Kaiser, Napoleon and Mozart
The most famous of all Bundesliga nicknames belongs to 'Kaiser' Franz Beckenbauer (m.). There are several stories as to how he came to be known as the
Meanwhile, in reference to his FC Bayern’s teammate Gerd Müller, known as the 'Bomber der Nation', ‘Bild’ magazine captioned a photo of Beckenbauer (l.) after winning his first Bundesliga title in 1969 as the 'Kaiser der Nation' because he had secured the best average rating of any player for the third season running.
The last of three legends state that Beckenbauer was named 'Kaiser' on June 14, 1969, when he was caught juggling the ball for 40 seconds in front of the jeering Schalke supporters, after fouling the 'König von Westfalen' (King of Westfalen) Reinhard Libuda during Bayern’s cup final against the Royal Blues.
Libuda wasn’t the only King to grace German football though, considering that 'King Artur' Wichniarek had
After the 'Kaiser' there was also another royal member of the Bundesliga football family. The trained petroleum salesman,
A 1. FC Köln icon, jester of the court and one who now incidentally lives in the same city as the Queen: Lukas Podolski, better known as 'Prinz Poldi',
Due to the “von” in Ralf von Diericke’s name, the striker was fondly known as the 'Baron'. The forward is often remembered for
Emperor? Prince? Baron? In Germany only the 'Kanzler' has all the power! That is exactly why Freiburg’s Ralf Kohl (r., against Stephane Chapuisat)
Chancellors also had their part to play in Claudemir Jeronimo Barreto being coined 'Helmut'. Cacau, as he’s affectionately known, picked up that name after studying
What do Bruce Springsteen and Helmut Rahn (l.) have in common? That’s right they’re both nicknamed 'Boss'. Rahn picked up the name for
In this context 'Le Chef' has nothing to do with cooking in the kitchen, instead it refers to Johan Micoud who joined Werder Bremen
Captain is such a boring nickname. Michael Ballack enjoyed an illustrious career in Germany’s top flight and regularly demonstrated his leadership qualities both domestically and internationally. As a result during the 2006 World Cup, hosted in Germany, head coach Jürgen Klinsmann ended up nicknaming him 'Capitano'.
Military ranks also had their part to play in Bundesliga nicknames. Stefan Maierhofer, who has previously played
With a Major present there was also a 'Commander', a name given to Marius Ebbers of
“Football isn’t mathematics,” Karl-Heinz Rummenigge once said of Ottmar Hitzfeld. That may be, but it can be compared to chess and there’s few
Legendary FC Bayern head coach Dettmar Cramer in his most famous pose, as 'Napoleon'! (© Imago)
Napoleon once moved East to conquer Russia, where 'Peter the Great' once resided. However, in Germany this was the name given
'Ivan the Terrible' was another nickname originating from Russia, but one given to Hamburg’s
Artistic names also had their place in the football world. Thomas Brioch, for instance, was affectionately
Known for his eloquent turn of phrase and polished wording, former Schalke striker Olaf Thon was given the nickname of 'Professor'.
However, he wasn’t the only 'Professor' from the University of Football, as former 1899 Hoffenheim head coach Ralf Rangnick was given the nickname
However, the military and academic worlds were not the only source of good nicknames. Several players took on names of
The nickname originated from the 1990 World Cup, when the defender demonstrated unprecedented technique to produce a step over before crossing
'Zico' also played in the Bundesliga. Uwe Bindewald assumed the name, like Buchwald, for ironic reasons.
With Diego and Zico also comes 'Pele', in this case, also known as Claus-Dieter Wollitz. On his first day
In contrast there’s no irony in Ansgar Brinkmann’s nickname. Known as the 'White Brazilian', played for 13 clubs,
Less impressive is the nickname 'Stan', given to Libuda, unless you understand the reason behind it,
Footballing heroes are the only ones who get credit in the form of nicknames. Iconic Nintendo character 'Super Mario' has been
…and 'Super Mario' Basler. Here the former Bremen superstar can be seen scoring directly from a corner.
Because Erwin Hoffer (2nd l.) had such an ice cold touch in front of goal, his teammates at Austrian club Admira Mödling nicknamed