Berlin boys: the finest from Germany's capital

From Frank Terletzki to Jérôme Boateng, Champions Matchday takes a look at five players who hail from the city that will host the 2015 UEFA Champions League final.

Berlin has been chosen to host the 2015 UEFA Champions League final
Berlin has been chosen to host the 2015 UEFA Champions League final ©Thinkstock

The German capital has a rich football tradition, producing some of the country's greatest players. Here are five of Berlin's very best.

Frank Terletzki
Unlike the other players on this list, midfielder Terletzki won little on the international stage. His greatest success with the national team was to claim silver at the 1980 Olympic Games, a few days before he turned 30. When he was 11, the Berlin Wall divided his home town.

Because he grew up in East Berlin, this free-kick specialist was not eligible for West Germany's 1974 FIFA World Cup-winning squad. If he had been, though, he would have accumulated a lot less domestic silverware. Terletzki joined BFC Dynamo in 1966 and spent his entire career there, winning eight East German titles before he hung up his boots in 1986 after 373 league games and 91 goals.

Terletzki says the first of his championships, won in 1979, was the sweetest. "Compared to established teams like Magdeburg and Dynamo Dresden, we were outsiders at the time," he recalls.

Nicknamed 'Tucker', the midfielder starred in the Dynamo side that beat Nottingham Forest FC 1-0 at City Ground in the quarter-finals of the European Champion Clubs' Cup in 1980. Although Terletzki scored from the spot in the return leg, Brian Clough's team won 3-1 and went on to retain the trophy.

Littbarski and Lothar Matthäus in 1990
Littbarski and Lothar Matthäus in 1990©Getty Images

Pierre Littbarski
Such a loyal servant to 1. FC Köln that many people assumed he was born in Cologne, Littbarski joined the club in 1978, at the age of 18, from the youth system of FC Hertha 03 Berlin-Zehlendorf. Blessed with amazing dribbling skills, Littbarski would make 406 Bundesliga appearances for Köln and win 73 caps for West Germany.

At the start of his illustrious career, Littbarski seemed destined to become a 'nearly' man. His Köln lost the 1979 European Champion Clubs' Cup semi-final to Nottingham Forest. In 1981, the Billy Goats fell short in the UEFA Cup semi-final. Then, in 1982, Littbarski – and West Germany – were beaten by Italy in the World Cup final.

A league title eluded fan favourite 'Litti', but he did win some major silverware. His goal secured the 1983 German Cup and seven years later he won the World Cup. In 1993, Littbarski moved to Japan. He is now VfL Wolfsburg's chief scout.

Hässler at EURO '96
Hässler at EURO '96©Getty Images

Thomas Hässler
When this diminutive, slightly built, central attacking midfielder joined Köln in 1984 at the age of 18, his team-mates were bemused by the fact that he referred to himself as "Icke", which was Berlin slang for "I", a word that became his nickname.

Along with Littbarski and Guido Buchwald, Hässler is one of three Berlin-born players to win the World Cup for West Germany. After the glory of 1990, he was also inspirational as Germany won EURO '96. Bafflingly, he never won a major trophy at a club, even though he represented such giants as Juventus, AS Roma and Borussia Dortmund.

Christian Ziege
Ziege's legs, particular the left one, got him as far away from the rough-and-tumble Neukölln area of Berlin as Munich, Milan and Middlesbrough. Like so many other Berlin talents, he left the capital as he turned 18, joining FC Bayern München in 1990 where, as a left-sided midfielder and wing back, he became a mainstay of the Roten team that won the Bundesliga twice and the UEFA Cup in the mid-1990s.

Thus began his impressive international haul of silverware – he also won the Scudetto, the UEFA Cup again and EURO '96. Hanging up his boots in 2005, Ziege is now coaching in the German third tier.

Jérôme Boateng
When Germany won the 2014 World Cup in Rio, Boateng was one of the best players on the pitch. The son of a Ghanaian father and a German mother, with a half-brother Kevin who now plays for FC Schalke 04, Boateng grew up in Berlin's Charlottenburg district and played for Hertha BSC Berlin until he was 18.

Strong, fast and technically accomplished, his versatility probably hindered his progress as coaches could not decide whether he was best at right-back or centre-back. When he joined Bayern in 2011 he added consistency and composure to his impressive skills.

Boateng has won the UEFA Champions League, two league-and-cup doubles in Germany, the UEFA Super Cup and the World Cup. You could say he's the most successful Berlin player in history. And he's still only 26.

Champions Matchday is the official magazine of the UEFA Champions League and is available in print or free to download in digital format. You can follow the magazine on Twitter @ChampionsMag.

Will Boateng make it home to the final in June?
Will Boateng make it home to the final in June?©Getty Images


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