The official website for European football

Netherlands v Germany classic encounters

Published: Tuesday 13 November 2012, 13.47CET
"Extra special" according to Marco van Basten, games between Germany and the Netherlands always deliver; recalls four of the best before Wednesday's friendly.
by Berend Scholten & Steffen Potter
Netherlands v Germany classic encounters
Marco van Basten scored the winner against West Germany in 1988 ©Getty Images

Published: Tuesday 13 November 2012, 13.47CET

Netherlands v Germany classic encounters

"Extra special" according to Marco van Basten, games between Germany and the Netherlands always deliver; recalls four of the best before Wednesday's friendly.

With Germany and the Netherlands meeting in a friendly in Amsterdam on Wednesday, looks back at four memorable encounters between the teams.

West Germany 2-1 Netherlands, FIFA World Cup final, 7 July 1974
The Dutch enjoyed a dream start in Munich, with Johan Cruyff earning a penalty after just 53 seconds which Johan Neeskens duly converted. It took time for West Germany to recover from the shock of that early goal, but they were level through a spot kick of their own – Paul Breitner firing in after 25 minutes.

The momentum shifted, Gerd Müller scoring what proved to be the winner just before the interval. The Oranje tried without success to find a way back in the second half, with West Germany spurning a number of counterattacking opportunities to rubber-stamp the result. "Defeat was a catastrophe, much worse than the one against Argentina in 1978," said René van de Kerkhof. "It wouldn't have been so bad to lose against another team such as England."

West Germany 1-2 Netherlands, UEFA European Championship semi-finals, 21 June 1988
Though it is his volley in the final which lingers longest in the memory, Marco van Basten's goal against Germany carried even more significance for many Oranje fans. That can be attributed to events 14 years earlier, when even the Total Football of Rinus Michels and Cruyff was not enough for the Dutch to avoid defeat in the 1974 World Cup showpiece. They went into this EURO '88 fixture without a victory over their neighbours in 32 years.

Michels was again at the helm as the Netherlands gained revenge in Hamburg. Lothar Matthäus and Ronald Koeman traded penalties and the match seemed destined for extra time until Van Basten hooked in two minutes from the end. "It was a good goal," said the striker. "In the match we felt we were a bit better. I told my team-mates that if there is one evening we can beat the Germans, it is now. Matches against Germany are extra special."

West Germany 2-1 Netherlands, FIFA World Cup round of 16, 24 June 1990
Just two years after that Netherlands EURO '88 on German soil, this marked sweet revenge for Germany: Franz Beckenbauer's side who dominated in Milan. With both teams down to ten men following the dismissal of Rijkaard and Rudi Völler, it was left to Jürgen Klinsmann to steal the show.

He scored the opener just after half-time before Andreas Brehme added a second with five minutes left. Koeman gave Leo Beenhakker's Dutch side a late glimmer of hope, but this was West Germany's day. "We hunted them. They had to run and run, and got more and more tired; then we scored the goals," said Beckenbauer.

Netherlands 3-1 Germany, EURO '92 group stage, 18 June 1992
One of the Netherlands' finest hours against Germany. Michels was back on the bench for his fourth and final spell as Oranje boss and he still had the core of the 1988 group intact. A new wave of talent, including the likes of Bryan Roy, Frank De Boer and Dennis Bergkamp, made this an especially strong Dutch side.

They took a two-goal lead inside 15 minutes in Gothenburg, through goals from Frank Rijkaard and Richard Witschge, and though Jürgen Klinsmann pulled one back, Bergkamp wrapped up the victory. "We played excellently as a team," said Roy. "We were really eager to beat Germany, and when we did there was euphoria. We should have won Euro '92." Instead they lost in the last four to a Denmark side that then stunned Germany.

Last updated: 09/06/15 2.31CET

Related information

Team profiles

  • © 1998-2015 UEFA. All rights reserved.
  • The UEFA word, the UEFA logo and all marks related to UEFA competitions, are protected by trade marks and/or copyright of UEFA. No use for commercial purposes may be made of such trade marks. Use of signifies your agreement to the Terms and Conditions and Privacy Policy.