left back was the Dutchman Denis. His peak was between 1924 and 1928. During the Amsterdam Olympics he showed his class especially in the battle against Uruguay. He also proved his prowess in a number of games against Germany.

    I would rate the Hungarian Fogl II as the continent's best left back. He was an immensely powerful player with a massive punt. For many years he was a pillar in the Hungarian national team and recorded 54 caps. Typical for his style was his hardness and resiliency. He was strong as a bull.

    Nasazzi, the full back of Uruguay, helped his team to win two Olympics: 1924 in Paris and 1928 in Amsterdam. He was a fine tactician, a very hard and dogged player. His punt was secure and elegant, his heading like that of all Romanics excellent. At the same time he possessed excellent athletic abilities that made him stand out even in an excellent team like Uruguay. I have never seen a better full back and I won't hesitate calling him the world's best left back.

    Best German full backs: JANES-BLUM

    Best continental full backs: TARP-FOGL II

    Best world full backs: TARP-NASAZZI
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  2. Gregoriak

    Gregoriak BigSoccer Supporter

    Feb 27, 2002
    #27 Gregoriak, Feb 2, 2018
    Last edited: Feb 6, 2018
    Monti towered above all

    Not physically but in athletic performance and indomitable fighting will and he made use of technical artistry. Middelboe outshined Breunig and Kalb's injuries dampened his form during his best years, thus Goldbrunner and Smistik are ranked above the giant from Nürnberg in this ranking.

    When around 1870 the composition of a football team emerged to be made of 11 players a development began that lasted roughly 20 years. At first there were 8 forwards, 1 half back, 1 full back and 1 goalkeeper. The number of the forwards was then continually decreased while that of half backs and full backs was increased. Before the - back then - final tactical lineup of a team was established, it was composed of 1 goalkeeper, 2 full backs, 2 half backs and 6 forwards. Back then they had 2 centre forwards! At the completion of that development one of the centre forwards was withdrawn to the centre of the team and he was now the focal point of the team, the centre half. During exactly that period the "Scottish" playing style emerged and it is no wonder that the final step of the development was fulfilled where the "Scottish" style was played. The short pass from man to man and from line to line demanded a balanced distribution of players on the whole pitch. Big gaps were disturbing. The centre half acted as a defender against the centre forward and together with the two full backs against the inside forwards. Of course there were different variations already back then. As a linkman, and linking up was one of the main tasks of the half back line, he mainly intended to build up the offensive play from the back and from his central position he conducted the play of his team. Thus this tactical position which was the final step in the development became the most important one. That was the situation when tfootball in Germany had overcome its founding phase and had started to become a mass movement.
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  3. Gregoriak

    Gregoriak BigSoccer Supporter

    Feb 27, 2002
    #28 Gregoriak, Feb 3, 2018
    Last edited: Feb 6, 2018
    Breunig and Ugi

    Back then the sportive situation was as jagged as the political situation. Our international performances were meagre. We lost most games and played no role in the Olympics. Only two centre halves of that time are noteworthy in this ranking of an international selection: Breunig and Ugi. Max Breunig was a pupil of Townley and thus familiar with all subtleties of football during a time when football in Germany was still rather primitive. He thus had a great lead on his competitors. Additionally he had towering physical attributes and was excellent in pentathlon and as such a Southern German champion. He was part of the championship-winning side of Karlsruhe FV, of which he was the pivot. He was good international class but had a very serious competitor in Camillo Ugi of VfB Leipzig who was an industrious and reliable player, who may not have drawn the spotlights on himself but who was rather effective. Ugi was capped 15 times, Breunig 9 times. Both were not to be counted among world class.

    The early Viennese class

    My verdict on the Viennese centre halves before the war is not really secure. For our selection Braunsteiner and Brandstädter may be considered. I know Braunsteiner from my own experience and have a very good memory of him. He played for SK Vienna and I for VfR Mannheim. During the 1912 Olympics Braunsteiner faced Breunig. Austria won 5-1 however the German goalkeeper got injured and up to that point German had been superior. Brandstädter played as right half in that tournament. When Braunsteiner died in the War he was replaced by Brandstädter as centre half and he recorded 33 caps for Austria.

    The decade of Hans Kalb

    In Germany the national team had to be built from scratch after the war. Quickly Hans Kalb from Nürnberg had come into the foreground and he maintained his position for roughly 10 years. Kalb was a very great talent. Only those that saw him play in his early years can really form a true verdict. During his best years injuries forced inactivity for long spells and disturbed his full blossoming. Due to his many pauses he started to lack fitness over the years and he never regained it fully in the later part of his career. Still he towered above his German competitors.

    Kalb was an artist on the ball who commanded the ball with head and foot equally well. Additionally he was a great tactician. His rolemodel was Schaffer and he played very much in Schaffer's style. Kalb only had more temperament, sometimes too much temperament. He was far more important for his club than for the national team. Certainly he was a fine centre half also in international terms but due to his lack of mobility he was not the great commanding presence for Germany that he was for his club. So while he was without competition while playing for Germany I did notice that he was surpassed by his opponents in international meetings more than once. He recorded 15 caps.

    His successor Leinberger began to play for Germany during the preparations for the Amsterdam Olympics. There he played as left half. He was a wholly different type than Kalb. Equipped with excellent athletic abilities linked with good technique and great combative prowess. While he did not quite reach the same tactical level as Kalb Leinberger's general impact was no less than that of Kalb. He was the centre half during the transition phase to the modern style and was capped 24 times.

    Paralysed forward - style confusion

    While it was tried even before the transition to make the national team a unit and true team it always failed due to the circumstances of the time. The inner fight for and against professionalism and the sectionalism of the regional associations thwarted any serious efforts. The central association had not enough authority to enforce radical measures.

    The change of the off-side rule in 1925 hardly had any tactical consequence in Germany up to 1933. Here and there maybe the W system was visible at most. That a wholly new period of development had came about was not yet visible. The new off-side rule allowed the advancing of the forwards up to the last defender of the opposing team if they were scaled. This was of course not a "must do" formation but a possibility. If now the centre forward places himself between the two backs who are not positioned on one line then he is not off-side, at the other hand the last back has few chances against the centre forward when a fast and hard-shooting centre forward is supplied with good through balls. It was then tactically necessary to withdraw the centre half, giving him the task to stop the advanced centre forward. Thus the term "stopper" was introduced for the withdrawn centre half. Wherever it was tried to meet the new centre forward type with old methods defeats and failure were recorded. May I remember everyone of the outing of Spain and Hungary in London! Of course one can face the centre forward with a different tactical approach as well. The Italians and the Swiss never played with a stopper. In doing so, Italy recorded her greatest international triumphs. But the Italians are a wholly different type of race with wholly different physical and mental attributes than us Germans. They are more elastic and cat-like in their movement. Tactically they are more likely to improvise.
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  4. peterhrt

    peterhrt Member

    Oct 21, 2015
    Leeds United AFC
    It seems that WM did not feature significantly in Germany until 1933. I had thought it was earlier.

    The Danish full-back Tarp does not appear to have been considered for any of the BigSoccer lists. Does anyone know anything more about him?
  5. msioux75

    msioux75 Member+

    Jan 8, 2006
    Lima, Peru
    I didn't know much about Tarp, just he hold the danish record for intl. caps.

    Interesting to see many nordic players, not necessarily swedish, who played more with continental sides and also taking part in Olympics and World Cups.

    Interestingly, in 16 editions of the nordic games (until 1939), Sweden only won 4, same as Norway. Denmark dominated that era with 8 titles, but they were in isolation since OG 1920 until OG 1948.
  6. Gregoriak

    Gregoriak BigSoccer Supporter

    Feb 27, 2002
    #31 Gregoriak, Feb 3, 2018
    Last edited: Feb 6, 2018
    Succeeding Leinberger were Szepan and Münzenberg. However they only filled in a gap. Without doubt, Szepan would have been the same outstanding figure as a defensive centre half that he proved to be as a linkman before and after. In the few games in which he played as centre half for the national team he proved to be a man of such high class that I have no qualms calling him the best German centre half. He topped all others! He was just as good as a stopper as he was good as a conducting centre half. He proved that also in Naples! He also showed that terms like "stopper" are insignificant but that it depends on the man on the pitch. Szepan stayed true to himself even as stopper and sustained his effectiveness.

    Since Münzenberg was almost as good a stopper we could afford moving Szepan back to a linkman position to strengthen our team. But now Goldbrunner appeared. This enabled another reconstruction of our defense: Janes and Münzenberg formed the full back pairing and Goldbrunner played as central defender (stopper).

    With Goldbrunner: greatest successes in the hardest games

    In this time we faced the stiffest tests but also managed our greatest successes in the national team. Our record became positive and we managed a string of victories which was quite rare for us before. Goldbrunner played for Germany against England, Scotland, Ireland, Sweden, Denmark, Norway, Finland, Czechoslovakia, Hungary, Italy, Spain, Portugal and France and a number of other games! No other German centre half managed a similar great and successful career international football. He also played in the FIFA game in Amsterdam for Western Europe.

    Goldbrunner had all the assets of a class centre half. He originated from the fine school of Bayern München where he played with Pöttinger and Hofmann. He had an almost herculean build so that he hardly ever faced an opponent equal to him physically.

    His successor in the national team seems to be Rohde who already recorded 14 caps. Yet he does not show the same level as Goldbrunner in his best days. For a start he lacks the power. He started his international career in 1936. We have to wait and see how the final verdict will be.

    The centre halves of the "Wunderteam"

    In the post-War period Vienna produced a number of very excellent centre halves. In the first years after the war Brandstädter was still the man. Later Hoffmann (FC Vienna) and Smistik (Rapid) appeared as players of great international class. Both played in the "Wunderteam" with Smistik being the first choice. Yet it is a sign of the great class of Viennese football that they had two such excellent centre halves at the same time. The more elegant and refined player of the two was Hoffmann, just as FC Vienna played the more refined brand of football compared to the forceful brand of Rapid. Thus Smistik was a typical representative of his club, not of his country. He was forceful, hard and effective yet technically and technical on a respectable level. Smistik played for Austria in London and in the World Cup in Italy. He is the stiffest competitor of Goldbrunner for the title of best German centre half. Smistik was capped 39 times. …. Mock also played for the Wunderteam, together with his Austria Wien clubmates Nausch, Sinderlar and Gall.

    Now European panorama

    It gets a little difficult because we have a candidate that used to play a great role in South America before he came to Europe. It is Monti.

    Middelboe outdid Breunig

    Our two best centre halves from before the War Breunig and Ugi were arguably clearly outdone by the Dane Niels Middelboe. In those days Denmark were the champions of the continent and twice runners-up in the Olympics behind England. Those were the days when we could not do much against the Danes and a defeat was always the norm. By far the most instrumental player for the Danes was N.Middelboe (his brother Karl Middelboe also played as centre half for the national team and is now a leader of Danish football). At times N.Middelboe also played as half back, full back or inside forward - depending on the way a game was going - and always was a great success. For many years he played in one of the best English professional teams as a foreign player! Later he became director of that club.

    Kada was Kalb's opponent

    In the years after the War we witnessed the heyday of Czechoslovakian football. It is basically linked with Sparta Praha. The centre half of Sparta and the Czechoslovakians was Kada. He was at least equal to Kalb and the two faced each other in great fights on club level in those years. Within the Czech team Kada was without competiton for about 10 years. While he was not outstanding physically, his technique and tactical understanding were of high class and he was a great leader of his team.

    Linked with the heyday of Hungarian football after the War and the sensational performances of MTK Budapest was the centre half Orth more than any other player. He was one of the key players of MTK and was capped 30 times for Hungary. He was an artist!

    Monti the best of all

    A centre half of great reputation was also the Italian Bernardini. He resembled our Kalb in many ways. He was a strong guy with a clean technique. Unfortunately his temperament often got the better of him. After a short intermediate period the former Argentine Monti became his successor in the Italian national team. He was an enhancement even if compared to the likes of Kada, Orth and Bernardini. Monti began his great international career as left half. When Calandra, the Argentine centre half in the Amsterdam Olympics was sidelined due to an injury, Monti took over the role of the centre half. Argentina became runners-up behind Uruguay and Monti was rated as one of the very best of the whole tournament. He confirmed his class in the 1. World Up in Montevideo where he again represented Argentina. Then he emigrated to Italy where he was called up by the national team in the next few years. During the 1934 World Cup his was the linchpin and centrepiece of the Azzurri. When he played for Italy against England in London he was already near the end of his career. He was a man of the very highest class. What he lacked to be an ideal player was his tendency to commit fouls.

    His successor in the national team is Andreolo. He played for his country in the World Cup in France and represented FIFA in Amsterdam, where he played for Western Europe and in London, where he played for the continent. Surely great honors that speak for themselves. Still - although he naturally is an excellent centre half - I do not think of him as a man of world class. In my opinion Bernardini and Monti were greater personalities. In the frame of the national team and in the context of familiar surroundings he was doubtlessly a very useful player and that may have been the reasons for his selections by FIFA. He is a very industrious player, very resilient who coupled fighting prowess with acrobatic elasticity.

    Not to forget Schmiedlin

    Singled out from the mass of good centre halves has to be the Swissman Schmiedlin. He played in the 1924 Olympics in Paris and was very instrumental in the Swiss success there. He was of the same class as Kalb. Vernati, too, was a centre half of outstanding class, but his international exposure was too short.

    The Uruguayan centre half in Amsterdam was Fernandez. I saw him multiple times in the Uruguayan team. In the game against Germany he had far more impact than Kalb albeit we have to note that Kalb did not play the whole game and Fernandez played in a non-depleted team while Germany finished the game with 9 men. But Fernandez proved his class in all other games as well. I have shortlisted him for the world's best.

    Out of luck was Calandra. He suffered an accident so that he had to withdraw. But what he showed up to then the whole tournament over was great class and perhaps the tournament would have ended differently for Argentina if Calandra and Monti both had played in the finals (two games) against Uruguay. Back then I thought Calandra was the world's best centre half. But I will refrain from shortlisting him because his action time was too limited.

    Best German: Goldbrunner

    Best of the continent: Monti

    World's best: Monti
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  7. Gregoriak

    Gregoriak BigSoccer Supporter

    Feb 27, 2002
    #32 Gregoriak, Feb 4, 2018
    Last edited: Feb 6, 2018
    Some captions:

    Two outstanding centre halves of their time: Hans Kalb and the Swissman Schmiedlin. This FC Bern player was a great fighter for Switzerland in the 1924 Olympics …. He was skipper of that brave team and as centre half the ideal rolemodel of Vernati and Andreoli: persistent and considerate, a player of heart and mind and a marvellous skipper. ….

    The strong man of the 1934 World Cup winners was the Argentine Monti who is considered as the world's best centre half by Prof. Nerz. His athletic abilities and industriousness were tremendous. Physically almost a small man, but herculeanly stocky, he combined the artistry of the game with a highly combative performance.

    The most renowned German centre half of the pre War years was Max Breunig, skipper of KFV and later Pforzheim. He also captained the national team a number of times. His long-range shots were as famous as his tactical bravura. Heading, tricks, vision and his height reminded one of Nürnberg's Kalb. Pointless the question who of the two was the better player.

    Ludwig Leinberger, the long-standing centre half of Fürth, started out as a half back in the national team but soon he took over the role of centre half. In six years (1927-1933) he was capped 24 times. The defeat in Bologna in 1933 was his last game. …. The fighter and methodologist was a capable centre half.

    ….Hofmann was a type like Kada: very precise, elegant and outstanding at heading but always seeking the low pass. The great Rapid centre half Smistik showed his best performances during the II. World Cup in Italy. The most consistent centre half is FK Austria's Mock. Mock's style was refined, he is - like Dr. Sarosi - an example of the economic playing style that allows a more consistent level due to its considerate nature.

    The young Sarosi was centre half of Ferencvaros Budapest, a second Orth in every aspect. Like Orth quickly famous already as a very young player, akin to him in the considerate style and full of unexpected ideas and finally he also excelled as a forward later in his career. For a whole decade Dr. Sarosi is now part of the Hungarian national team. Prof. Nerz has not listed him in this ranking of centre halves because he intends to appreciate him in the part on the centre forwards. As centre forward he was selected in the continental teams that played in Amsterdam and London. The younger Sarosi is of taller height (like the Fogl brothers), he will be listed among the half backs.

    Succeeding Monti was Andreolo, the centre half of Bologna, becoming the centre piece of the 1938 World Cup winners. Like Monti he hails from South America, like Monti he is rife with power and strength, leading his club to the Italian championship and who is indespensable in the national team at the moment.

    One of the best centre halves of his time was Kada from Prague, known from the years of the great club fights between Sparta and Nürnberg. A player of mid-size height appeared as unique master of the industrious and precise style of classic centre halves, pivotal for his team and almost always his team's best player. His style was refined but still inspirited with combativeness. Kada looked for the high pace of his team although he almost exclusively preferred the low pass, if not necessarily an excessive short passing game.

    György Orth, a celebrity of MTK. 20 years ago when Schaffer left Hungary it was soon stated that the loss was already more than compensated with an even bigger talent, the 18 year old slender Orth. His centre half style was the embodiment of elegance and his precision in treating the ball appeared unsurpassable. Later he became a centre forward. His bravura recommended him even to the South Americans where he became a manager. Today he wants to make Milan champions. He also managed Nürnberg during the 1936 German championship.

    Hans Kalb in his element. People often talk of the short international career of Kalb but still it lasted from 1920 to 1928, thus a full eight years. Only few of the current crop of our internationals can boast such a claim. Only Münzenberg and Goldbrunner, actually.

    Ludwig "Lutte" Goldbrunner
    maintained his place in the national team a full seven years and fought in 37, mostly successful, international games for the colours of the Reich. The tenacious and hard-working player became the ideal of the stopper, the shadow of the dangerous centre forward…the attentive, persistent and combative marking of the adverse centre forward was the foundation of many a success.
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  8. Gregoriak

    Gregoriak BigSoccer Supporter

    Feb 27, 2002
    #33 Gregoriak, Feb 4, 2018
    Last edited: Feb 6, 2018
    Which players will be featured by Kicker in its series by Prof. Otto Nerz regarding the half backs? How will Kupfer fare? Who is the world's best? Our series on the most important players of all time gives our readers topics for conversations in these weeks. Today Nerz parades the half backs. The brightest stars shone in Montevideo, Buenos Aires, Schweinfurt and Vienna.

    In the development of football certain positions established themselves as key positions within a team. Especially valued are central roles like Goalkeeper, centre half and mostly centre forward! When a football team is composed naturally it is ensured that the key positions are manned well, also the ambition of the players is focused on these positions. A team that lacks talented players can be spotted by looking at how the "fringe" positions are manned. Of course there are exceptions as sometimes a really great talent develops in such a fringe position independent of the generall situation in the team.

    The task of the half back is especially hard yet unflashy. It is an ungrateful task and also hard to assess. Thus it is understandable that there are many goalkeepers and centre forwards among the favorites of the crowds but only few half backs. It is also understandable that in the beginning years of football hardly any excellent half backs are known although they were there completing the ranks of the teams. The popular players from these good old times are almost exclusively central players….

    Great team - great half backs

    A team that has many talented players also has good half backs and thus we find good half backs in the very great teams. One could say that it is an indicator of a great side that it features high class players even in the "fringe" positions. One may look at the half backs of the "Wunderteam", where we see Nausch, Gall, Braun and Wagner I, all players of high class in the half back positions. In the "Breslau XI" the two Schweinfurt players Kupfer and Kitzinger played as half backs, at times also Gellesch. The 1928 German Olympic team also had high class half backs in Knöpfle and Leinberger, who flanked Kalb in the centre. We could expand these examples using high class foreign teams like Italy, Argentina and Uruguay.

    Good half backs are proof of a cultured level of play. That holds true for a single team, for countries and for time periods. In the ideal team every position is manned outstandingly.

    How tactics changed

    The tactical role of the half back has changed in the same way as the roles of other positions have changed over the years. In the beginning the right half back played together with the right full back against the opposing wing combination and vice versa on the left side. The full back was the "standing back" who left the running part to the half back! In this lateral sharing of work the following variations were possible:

    1. The half back played wide, the full back inside

    2. The half back played inside, the full back wide

    3. The half back played inside or wide, depending on the tactical situation, the full back adapted to the half back's positioning

    By itself each of these tactical arrays has its benefits and disadvantages. It depends on the available players and that they heed the tactical scheme. A systematic offensive combination play can only be met with a systematically organized defensive play.

    In the modern playing style the half back plays inside and the full back plays wide. This is due to the new task allocation of the whole team. The inside positioning gives the half backs a more central position and it is no coincidence that in the modern game the half back has stepped to the foreground. He inherited the offensive part of the old centre half, so that a good pair of half backs together has to command the midfield the same way as the centre half in the past. Let me point to the impact of Kupfer-Kitzinger!

    I start my sighting of the international half backs of extra class in the time before the War and I distinguish between right halves and left halves. This distinction may not be fully implemented in every case when a half back was frequently used in both positions. Still I try to adhere to this distinction.
  9. Gregoriak

    Gregoriak BigSoccer Supporter

    Feb 27, 2002
    #34 Gregoriak, Feb 4, 2018
    Last edited: Feb 6, 2018
    An excellent and versatile player of that era was Karl Burger. When Townley left Karlsruhe in 1912 and settled down in Fürth soon it evolved to be a centre of great attraction. A number of excellent players wanted to join Fürth in the wake of Townley's signing. Among them the Viennese Riebe and Burger from Stuttgart. In the national team, in which Burger debuted already in 1909, we saw him play as right and left half. Same in his club. He played where it was tactically sound to play. If the attack stalled he went forward, either as inside right or centre forward, if his team needed to hold on to a score then he defended staunchly. Burger was immensely physical and doubtlessly one of the best pre-War players. He enjoyed a very long career and still played a few years after the war. He recorded 11 caps which was quite an achievement during that era.

    That was it already regarding high class half backs in Germany before the War. A sparse harvest! It was not much different in Vienna. The best half back of that period was Karl Tekusch of WAC. He was capped 16 times and was arguably of the same class as Burger. His brother Felix was also an international, but as a full back. In general we thus observe only very few good half backs in the Greater German area and arguably none to be counted as world class. Football was not yet fully organized and the position of half back suffered especially from this lack of organisation. The half back was the "hunting dog" of the full back or the "helper" of the centre half. By the way, Eugen Kipp twice played as half back for Germany.

    Before and after the War: Schmidt Bumbas

    Schmidt (Bumbas)'s first cap was recorded before the outbreak of the war in 1913. After the war he joined Nürnberg. Schmidt, like Burger, was a member of the pre-war Fürth championship-winning side under Townley, he was an excellent lateral half back and for many years a pillar of the Nürnberg champions. 16 caps was a rarity for that time. Schmidt was one of the few players that did not suffer a drop in form due to the long break of the war. In the national team Schmidt succeeded Burger and he also played on both sides.

    Hans Hagen also grew out of the Fürth school of football. As he was a lightweight player he was more adjusted to technique and tactics. But he was, if not as physical as Burger and Schmidt, no less dogged. Obvious was his lively temperament. Hagen recorded 12 caps and he also played on both sides.

    Between 1919 and 1928 Karl Kurz of Vienna played 32 times for Austria. At times he was also used as centre half or left half. But his main role was that of right half. A technically very clean and reliable player. He faced Germany 3 times.

    Fighter Knöpfle

    Georg Knöpfle was active during the transition phase to the modern style. In the national team he was mostly paired with Leinberger, his clubmate. He was a tenacious fighter of incredible duration. Technique and tactic were not exactly his forte but his heading was excellent. …. Before the 1928 Olympics he faced the best Swiss player Abbeglen. He proved himself well and thus was selected for the Olympics. He managed to stay in the foreground for a number of years and reached 23 caps.

    Rudi Gramlich started out internationally against Denmark in Hannover together with Kobierski. He was a classic half back that resembled Carl Riegel. Gramlich played during the 1934 World Cup and managed a very successful career. Of tall and slender build he combined a clean technique with remarkable tactical understanding. He recorded 22 caps and is shortlisted for the best German players in the position of right half.

    A short but outstanding career had the Viennese Braun als lateral right half. He played in the Wunderteam but only recorded 10 caps. Mock was actually never a regular starter in the national team but his career was long and time and again he managed some international action. His international debut came in 1929. For Austria he recorded 13 caps and 3 for Germany, most recently against Croatia. His career is still going on as we can see. A half back by trade, we now see him deployed as centre half, due to the current lack of classic centre halves. As such he played for Germany, too. I prefer him as a half back.

    Unsurpassed Ander Kupfer

    At the top of the right halves in German by a distance is Andreas Kupfer of Schweinfurt. He was unlucky in picking up an injury in his first international call-up in 1935 which postponed his international debut. ….. Kupfer was part of the "Breslau XI", played for FIFA against England and also at the World Cup in France ….altogether Kupfer has recorded 40 caps and is now in his best years and has all prospects of recording many more caps in the future. Together with Kitzinger he formed a pair that dominates midfield in a commanding way. He is the best German half back of all and also the best one on the continent. Even as world's best he is shortlisted.

    Wagner I who is still playing for Rapid is a great talent. A severe knee injury afflicted him in recent years. Still he is one of the main players for Rapid and his long passing still shows his great skill. Physically he is a bit slender and fragile which means that his style lacks a certain power and physique. His stength is build-up. When things go well for Rapid, then Wagner is doing well, too. He is one of the best half backs of the Viennese school.
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  10. Gregoriak

    Gregoriak BigSoccer Supporter

    Feb 27, 2002
    #35 Gregoriak, Feb 5, 2018
    Last edited: Feb 5, 2018
    Now the "lefties"

    Right after the War Carl Riegel of Nürnberg rose to prominence in this category. He was one of the great personalities in German football. Unfortunately his international career was comparably short as his profession did not leave him enough time to engage fully as footballer. He was a fine, tall guy who played in a classic way. His natural disposition meant that he was destined to reach the highest level. At the same time in Vienna Geyer and Nietsch played as left halves. Geyer, capped 17 times for Austria, was a man of above-average performance. He was unlucky that his competitor Nietsch was even better. Nietsch of Rapid was always first choice for Austria. He was a physical player not unlike Schmidt Bumbes. He recorded 34 caps: a man of class and great reliability. He is shortlisted for best left half together with Nausch and Kitzinger. …

    As left half Luef of Rapid managed 13 caps. He was overshadowed by Nausch who played an important part in the Wunderteam. Nausch was a player that gelled well with Sindelar and Gschweidl. He was an athlete, technician and tactician at the same time. He recorded 39 times caps.

    The reason why he was not playing during the 1934 World Cup is unknown to me. Against England in London he stood out by far as the best Viennese player and maybe also the best man on the whole pitch. Despite stiff competition by Kitzinger I rate Nausch as Germany's and the continent's left half.

    A great but comparably short career had Gall of Vienna. He played in the Wunderteam and also for Austria in London as right half. But mostly he played on the left. Injuries cut short a promising career. Thus is being mentioned here but cannot make the shortlist. He did have what it takes for great class.

    Kitzinger world class just as much as Nausch

    During the preparations for the World Cup in Italy a reconstruction of the German national team was necessary. Bender and Zielinsky played in Italy and proved themselves but in the long run they could not maintain their position in the national team. Bender plays centre half for his club Düsseldorf but left half in the national team. He lacked the necessary running ability for great class in the position and also the tactical nous. Zielinski only had a short career but still managed 15 caps in 2 years. He was a good fighter but only average on the international level.

    Kitzinger soon came to the fore. During the 1936 Olympics an injury prevented his appearance. But right afterwards he proved his great class in many battles. 41 caps he has now collected and his career in the national team is all but finished. There is not even a serious competitor in sight! He belonged to the "Breslaux XI", played in the World Cup in France and represented FIFA in Amsterdam and London. An injury in 1937 sidelined him for a while but the necessary surgery went well and he remains an indestructible fighter. Kitzinger hails from Schweinfurt. There were times where it would have been impossible for a player from a provincial club to manage such an international career. He would have had to sign for a bigger club. Kupfer and Kitzinger are from the same club, Schweinfurt has managed something incredible!

    He combines acrobat-like agility with pace, resilience and fine technique. Due to his general performances I could rate him as Germany's best ever left half without hesitation. No other German player has managed as many successes. But my rating of Nausch ahead of Kitzinger as Germany's greatest left half is mainly due to the more elegant style and tactical maturity of the Viennese player. But I am not really certain about this. In any case Kitzinger belongs to world class like Nausch does.
  11. Gregoriak

    Gregoriak BigSoccer Supporter

    Feb 27, 2002
    #36 Gregoriak, Feb 5, 2018
    Last edited: Feb 5, 2018
    Beyond the borders of the Reich

    In foreign countries and overseas great half backs are also relatively sparse. While checking this selection it was notable that there are two types of half backs: tall slender ones (Riegel, Gramlich, Nausch, Andrade) and small stout ones (Kupfer, Kitzinger, Lazar, Evaristo).

    Shortly after the war Sparta Praha stepped to the fore and quickly earned itself international reputation that was no less than that of MTK Budapest. The soul of the team was the half back line of Kolenaty-Lada-Cerveny. Kolenaty is one of the best lateral half backs and was during this heyday of football in Prague one of the pillars of Sparta and Czechoslovakia. His playing style was not only effective but captivatingly beautiful yet sober. He proved his class in all possible countries as Sparta was traveling a lot in those days.

    Good right halves were also the Italians Janno and Pitto, both internationals shortly before the great successes of Italy started. ….

    Furthermore notable is Sarosi III of Ferencvaros. He initially acted as centre half and was an imposing figure in that role, physically and tactically. When Hungary adapted the modern style he was reskilled as half back due to his offensive skill where he plays with great effect, too. He is a man of great skill and artistic tendency. Sarosi III is still young and arguably has a great career ahead.

    A football wonder from Uruguay

    The last but not the least right half I selected is the Uruguayan Andrade. He outclasses everyone I have ever seen. A tall and slender type he combines all features of a class player: pace, strength, artistic technical skill and great tactical maturity. Arguably there are not many players where the world's verdict was so unanimous as regarding Andrade:

    He was a football wonder.

    By race a negro he played in Uruguay's Olympic team in Paris and Amsterdam as well as in the World Cup in Montevideo. He managed a magnificent, long and successful career. I nominate him as the world's greatest right half.

    I will start my selection of left halves with the Dane V.Laursen. He played roughly between 1920 and 1930 in Denmark's national team and may rate as the best lateral half back in Scandinavia's history. Of great heigth and slender build he possessed a fine, artistic technique, great tactical understanding and a surprisingly far reach. He reminds me a lot of Riegel.

    Estimable is also the long-standing Dutch skipper van Heel. He belonged to the small agile type and combined great tenacity with fine tactical understanding. He resembled Kitzinger a lot.

    Of great class is also Locatelli, the Italian. He began his international career in Italy's Olympic team in Berlin. He later became a professional, joined the national team and helped Italy winning the World Cup in France in 1938. Of the Hungarian half backs Lazar is outstanding. He plays for Ferencvaros and was capped 43 times. He played for FIFA in Amsterdam. He is shortlisted among my selection of the world's best.

    The greatest ball artist

    From South America the stars Gestido and Evaristo shine over to us. Gestido played in Amsterdam for Uruguay and was a man of great prowess. But he was surpassed by the Argentine Evaristo. I have never seen a more delicate ball artist. He played in Amsterdam as well as Montevideo. In competing with Nausch, Kitzinger and Lazar I put him in the first place of the world's greatest left half.

    Final result:

    Right halves:

    Germany's best: Kupfer

    Continent's best: Kupfer

    World's best: Andrade

    Left halves:

    Germany's best: Nausch

    Continent's best: Nausch

    World's best: Evaristo
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  12. Gregoriak

    Gregoriak BigSoccer Supporter

    Feb 27, 2002
    Half way through, I found that the captions offer more insight into the particular traits of a player than Nerz's write-up. The captions were not authored by Nerz but, as I assume from the style, by Friedebert Becker. Becker as a trained journalist of course can be expected to be more capable of expressing his insight verbally than football coach Nerz. Still, I find it noteworthy that Becker seems to have a deeper insight into player characteristics. Also interestingly, Nerz is always avoiding to use the term "WM" (apparently a Becker-coined term) but instead exclusively uses the words "modern style" and funny how Nerz always says "Viennese" system for the WW system when it was a system that was spread all over the continent not only in Vienna (albeit the Viennese stubbornly stuck to it throughout the 1930s apparently, that's probably why he dubs it Viennese system). "WW" of course was not widely used anyway so that's no surprise he's not using that term.
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  13. Gregoriak

    Gregoriak BigSoccer Supporter

    Feb 27, 2002
    Some captions

    Secure passing and sharp eye – these gifts of the great Viennese football talent Nausch are revealed in this picture by Kicker. Als left half the FK Austria player reached the peak of his unique career, a glance that radiated especially from his performances in the Wunderteam. Tactician, technician, fighter all in one, a rare blend.

    One who almost rivalled Zamora in terms of popularity among the Spanish fans: Samitier, as celebrated as forward and as half back. Full of temperament and scintillating wit and equipped with a brisk-elegant ball treatment.

    The time of the tremendous rise of German football in the first years after the accession to power is linked with the name Gramlich. The master of low-passing from Frankfurt often was among the strongest players in the national team. He was one of the first players of the continent that adopted the modern half back style and elevated it to an art (Gramlich on the right, left next to him Goldbrunner and goalkeeper Jakob).

    Knöpfle the way we remember him from many hard fights: slightly bent upper body, on the watch like a boar, always ready to attack and to fight, a hard, ruthless destroyer with safe ball control. A copy of reliability.

    He was nicknamed "Spider", the haggard, long-legged Carl Riegel of the champion side of Nürnberg. Today he has gained quite some weight, more looking like a heavyweight than a spider. In his heyday each Sunday Riegel with his virtuoso, well-timed lateral dribble runs provided an unforgettable feast for the eye for the crowds thirsty for beautiful football. He treated the ball like a raw egg.

    The crucial assistant of the paramount centre half Kada in Prague was the smooth, wiry Kolenaty who was sliding with the ball as fast as the wind. A master of build-up and vision.

    Kupfer seems to have a unique, still unexplored talent of bluffing his opponent in close combat, a talent that allows him to steal the ball in a very unique way which enables him to squirm himself out of even the most difficult situations. Kupfer's sober, original way of playing made the Schweinfurt man the supreme player in many a German international game.

    To Kitzinger his small height was never an obstacle in delivering great performances and especially against the tallest players he succeeded in a sensational way. Thus we chose a picture that shows him fighting the Hungarian giant Toldi.
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  14. Gregoriak

    Gregoriak BigSoccer Supporter

    Feb 27, 2002
    #39 Gregoriak, Feb 7, 2018
    Last edited: Feb 7, 2018
    The world's best

    The choice was easy: Orsi

    In Germany Lehner and Vogl are unsurpassed as outside forwards. World's best outside right: Sas

    The wing is the place for the quick players. Here we found relatively big wide spaces available that allow an abundancy of speed runs. For the selection and assessment of the wing forwards their pace is a major criteria. It is pace that allows the good outside forward to appear in front of the goal unexpectedly.

    During the time of the closed five-forwards line, tactics demanded that the wing forward stuck to the sideline where he would wait for his opportunity to take part in the game. The more he moved wide the more he forced the defenders to spread their ranks out wide. But since the linkman usually was playing more centrally to form a powerful inside trio with the centre forward and the second linkman, the wing forward found himself left on his own. This meant that he was left to his own devices most of the time which again meant that the wing forward needed a high grade of self-autonomy. In the individual game dribbling and breaking through are the most effective weapons.

    Naturally he needed to be capable of linking up well with his neighboring teammates, forming a solid unit with them. In the old combination play the wing was joined by the lateral half back and thus a "wing triangle" was formed.

    Quick acceleration and running, good shooting, assured crossing and clean corner kicking are the main requirements of a good wing forward. Tactical insight are self-evident for a man of class, especially he must be aware not to get off-side and thus not to spoil the attacking move of his teammates. Especially fast players are often sinning in this regard.

    In the overview of extraclass wing forwards first I separate between right and left, first old Germany, then Vienna, then the rest of Europe and finally also a short view on the world.

    The timeline may be separated in three chapters:

    Pre-War era

    the time between 1920 and ca. 1933

    the last few years until the present
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  15. Gregoriak

    Gregoriak BigSoccer Supporter

    Feb 27, 2002
    With Wegele the "classic" outside right tradition began

    A classic wing forward was Wegele of Karlsruhe. He played for Phönix, the great rival of FV Karlsruhe and German champion of 1909. Prof. Wegele today is still linked to football as president of Phönix. His active time was spent during the heyday of football in Karlsruhe when that city had a similar position in German football as Fürth-Nürnberg after the war. It was roughly the period between 1905 and 1910.

    Back then Karlsruhe almost made up the whole rank of the national team. Some names may prove this: Breunig, Hollstein, Förderer, Fuchs, Hirsch, Gross and Bosch of FV and Neumeier, …. and Wegele of Phönix formed the elite. Next to them there were a number of talents. Wegele and Oberle were the pacemakers in an excellent attack and were instrumental in winning the championship. Wegele was an excellent wingman who bears comparison with even the best modern wing forwards. He was a similar type as Kobierski, his style was fast, fluid and exact. He deliberately abandoned trickery for trickery's sake, sticking to a simple and plain style. 15 caps in that era are a tremendous sign of his outstanding talent. I did see him play.
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  16. Gregoriak

    Gregoriak BigSoccer Supporter

    Feb 27, 2002
    Wondrak great precursor

    About the same time as Wegele in Vienna the outside right Hussak. He began already in 1905 to play for the Austrian national team, which was founded earlier than the German national team. Hussak faced Germany in 1908, the 1912 Olympics was the peak and end of his international career. Hussak was a very fast wingman which I observed personally when I played against him on Pentecost 19 ….

    By naming the Viennese Wondrak all excellent outside rights before 1914 are mentioned. Wondrak was part of the Austrian national team for 10 years and collected 14 caps. He played for Rapid and was a man of great class. ….. basically the number of great players on the right wing in Germany and Austria was rather limited.

    When Albrecht appeared…

    Up to the time when Albrecht emerged we only see average players on the right wing in the national team. Stroh …, Wunderlich and Häger were sufficient on a national level but not internationally. In the year 1925 we find the winger Martwig from Berlin as outside right of the national team. Albrecht began his international career during the preparations for the 1928 Olympics. He proved himself superbly in the two first hard games against Switzerland, where he faced the Swiss full back of class Ramseyer.

    He surely would have achieved more if he had had a partner of same class on the wing! He still managed 17 caps. He is still active and still plays for Fortuna Düsseldorf for whom he is a pillar for many years.

    Albrecht was fast and forceful, his playing style was simple and effective. He was a fighter with athletic ability. He didn't play for the crowds but for the team. About the same time Siegl played for Admira in Vienna. He was a raw-boned with a straightforward and effective approach. He proved his class in 25 caps for Austria. I don't know another player that achieved so much with so little. He is living proof that a game that abandons embellisment can still be of high class and successful. He is one of the best wing forwards that I know.

    New tasks for the wing

    The modern style loosens the rank of the forwards. The five forwards only rarely operate on one line anymore. Part of the three advanced forwards of the W-formation were also the wingers. But if the linkman remains withdrawn then the distance to the neighboring teammate is increased and it is important for the wingers to keep contact with the inside players. Thus in the modern style we don't find the wing forward keeping to the sideline rigidly. He moves a little inside and only if the linkman advances forward does the winger move out wide. Sometimes the wing forward even changes his place with the centre forward. The breakthrough of the wingforward is getting more frequent. The wing forward also gets assigned defensive tasks which was rarely the case in the past. While he was more on the watch waiting for his chance he is now more linked to teamplay. Still the most crucial ability of the wing forward is his pace!
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  17. Gregoriak

    Gregoriak BigSoccer Supporter

    Feb 27, 2002
    Since the period of the modern style started football in German is on a giant upswing. This was preceded by Austria. Almost overnight we see a high-class team emerge. And now we have really great wing forwards. When the wunderteam ebbed away the unprecedented rise of Germany began. Here we now also find wingmen of world class.

    Right-hand drive of the wunderteam

    Karl Zischek was the outside right of the wunderteam. He recorded 37 caps. His career started with the birth of the wunderteam, the game against Scotland in Vienna. Zischek played so well as if he had been a seasoned veteran. But it was only his first cap. He had succeeded Siegl. Zischek was a man of great caliber who dominated the game in every phase and in every direction. In doing so, his playing style was like Albrecht's relatively simple but focused. He mastered all tricks but used them rarely. He played for his team. The two wingers of the Austrian national team Zischek and Vogl were of crucial importance to the wunderteam. One time it was the inside forwards, the other time the wingers that assured victory. That's how it should be! When Sindelar or Gschweidl were neutralized then Zischek and Vogl exploited the situation to the fullest. They were of the same class as the two great inside forwards.

    While Zischek is not playing internationally anymore he is still a valuable player for his club. Zischek is a serious contender for being Germany's best ever outside right.

    At the top Lehner

    Ernst Lehner is currently with 61 caps the record holder among footballers in Germany. He hails from Augsburg. His international career began together with Goldbrunner in 1933 against Switzerland in Zürich, where he succeeded Albrecht. He was then instrumental in Germany's rise and won a lot of honors, playing during the 1934 Word Cup, the 1936 Olympics and the 1938 World Cup and for FIFA in Amsterdam. He was the right winger of the "Breslaux XI" which was his peak year.

    Lehner is tall, slender and …. He is a dogged and energetic fighter with athletic touch. Outstanding his heading and shooting. Lehner is the national team's top goalscorer. His technique borders the artistic although it looks as if he pulls off a trick not always out of tactical necessity but because he rechoices in his technical skill.

    The modern style, which grants the wing forward a wider space for operating, is tailor-made for Lehner. He may appear in an inside left position scoring a goal from there. Lehner has virtually played in every great international game during the last eight years and often was instrumental in the outcome.

    I select Lehner as the best German outside right. He is also shortlisted for the world's best. His career is not over yet.
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  18. Gregoriak

    Gregoriak BigSoccer Supporter

    Feb 27, 2002
    #43 Gregoriak, Feb 7, 2018
    Last edited: Feb 7, 2018
    From Rivolta to Riha

    On the continent we find a good number of outstanding right wingers but none of them is so much ahead of the pack that I could single him out as the clear number one. During the Amsterdam Olympics we saw the Italian Rivolta. He belonged to the best players of the whole tournament. In the timespan preceding this we find Conti in the Italian national team. He was capped 31 times and faced Germany two times. Very effective was also Pasinati who played for Italy between the World Cup (1935-38). He was succeeded by the current outside right Biavati from Bologna. Biavati is a man of great class, relentless, fast, tricky and very dangerous. He has already been capped 15 times by Italy and took part in the World Cup in France.

    Switzerland currently has an excellent outside right. Bickel of Grashoppers was already part of the Swiss team in France during the World Cup. For a wing forward Bickel is a tall player. Great at running and first class technique, at times he also successfully is deployed as centre forward. He is a successful goalgetter of great vigour.

    My world's best: Sas

    Hungary has a great variety of outstanding wing forwards. Especially excellent as outside right was Sas. He played in Amsterdam for FIFA in the Central European team and played very well. For Hungary he played in the World Cup in France. Today he is a sensation in South America. He is of special class and to me he is the world's best even if certain doubts remain. A fine wing forward is also his countryman Kinczes, the current right wing of Hungary. But I would not count him among the very best for now.

    The Frenchman Aston was the outside right in the continent's game against England. In the French national team he also acts as outside left. He played excellently against Germany. His call-up to represent the continent in London notwithstanding, I do think he is a good player but I cannot count him among the group of world class.

    Riha of Sparta Praha is one of the most impactful outside rights that I know of. He was part of the younger generation and played for the Czechoslovakian national team until the dissolution of Czechoslovakia. The peak of his career so far was the game in London against England where he left an excellent impression. He also played as outside right for Czechoslovakia in the World Cup in France. … Riha is tall and slender and a fast runner, additionally he possesses an elaborate technique, good tactical understanding and what is especially valuable: intelligence. All conditions for a great career are there but his career was halted by the outbreak of the war. Riha is still young and it is quite possible that he will live up to his earlier career at a given point. He is shortlisted for the continental special class.

    South Americans born wingers

    Since speed is a major characteristic of a wing forward it is no wonder that the South American teams are downright well equipped in this regard. Noticeable have been Urdinaran, the right winger of Uruguay and the Argentine Carricaberri during the Olympics in Amsterdam. But they were not as outstanding after all as Orsi, Andrade, Petrone. And yet the South Americans by nature have all the necessary talent needed for this position.
  19. Gregoriak

    Gregoriak BigSoccer Supporter

    Feb 27, 2002
    Outstanding "lefties" of the past: Oberle and Möller

    Before the War things looked pretty grim. In the annals of the national team we only find two outside left players that at least managed a considerable number of caps: Oberle of Phönix Karlsruhe and Möller of Holstein Kiel. Oberle was a fine player and only occupational commitments prevented a great international career. He was almost of the same class as clubmate Wegele on the right wing. Möller of Holstein Kiel was capped nine times but spent only his first five games as outside left, the other four games as a full back. If we can believe the reports of the time he was deployed as left back and right back. In the game against England in Berlin in 1912 he scored twice as outside left in that draw. It was one of the greatest deeds of the splendid Möller. Möller died on the field of honor.

    In Vienna, too, we find no real standard outside left in the Austrian national team of that time. A player of special kind was Neubauer. He originated from SC Vienna and recorded 18 caps. Over time he played in all five forward positions in the national team but not as a standby player. Over time he changed his position but remained a fixture in the national team. He began as inside forward and played as necessary either as inside right, inside left or centre forward. During the 1912 Olympics in Stockholm and during 1915 we see him deployed as outside left four times. Near the end of his career he was playing on the right wing. He was certainly a versatile player but also a proof of the lack of high class outside lefts.

    Overall we may assert that the position of outside left was weakly manned.

    Sutor starts the rank

    In Nürnberg the left wing man Sutor appeared. He was a technically dazzling and effective player. He was of high international class. After he retired, quickly Munich's Ludwig Hofmann succeeded him. He originated from the school of Bayern and joined the national team together with his clubmate Josef Pöttinger, together they formed a fine, solid wing partnership. Yet he rose to the rank of great class only after Richard Hofmann joined him on the left side. Ludwig "Wiggerl" Hofmann was an altruistic and modest player who did not lose his head even in fame. His playing style was simple and rational while being of excellen technique. He did not lack hardness, too. Ludwig Hofmann fell pray to a malicious desease. He recorded 18 caps.

    In Vienna, too, we now for the first time saw first class outside lefts around this time. For the amateurs Cutti and Wessely (Rapid). Cutti recorded 18 caps for Austria. He was a member of the famous FK Austria team that also featured Schaffer, Swatosch and Wieser for a while. Wessely surely can claim to have managed a really great international career. Almost for 10 years he was without serious competition and managed 40 caps. Initially the famous Fischera and later on Swatosch and Wieser were his partners in the national team of Austria. His soft, fine yet unerring style of play was a pleasure to watch.

    Class of his own: Vogl I

    Wessely's successor in the Austrian national team was Admira Vienna's Vogl I. He was the outside left of the "Wunderteam", and the begin of his international career is linked to the rise of that team. Vogl was a w o n d e r f u l outside left and I have only seen one greater player on the left wing: ORSI.

    Due to a knee injury Vogl only reached 20 caps. He outdid his teammates on the right wing in terms of pure class. Vogl played in London against England and also twice against Germany. With his retirement the gradual downfall of the Wunderteam began because he could never be replaced adequately.

    Vogl was tall and slender of similar stature as Lehner. But he was more elegant and more natural in his approach. It is a common misconception to think that it was mainly Sindelar and Gschweidl that had the highest value for the Wunderteam. Vogl surely was more important than any other. To me, Vogl is clearly the no. 1 German outside left.
  20. Gregoriak

    Gregoriak BigSoccer Supporter

    Feb 27, 2002
    Kobierski supreme in old Reich

    In the old Reich roughly at the same time Kobierski played in the national team. He came from Fortuna Düsseldorf, a club that for a while had both national team wingers in their ranks. Kobierski started his international career together with Gramlich against Denmark in Hannover. He immediately inherited Ludwig Hofmann. Between 1936 and 1940 Kobierski's international career was put on hold. He returned during the war and has had a second coming since then, proving himself quite well. Kobierski is the best outside left that emerged from the old Reich. He has everything that one can demand from a good wing forward: clean passing, highly developed technique, good heading, pace, hardness and enough self-confidence to act on his own initiative when the situation demands it. He is a seasoned, hard-boiled player. Altogether "Tau" - this the seagulls called him when we were traveling overseas - recorded 25 caps. Without the four-year break he could have become the record international. But he has to be counted among the most successful wing forwards and being of extraclass in every way.

    Fath and Zamora

    The phase when Kobierski was on sabatical from the national team was filled out by Fath and Urban. Fath hails from Worms at the Rhine and is a player that achieves a lot with simple means. He was lightning fast and possessed an incredible jumping power. He won out against the tallest opponents in aerial duels. Characteristic for his style was his immense pace and straightforwardness. At times one may have wished for more self-dependance. He faced England in London and Spain in Barcelona where he scored twice against Zamora. The Danish and the Spanish received convincing samples of his shooting prowess. In Szepan he had the partner that could set him up accordingly.

    Urban emerged from the school of Schalke. He was capped 19 times, is still young and it is quite possible that he will have a comeback after the war. He played a few times as inside forward albeit without convincing.

    In Vienna after Vogl came Viertl and Pesser. Viertl was the direct successor of Vogl. He played during the World Cup in Italy and faced Germany in Naples. He was a good useful player, recorded 16 caps, but was not of the same class as his predecessor by far. Pesser (Rapid) was capped 9 times by Austria and 11 times by Greater Germany. His playing style resembles that of L.Hofmann in many ways.

    Greats of the continent

    From the great time of the international outside lefts Puc from Prague has to be emphasized. He played for Czechoslovakia in the World Cup in Italy and France and was instrumental in reaching the final in Rome. Puc was a man of great achievement and a successful goalscorer.

    Mentionable is also the Italian Levratto who played outside left for Italy in 1928 in Amsterdam. He was capped 28 times. Also excellent was the Spaniard Gorostiza who played for Spain in the World Cup in Italy and faced Germany in Köln. In the FIFA game in Amsterdam the Belgian van der Eynde represented West Europe with good success. He also showed remarkable games against Germany.

    The Hungarian Titkos was capped 47 times. He was a physically massive and very valuable player of pure class. For the continent in the FIFA game in London the Norwegian Brustadt played as outside left, fully meeting all expectations one had of him, being one of the best players in that meeting. He also showed a lot against Germany, giving us a hard fight oftentimes. He played for Norway during the 1936 Olympics.

    Choice without hesitating: Orsi

    A career of world-level had the left wing man Orsi. He outshined all outside lefts that I know, blindly I class him as the no. 1. He played for Argentina in Amsterdam in 1928 and Montevideo in 1930. Then he became the star of the World Cup in Italy where he was playing for the Azzurri.

    Aside from his great Argentine career, which already made him a sure player of world class, Orsi committed himself in a further 35 caps for Italy. As a footballer he was an artist. In being that, he was fast and had an unerring instinct and was of great tactical maturity. Orsi is the best outside left of the continent and the world's best as well. There was no other position where my choice was that easy as it was in this position of outside left.

    Concluding: really great personalities are rare among wing forwards. At outside right the choice for best of the continent and world's best was not eay and I myself am not convinced to have picked the right one with certainty. For Germany the choice was not hard. At outside left the choice was significantly better.


    Outside right

    Germany: Lehner

    Continent: Sas (Hungary)

    World: Sas

    Outside left

    Germany: Vogl I

    Continent: Orsi

    World : Orsi
  21. Gregoriak

    Gregoriak BigSoccer Supporter

    Feb 27, 2002
    #46 Gregoriak, Feb 10, 2018
    Last edited: Feb 10, 2018
    Some captions

    Franz Sas
    of the former Hungaria Budapest club is hallmarked as the world's best outside right by Prof. Nerz. The lightfooted, adroit Hungarian was the irresistible character in the central European selection that beat the western european team in Amsterdam. In the rich coronal of Hungarian talents Sas was one of the neatest blossoms.

    Ernst Lehner is the record international of the Reich. And more: he is also the record goalscorer. His sparkling ambition, the space gaining speed and a variety of deft tricks, his irrepressible goalhunger and his unorthodox positioning made him a hard-to-stop forward and the most successful German outside right.

    It is highly regrettable that one of the finest players among the Viennese forwards had to retire premature due to injuries. But the mere three years in which he was active full-fledge were sufficient to hallmark Vogl I of Admira Vienna as the best outside left that ever played in a German team. Fast like none other, no angle too difficult to release one of his straight-as-an-arrow low shots. He eluded his opponents in an almost bodiless fashion.

    "Tau" Kobierski is a rarity among German national team players. His involvement in the national team is divided into two periods with a pause of 5 years between them. During his best years he was a serious competitor of Vogl, whose elegant, fast style is shared by Kobierski.

    Ernst Albrecht was part of the most reliable internationals and is serving Fortuna Düsseldorf now already for 15 years in the first team. Just this Sunday - back in his regular position as outside right - he was once again one of the best players against Schalke. Often the wing pairs of the clubs are repeated in the international games: Wegele-Oberle, Strobel-Sutor, Bergmaier-Hofmann, Albrecht-Kobierski ….

    Karl Zischek is the last forward from the "Wunderteam". The player from Meidling was the surest cast on the outside right position and played more often in that famous team than any other player. Still "Karli" is crucial in many a Wacker win with his dashing winger style and his ball handling skill.

    Rarely was a player more popular than Ludwig "Wiggerl" Hofmann of Bayern München: the equal partner Richard "The Great" Hofmann with whom he formed the famous "Hofmen wing" in many international encounters. Too early did this sympathetic man and sports comrade leave us. Some of the finest victories remind us of the merits of this intelligent and diligent outside left: 7-1 vs. Switzerland, 5-3 vs. Hungary, 3-3 vs. English professionals etc.

    Hans Hagen, the strong man of the old Fürth champions. Unrelenting as defensive player but even more remarkable in his younger days as a lateral half back. Hard, clever, technically versatile, of great vision and with a sturdy will to win.
  22. schwuppe

    schwuppe Member+

    Sep 17, 2009
    FC Kryvbas Kryvyi Rih
    Really interesting read thanks.

    Good call, Puck. Explains the omission of British players.

    Other than that most expected names are featured.
    Missing any mention of Sarosi. Political reason? Was he jewish?

    Never heard about that Tarp guy.
  23. Gregoriak

    Gregoriak BigSoccer Supporter

    Feb 27, 2002
    Sarosi will be featured among the centre forwards.
    I didn't know Fritz Tarp either and also Franz Sas was unknown to me.
  24. Gregoriak

    Gregoriak BigSoccer Supporter

    Feb 27, 2002
    The crown of the linkmen 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"

    The artists of the game

    Now I address those positions that are crowded with talented players. The artists of the game are the inside forwards. Many linkmen also acted as centre forwards and vice versa. Still I believe I have drawn the line correctly between the centre forwards and linkmen. Although for example Harder, Jäger, Kuthan, Sarosi, Conen etc. at times changed their position I still count them among the centre forwards.

    The linkmen's tactical task is to link the centre with the wide positions and the forwards with the backs. In the old days the linkmen very often were the main goalgetters of the team. In the modern style they act mainly as strategists in the background and only occasionally do they act as goalgetters

    Fritz Förderer, the fine technician

    The best inside right of the pre-War era was arguably uncontested Fritz Förderer. He played for Karlsruhe FV during their heyday. Förderer was a squat, sturdy player with a virtuoso technique and great physical finesse. He was a man of great class and supreme during his time. In 11 caps he scored 10 goals which was an excellent record at the time. Förderer took part in the 1912 Olympics.

    Helmuth Röpnack of Viktoria Berlin began his international career as linkman. I regret that I never saw him play. But he must've been an outstanding goalscorer as I recall quite well that he was nicknamed "Germany's shooting gallery". He never scored for Germany, though. He played in the 1912 Olympics as a back.

    A similar supreme role as Förderer in Germany was played by Robert Merz (Vienna SC and DFC Prague) in the Danube monarchy. He was an excellent footballer and although he played for Prague later on he gained 13 caps for Austria. The heyday of DFC Prague coincided with Merz playing there. He took part in the 1912 Olympics in Stockholm. He scored twice against Germany back then and is highly praised in the official report of the time. The report states the following: "the crowd saw a hard, fast game. Not a lot was to be seen of the more subtle aspects of the game but it was an entertaining game." In the meantime the game has further progressed by which we can easily judge the qualitative difference between then and now. That does however not mean to say that there were no good players around back then. They were around and Merz was one of them. Merz played excellently in the Olympic final against Hungary.

    Eduard Bauer (Rapid Vienna) was also an excellent inside right forward. He has played 17 times for Austria against Hungary! This should be an unique achievement. Altogether he managed 23 caps. He played between 1912 and 1921 and the majority of his caps came during the world war.

    After the world war the time of "Resi" Franz

    After the world war Andreas Franz joined the ranks of the German national team (his brother Karl of the 1914 champions Fürth was said to be a even greater talent but he died in the war). Andreas "Resi" Franz played when Fürth-Nürnberg dominated German football. Franz was a downright combination player and good scorer. But he was not highest class. For that he lacked a good left foot and perhaps some self-confidence. But he was a very sympathetic player.

    Berlin does not take up large space in my elaborations. Even at closest inspection we do not find too many players of class in Berlin. The best Berlin player is Hans Sobek. He was capped 10 times. He doubtlessly means much more to his club and football in Berlin than to the national team. From 1923 to 1931 only 10 caps! This shows that he apparently always was in focus of the selectors but could not meet the expectations when he played. Sobek was a personality on the pitch. No doubt about that. Perhaps he was a little too slow or one could not find a fitting partner for him. Great performances in sports sometimes depend on little things. Just reflect that the Viennese Wunderteam owes its origin to a compromise. It worked and against the odds a great team was born!

    Sobek scored twice for the national team. He was a fine tactician and build up player. He played more than 100 times for Berlin.
  25. Gregoriak

    Gregoriak BigSoccer Supporter

    Feb 27, 2002
    From the II. World Cup to the Breslaux XI

    During this timespan the career of Otto Siffling took place. He came from the Waldhof school whose best representative he was. Capped 31 times by Germany. During the preparation of the 1934 World Cup in Italy he joined the national team as an inside left. Later he took up the role of inside right which remained his standard role in the national team for a number of years until he replaced Ed Conen as centre forward in the "Breslau XI". Siffling was crucial in the successes of that period. While he preferred a background role as linkman scoring few goals he proved that he was a goalgetter if need be when he played as centre forward. As such he scored 14 goals in 8 games for Germany. No small feat. In total he scored 17 times and thus belongs to the top goalscorers of the national team.

    …he was a cunning player with a subtle instinct for the situation. He drew the ball towards himself! And he knew what to do with it.

    The great Viennese time

    In relation to his great popularity Josef Uridil only managed a minor international career. Only 6 caps are recorded for Austria. His popularity was exploited by businessmen, songs were composed, movies were made and at the end he appeared in a revue. All this may have played a part in his career not meeting the possible heights. Great successes Uridil achieved with his club Rapid. Football had become very popular in Vienna at that time and parallel to the popularity the performance level rose.

    Belonging to the greats of Viennese football is Fritz Gschweidl, the FC Vienna player. Tall and a little inconvenient in his movements, he was a man of world class. His style had a very strong personal touch. He was typically Viennese in attitude and style. For many years he acted either as inside right or centre forward in the national team. In the "Wunderteam" we saw Gschweidl as inside right and in this position he reached his peak. Not as a competitor to Sindelar in the role of centre forward but as an equal partner! Gschweidl had a very long international career, being part of the Austrian national team from 1924 to 1935. He was an artist and one of the players that did credit to Viennese football by his ways of elegance and beauty. His career went parallel to the heyday of Austrian football and he recorded 44 caps. Gschweidl was arguably the best German inside right if Szepan is considered for the inside left position which was his position in international games.

    Horvath even managed 46 caps for Austria as linkman. But he was not quite as classy as Gschweidl. Without actually being part of the "Wunderteam" he outlived it. He played for Austria before and after the Wunderteam. Horvath was a dogged and resilient player. His last game was against Germany in Naples. He was of short height.

    Gschweidl ahead of Hahnemann

    Viennese football currently is not enjoying a great time. While there is a variety of talents around the unique class is lacking. It's low tide. Of the current generation Willy Hahnemann stands out. He plays for Admira and was capped already by Austria before the "Anschluss" to Germany. For Greater Germany he has recorded 20 caps already making him the highest-capped Viennese player in the Greater German national team. Hahnemann is fast, technically and tactically first class. He is now on top of his career and it is far from over. His shot is excellent and he has recorded 15 goals for Germany. Hahnemann has been deployed in almost every forward position and proved himself in every role. While he is not quite of the same great class as Gschweidl he is still shortlisted. The comparison between right and left inside forward positions shows that we in Germany are more well-off in the left-sided position. But also in the inside right position we do have great class available. Best German: Fritz Gschweidl.

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