Erik Durm brings FIFA World Cup-winning experience to promoted Kaiserslautern. - © Clive Rose/Getty Images
Erik Durm brings FIFA World Cup-winning experience to promoted Kaiserslautern. - © Clive Rose/Getty Images
2. Bundesliga

Erik Durm: Who is Kaiserslautern's 2014 FIFA World Cup winner?


Erik Durm was converted to a full-back by Jürgen Klopp before lifting the 2014 FIFA World Cup with Germany. Eight years on, he finds himself at promoted Bundesliga 2 outfit Kaiserslautern - his local club as a kid - via a UEFA Europa League-winning stint with Eintracht Frankfurt.

Erik Durm

Age: 30
Club: Kaiserslautern
Position: Full-back
Country: Germany (seven caps)

Durm enjoyed a meteoric rise from unheralded third-division striker to World Cup-winning full-back in the early part of his career. It was Klopp who instigated the conversion on the road to World Cup gold, despite the youngster's 16 goals in 25 appearances for the Mainz U19s and 13 in 33 for the reserves. After a modest 12-month spell with Dortmund's second string, Durm made his Bundesliga debut on the opening weekend of the 2013/14 campaign. It was one of 19 top-flight appearances for BVB that season - 18 at left-back and one on the opposite flank.

Watch: Erik Durm's Borussia Dortmund launchpad

Durm's reward was a first Germany cap on the eve of the 2014 World Cup in Brazil, which he enjoyed as a surprise, albeit unused, member of Joachim Löw's 23-man squad. Had he not spent the next four seasons beset by injury, the 6'0" speedster would surely have made more than a further six international appearances.

Durm showed glimpses of his former self during a one-season stint in the English Premier League with Huddersfield Town, where he produced one assist in 28 games. It was enough to coax him back to Germany, with Frankfurt making their move in summer 2019. Competition for places and physical problems restricted him to 46 appearances prior to his Kaiserslautern switch, though he did play a part in Eintracht's 2021/22 Europa League success. The player sees his move to Kaiserslautern as something of a homecoming - he grew up half an hour away in Pirmasens and as a child attended their matches with his parents.

Plays a bit like: Ashley Young

There aren't many right-footed players who can deliver at left-back. Germany's 2014 World Cup-winning captain Philipp Lahm was one of them, but he didn't have the raw pace and attacking bent of Durm. Those are qualities the ex-Germany youngster shares with Ashley Young, the former England winger who became a wing-back in his Manchester United days.

Did you know?

Durm credits Klopp for his success as a professional footballer.

"Jürgen came into training and told me, 'I want you to be a defender, left or right-back,'" Durm recalled, having spent 14 years working on becoming a striker.

Durm (l.) made 57 of his 97 senior appearances for Borussia Dortmund under Jürgen Klopp (r.). - Imago

"I'm very happy that he made this decision, and that he saw that I could play in this position. He used to talk a lot with me and he always told me: 'I believe in you, show your confidence and go on the pitch and try your best.' He had a big influence on my career."

What they're saying

"We're delighted to sign Erik Durm, a player who not only brings quality and experience but who is also very versatile and can play in every position on the wing. Despite the success he's had, he's still ambitious and because of his background he strongly identifies with the club." - Kaiserslautern sporting director Thomas Hengen announcing Durm's arrival

"He's a fast learner, and has impressed us." - ex-Germany head coach Löw on Durm's call-up to his 2014 World Cup squad

"Even though I've never played for Kaiserslautern, it feels like I'm coming back home. FCK were the reason I started playing football... I know what the club means to people here and I'll do everything so that we have a successful season." - Durm after his move to Kaiserslautern was revealed