Germany had a deep run in the 2002 World Cup jointly hosted by Japan and South Korea 20 years ago, and they were unlucky not to win it all as they finished runners-up. They lost to Brazil 2-0 at International Stadium Yokohama in Kanagawa, Japan, with a brace from Ronaldo Nazario. The next World Cup in which they were runners-up was at Brazil 2014, and they won. A lot of time has passed since then, and if you’re curious enough to know where the Germany 2002 squad is, then you’ve come to the right place. Let’s start!
Note: Teams in parentheses indicate which club the player was playing for at the time of the 2002 World Cup.
Coach: Rudi Voller
Frank Rijkaard’s best friend and one who likes to do business with Bayern Munich (no), Rudi Völler was the national team’s head coach from 2000 to 2004. He then became sporting director of his former club Bayer Leverkusen from 2005 to 2018, and as Managing Director of Sport from 2018 to 2022. Völler will now be part of Leverkusen’s shareholder committee and act as an ambassador.
Starting XI (Formation: 3-4-1-2)
Olivier Kahn (Bayern Munich)
The man between the posts (phrasing). Oliver “Der Titan” Kahn is one of the most legendary goalkeepers the world has seen and one of the most successful and intimidating players of his era. Kahn had his fair share of final heartbreaks, like the one against Manchester United in the Champions League final three years before, and this one hurt just as much. Kahn let the ball out of his gloves and Ronaldo was there to drive it home. Germany never recovered, culminating in Ronaldo’s second of the night. Kahn retired from international football in 2006 and from Bayern in 2008. He is now CEO of Bayern.
Thomas Linke (Bayern Munich)
Thomas Linke was a member of Bayern’s Champions League-winning side in 2001 and had the daunting task of defending against Ronaldo. Linke’s last activity with any club was at FC Ingolstadt as manager in 2019 and has been inactive since.
Carsten Ramelow (Bayer Leverkusen)
Carsten Ramelow played as a central defender or defensive midfielder and was a player for Bayer Leverkusen for almost 13 years. He is now vice-president of the VDV players’ union.
Metzelder was an imposing centre-back who played for Borussia Dortmund at the time of the 2002 World Cup after a successful 2001/02 season. After being a television pundit for a period, he was placed on probation for 10 months in May 2021 due to legal issues.
Torsten Frings (Werder Bremen and Borussia Dortmund*)
Frings is best known for his time at Werder Bremen, coming on either side of his spells at Dortmund and Bayern. In the game against the United States in 2002, Frings kept the ball from crossing the line with his hands and disallowed a surefire goal for the Americans. Despite his mistake which caused controversy, he got away with it and took part in Euro 2004 and the 2005 Confederations Cup where he won a bronze medal. He last managed SV Meppen until April 2021 and is currently inactive.
(*Frings was a Bremen player at the start of the World Cup, but signed a contract with Dortmund after playing two games at the World Cup)
Currently known to be an expert, ‘Didi’ Hamann was a creative midfielder whose pinnacle at club level was winning the 2005 UEFA Champions League against AC Milan in one of the greatest comebacks ever. Champions League history.
Jens Jeremies (Bayern Munich)
Jeremies played as a defensive midfielder and was part of Bayern’s 2001 Champions League winning side. He now works for consultancy T21+, an agency which has Holstein Kiel striker Jann-Fiete Arp and Fortuna Dusseldorf frontman Rouwen Hennings.
Marco Bode (Werder Bremen)
Bode spent his entire career in northern Germany, playing for Werder Bremen from 1988 to 2002, with the World Cup being his last major tournament before retiring from football. His last club involvement was for Bremen as chairman of the supervisory board until the end of 2021.
Bernd Schneider (Bayer Leverkusen)
Schneider was present at every game as he played in every World Cup game. Nicknamed “Schnix” by fans and teammates, Schneider was a technically gifted playmaker known for his passing, dribbling, shooting from distance and accurate set pieces, earning another nickname: “The White Brazilian”. . He now works as a player consultant for the agency “Soccer Marketing Group GmbH”.
Miroslav Klose (FC Kaiserslautern)
The forward-thinking goal-scoring machine and proponent of fair play on the pitch, legendary striker Miroslav Klose was a regular for the national team and in his first international tournament in 2002 he won a silver medal, even if he would do better in 2014. He also set a record for most headers in the World Cup (5 in 2002). Klose, who is the top scorer in the history of German international football, is currently plying his trade as coach of SCR Altach in Austria.
Olivier Neuville (Bayer Leverkusen)
Neuville teamed up with Klose in the final against Brazil. The Swiss-born striker, whose unique surname comes from his Belgian grandfather, has scored numerous goals for Bayer Leverkusen and Borussia Mönchengladbach, where he is assistant coach.