Germany has a proud reputation for producing excellent goalkeepers, with some of the greatest in history plying their trade in the Bundesliga. Manuel Neuer has now broken Oliver Kahn's all-time record for the most clean sheets among the league’s goalkeeping royalty, but who else is on the list?
Here are the 10 goalkeepers with the most clean sheets in the Bundesliga...
*Stats correct as of 21 September 2023
1) Manuel Neuer
The world’s best goalkeeper moved top of the all-time list as Bayern put five without reply past Hertha Berlin on Matchday 3 of 2021/22. The current No.1 and captain has reached the leading mark at breakneck speed, playing over 100 games fewer than Kahn and boasting the best rate of clean sheets among the top 10 by some distance.
Watch: Neuer - 16 saves from 16 seasons
2) Oliver Kahn
Clubs: Karlsruhe, Bayern Munich
Clean sheets: 204
Percentage of clean sheets: 36.6
Before Neuer came along, Kahn was the measure of German and Bayern goalkeepers. Having started with hometown side Karlsruhe, Der Titan went on to become the most decorated player in Bundesliga history at the time of his retirement in 2008, as well as winning the 2001 UEFA Champions League, six DFB Cups and a record four Best European Goalkeeper awards. Kahn took over from Karl-Heinz Rummenigge as Bayern CEO in June 2021.
Watch: Kahn - one of the Bundesliga's greatest
3) Oliver Reck
Clubs: Kickers Offenbach, Werder Bremen, Schalke
Clean sheets: 176
Percentage of clean sheets: 37.4
If it weren’t for Kahn and Andreas Köpke, Reck would no doubt have earned more than a single Germany cap in a friendly against Liechtenstein. At club level, though, he was first choice for the majority of a trophy-laden career that encompassed two Bundesliga titles and the UEFA Cup Winners’ Cup with Bremen, as well as two DFB Cups apiece with Werder and Schalke. The Frankfurt native might also point out to the two ahead of him that he’s one of only 11 goalkeepers to have scored in the Bundesliga.
4) Eike Immel
Immel was the model of consistency starting out for Dortmund. Once he’d earned the No.1 spot in 1979/80, he missed only one league game in seven seasons before a move to Stuttgart. He spent another nine years there, earning his only major club honour as he played every minute in VfB’s 1991/92 Bundesliga triumph – beating BVB on goal difference on the final day. He was also part of the Germany squad that won UEFA Euro 1980 and reached back-to-back FIFA World Cup finals in 1982 and 1986. He spent the final two years of his career in England with Manchester City.
5) Uli Stein
Stein lived up to his name as a rock at the back for his teams. He was the goalkeeper for the most successful period in Hamburg’s history, playing every single minute as they won consecutive Bundesliga titles in 1981/82 and 1982/83, and then the 1982/83 European Cup, in which Stein conceded only five goals in nine games as HSV went on to beat Juventus 1-0 in the final. He was also a Bundesliga runner-up three times, the oldest goalkeeper to ever play in the league and became the first keeper to win the DFB Cup with two clubs when earning back-to-back medals with HSV and Frankfurt in 1987 and 1988.
6) Sepp Maier
Clubs: Bayern Munich
Clean sheets: 137
Percentage of clean sheets: 29.0
Maier was the founding member of the German goalkeeping royal family. The one-club man won absolutely everything: the 1974 World Cup, 1972 European Championship, three consecutive European Cups, four Bundesliga titles, four DFB Cups, the Cup Winners’ Cup and the Intercontinental Cup. Known as ‘Die Katze von Anzing’ for his cat-like reflexes, he formed the backbone of the most successful era in Bayern’s history, making 661 competitive appearances for the Bavarians and once enjoying a run of appearing in 442 consecutive Bundesliga games for the club, not missing a single minute across 245 of them between April 1972 and June 1979. With 95 games for Germany, he was also the country’s most-capped goalkeeper until Neuer surpassed him in November 2020.
7) Jens Lehmann
Clubs: Schalke, Borussia Dortmund, VfB Stuttgart
Clean sheets: 131
Percentage of clean sheets: 33.2
Lehmann was Kahn’s long-time rival to be Germany’s No.1 and eventually won out in the build-up to the 2006 World Cup on home soil. Although with Arsenal at the time, the challenge had started long before as Schalke’s first choice for the best part of a decade – saving a penalty in the final as the Royal Blues won the 1997 UEFA Cup – and then at arch-rivals Dortmund after a six-month spell with AC Milan. While at BVB he lifted his sole Bundesliga title in 2001/02. Lehmann would return to the league in 2008 for two seasons with Stuttgart. He retired as one of only three goalkeepers to score more than one goal in the Bundesliga, including a famous injury-time equaliser for Schalke against Dortmund in 1998 – the first goal ever from open play by a shot-stopper in the league.
Watch: Lehmann - one of the Bundesliga's greatest
8) Richard Golz
Clubs: Hamburg, Freiburg
Clean sheets: 123
Percentage of clean sheets: 27.2
Golz was ultimately the long-term successor to Stein at Hamburg and was first choice for most of the 1990s, although he did once play as a striker during an injury crisis at the club. After losing his spot to Hans-Jörg Butt in 1997/98 and over 300 competitive appearances for HSV, he left for Freiburg in 1998, where he became a fan favourite. He would be greeted with large cheers of “Richie, Richie” whenever he walked out at the Schwarzwald-Stadion, going on to play almost 250 times for the club across the Bundesliga and Bundesliga 2.
9) Frank Rost
Clubs: Werder Bremen, Schalke, Hamburg
Clean sheets: 121
Percentage of clean sheets: 28.4
Rost had to bide his time at Werder, making only 17 Bundesliga appearances in his first six seasons with the club, which included a title without an appearance in his maiden campaign in 1992/93. His breakthrough came in 1998 when Reck left for Schalke and he established himself as No.1 for the next four years. His first proper campaign in goal also saw Bremen win the DFB Cup. He soon followed as Reck’s successor in Gelsenkirchen in 2002, where he remained No.1 until the emergence of a 20-year-old Neuer in 2006. He then enjoyed four and a half successful seasons at HSV, which included reaching the UEFA Cup and UEFA Europa League semi-finals in 2009 and 2010 respectively before a final stint with New York Red Bulls in the USA. Rost is one of three goalkeepers alongside Lehmann and Marwin Hitz to have scored from open play in the Bundesliga.
10) Norbert Nigbur
Clubs: Schalke, Hertha Berlin
Clean sheets: 120
Percentage of clean sheets: 26.3
Nigbur was perhaps the start of Schalke’s famed production of goalkeepers. The Gelsenkirchen native emerged as first choice as an 18-year-old in 1966/67 and remained so for the majority of his 10-year spell there. In 1971/72 he won the DFB Cup and finished as runner-up in the Bundesliga, conceding the fewest goals and also setting the record for longest run without conceding (555 minutes), which stood for over a decade. Two years later he won the 1974 World Cup in Germany as back-up to Maier. He played all but one Bundesliga match during a three-year spell at Hertha in the late 70s before a return to Schalke, eventually ending on 441 competitive appearances for his hometown club.