Football Gods: Best German Football Players in 2024

Josip Brajkovic
Josip Brajkovic
Published: 6.3.2024.


Football is a simple game - 22 men chase a ball for 90 minutes and at the end, the Germans always win. Even though it's looked down upon in the writing community - for a reason - starting an article with someone else's quote is completely justified in this case. How better to introduce the best German football players of 2024 than with the eternal Gary Linaker quote that serves as a benchmark for the Bundesliga boys to aspire to?

Maybe with the term "Fußballgott" the German fans shout for their heroes when the match announcers call their name - of course, meaning "Football god."

While their league never had the global attention dominion all of the Spanish, English, and Italian have experienced, or experience currently, the Germans have been consistently outstanding. Both on a collective level and especially individually.

Listing the 10 best German football players in 2024 is a both different and harder task than we had in front of us when rounding up the best Italians. Simply because there are too many great choices even now when their national team has been struggling.

Our criteria take into consideration their entire careers but with the bigger weight given to the most recent years. Yet, when we talk about amazing players of such a large footballing nation, doing great for a few seasons isn’t going to be enough.

#10 Marco Reus (Borussia Dortmund) AM - 34

Marco Reus

Few of these best German football players in 2024 have ever won the German Footballer of the Year award. Marco Reus did it twice, with seven years in between, 2012 and 2019. Reus' main running point are his near-equal statistical outputs, with 208 goals and 157 assists in 524 games for Borussia Dortmund and Monchengladbach! All with frequent injuries that have hampered the 34-year-old's career often. The main reason why Marco has only 48 appearances for Germany, although his return of 15 goals and 14 assists goes in his credit as well.

However, Reus never celebrated the Bundesliga title and has only two German Cups and three German Supercups in his trophy cabinet. Both Borussias' fans will remember him, as will the Bundesliga fans in general, but it's not enough to be the the very top of the German football hierarchy.

#9 Leroy Sane (Bayern Munich) RW - 28

Leroy Sane

It was a hard (and most likely controversial) decision to pick one from the Bayern Munich duo Serge Gnabry and Leroy Sane. Yet while both of them have a small amount of club games 358 for Sane, and 303 for Gnabry, Sane simply did more with his chances. While Timo Werner also made a strong case despite the smaller - but still impressive - trophy haul.

In his 358 games, Sane scored 99 goals and made 103 assists. Comparatively, Gnabry was the better goalscorer with 104 goals, but made 62 assists. Sane's two titles in England, alongside the FA and two League Cups and Community Shields, clinched him the spot. Of course, he won three Bundesliga titles, the FIFA Club World Cup, the UEFA Supercup, and two German Supercups. Sane scored 13 times and made seven assists in 59 games for Germany.

#8 Leon Goretzka (Bayern Munich) CM - 29

Leon Goretzka

This list will be dominated by central midfielders, and Germany had such a midfield that it's understandable how Leon Goretzka recorded just 57 caps for Germany. With a great return though, 14 goals and 11 assists for a player mostly employed with constructing and disrupting. In his 389 club games, his goal involvement number is also high, 59 goals and 54 assists! While also never received a red despite being a physical player.

Goretzka lifted the Bundesliga shield five times, the big-eared CL trophy once, the UEFA Supercup once, the German Cup twice, and the domestic Supercup twice as well. Winning the Confederations Cup with Germany and was actually the competition's top scorer surprsingly.

#7 Marc-Andre ter Stegen (Barcelona) GK - 31

Marc-Andre ter Stegen

It's a shame when one person in your position is a candidate for the greatest of all time in it. That has always thrown a shadow over Marc-Andre ter Stegen, yet undeservedly. Barcelona's long-time goalkeeper, often the reason for some sort of stability in turbulent times, has earned his spot amongst the best compatriots. Even in the competition of Manuel Neuer, he has collected 38 caps for Die Mannschaft. A number that few outfield players have reached. Winning the Confederations Cup too.

In his 425 club games for Barca and Borussia Monchengladbach, MATS kept his net completely safe 199 times! Nearly every other game! While his trophies run can be competitive with all but the historic best. With a CL trophy, FIFA Club World Cup trophy, five La Liga titles, one UEFA Supercup, five Copa del Rey trophies, and three Spanish Supercups! Ter Stegen is only 31 as a keeper and will certainly increase his rankings in the future.

#6 Antonio Rudiger (Real Madrid) CB - 30

Antonio Rudiger

One of the most consistent top centre-backs of the last five years - at least - Antonio Rudiger doesn't have the trophy haul of the men following, but he earned his high ranking. Playing for Chelsea, Real Madrid, Stuttgart and Roma the centre-back took part in 439 club matches. With another 66 games for Germany. In further reading, you'll see that the players above him have a lot more experience.

Yet the glaring hole in his resume is that he is yet to win a league competition in any country! Especially damning if you subscribe to the common belief that defence brings you titles. But Rudiger won the Champions League in 2021, the UEFA Supercup and the FIFA Club World Cup twice, the Europa League, the Spanish Cup, the Spanish Supercup, the English FA Cup, and the Confederations Cup once.

Aged 30, at Real, he can certainly be placed amongst the top five best German players in the future, the elite of the elite.

#5 Ilkay Gundogan (Barcelona) CM - 33

Ilkay Gundogan

Even though he is not the loudest, flashiest, not superstar interesting to tabloids, Ilkay Gundogan has deserved and received a world-class reputation. Primarily by arguably being the decisive Manchester City player in his last two years at the club. Leaving the club with five Premier League titles, the long-awaited CL trophy, two FA Cup triumphs, four League Cups, and two Community Shields. In addition to the German Cup and Bundesliga triumphs with BVB in 2011/2012.

For City, Dortmund, Nuremberg, and Barcelona, the central midfielder has played in 552 games, scoring 88 times and making 75 assists. His 100 goal involvements with City (60/40) in 304 matches are particularly impressive. Gundo played 73 times for Germany, scoring 18 goals and making seven assists.

Considering the German FA named him the best German footballer for 2023, Gundogan can feel at home in the top five active German football players.

#4 Manuel Neuer (Bayern Munich) GK - 37

Manuel Neuer

An undeniable all-time great, without any prefixes like "German" or "goalkeeping." Manuel Neuer is one of the best players Germany has produced, and a standard other keepers looked up to for longer than a decade. The only reason why he hasn't made it into the top three of the best German players in 2024 is because of the injuries he sustained as he is nearing his fifth decade. Playing in only 16 games in the 2022/2023 season and getting to mere 20 in the one following.

Still, the titan with the gloves can drop down in league tiers and as long as he is playing, he will be worthy of inclusion as Germany's best active players. With 711 games in his club career, and 321 games in which he kept a clean sheet! With 508 of those matches coming for Bayern, and 203 for Schalke.

#3 Thomas Muller (Bayern Munich) SS - 34

Thomas Muller

It feels completely wrong to put Thomas Muller next to a number three, especially considering he would have a strong case for one of the 10 best players of the last 15 years. Yet the years and the managers have caught up to the German and he is rarely the starter nowadays.

However, even the results the managers who started Muller on the bench spoke on his behalf. After all, Thomas Muller is the player with the second-most assists in the 21st century! All while playing for one club his entire career, a record holder in that regard for the active players.

Muller's basic stats are out of this world and argue that he has to be considered as one of the most underrated players of all time. With 237 goals and 264 assists in 694 club games, and 45 goals and 40 assists in 126 games, the versatile forward is a unique asset.

One that has won a staggering number of 12 Bundesliga titles, two Champions League trophies, one World Cup, two FIFA Club World Cups, two UEFA Supercup trophies, six DFB Pokal trophies, and eight German Supercups.

#2 Joshua Kimmich (Bayern Munich) - CM - 29

Joshua Kimmich

Coming from a town Rottweil that gave its name to the dogbreed, Joshua Kimmich in his style displays a lot of the characteristics of those loved guardians he shares the origin point with. Protective (of the backline), loyal (nine years with Bayern), many-sided (plays as a CM and an RB), and calm (only 62 yellow cards) resulting in him being the fan favourite. Even the neutrals love some Joshua Kimmich, a player every team needs, but almost none get.

Just turning 29, Kimmich has quite the trophy haul in his home with eight Bundesliga shields, one Champions League trophy, three German cups, six German Supercups, UEFA Supercup, and the FIFA Club World Championship. As well as the Confederations Cup won with Germany in 2017.

Kimmich played in 374 games for Bayern, getting 41 goals and 100 assists! With another 55 games played for RB Leipzig. The German international represented his country 82 times, scoring six times and making 19 assists. His greatness is illustrated by his appearance in our listing of the most versatile players in the world as well.

While the compatriots before him on this list are bigger names and have experienced more, if a top manager were to pick which player to get for his team from this select 10, Kimmich would top it 99 out of 100 times.

#1 Toni Kroos (Real Madrid) - CM - 34

Toni Kroos

If this list of best German football players was made based solely on the trophy haul and looking at the whole career, Toni Kroos would’ve been first by a margin. A World Cup trophy, five Champions League big-eared trophies, three La Ligas, three Bundesliga titles, six FIFA Club World Cup trophies, five UEFA Supercups, one Copa del Rey, four Spanish Supercups, and one German Supercup. Winning the German Footballer of the Year in 2018. We could end the writing on Toni Kroos there.

Toni has 66 club goals in his career and 158 assists across 704 games for Real Madrid, Bayern Munich, and Bayer Leverkusen. Playing 451 games for the Spanish giants, 205 for the Bavarians, and 48 for Bayer.

What makes Kroos a standout is that at the age of 34, he is still as consistent as ever. Playing 52 games in the 2022/2023 season, and already getting 34 appearances for Los Blancos just over halfway of the 2023/2024 campaign already.

Furthermore, it’s indicative that he is the best Germany has to offer right now due to how his decision to return to the national team has been received. A veteran of 106 games for Die Mannschaft, with 17 goals and 19 assists, Kroos has said goodbye to the squad in 2021, but will make his return for the Euros 2024. Chasing that one major trophy that he is missing.

Should it be worrying for the nation that the best German football players are all well past 30 or on the verge of it? That no young player has reached the potential they announced - like Kai Havertz. Most likely not, because the upcoming crop of Florian Wirtz and Jamal Musiala can easily make the cut by next year.



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