German football Hall of Fame opens in Dortmund

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The Hall of Fame of German football officially opened at a star-studded event at the German Football Museum in Dortmund on Monday.

The first eleven players entered the pantheon amid much fanfare at the opening gala.

The line-up of legends reads:

  • Goalkeeper: Sepp Maier
  • Defenders: Franz Beckenbauer, Andreas Brehme and Paul Breitner
  • Midfielders: Fritz Walter, Lothar Matthäus, Matthias Sammer and Günter Netzer
  • Strikers: Gerd Müller, Uwe Seeler and Helmut Rahn
  • Sepp Herberger, the legendary coach of the German national team that won the 1954 World Cup in Switzerland

First of its kind

Apart from the ailing Müller, all living founder members of the Hall of Fame were present: Beckenbauer, Seeler, Matthäus, Breitner, Sammer, Maier, Brehme and Netzer.

“The bringing together of these football legends in one place has never happened before in such a way, and this constellation already makes the Hall of Fame unique,” said Manuel Neukirchner, the director of the Football Museum.

Beckenbauer, who lifted the World Cup in 1974, said that “Hollywood had staged many such events, why shouldn’t Germany have a Hall of Fame?”

More legends to come

Sports journalists from across Germany voted last year to induct the first class of Hall of Famers. Only players who had finished their career at least five years ago were eligible. Member of the 2014 World Cup-winning team could therefore not be included in the Hall of Fame.

The Hall of Fame is a permanent exhibition at the Football Museum. Every year four or five new members are expected to be inducted. 

The museum announced the first 11 entries into a female Hall of Fame earlier this year. They will be inducted into the Hall of Fame this summer. 

Not without controversy

The vote was marked by heated discussion over Herberger’s past — the former coach joined the Nazi Party in 1933 — and Beckenbauer’s alleged involvement in a corruption scandal surrounding the 2006 World Cup in Germany.

The president of the German Football Association, Reinhard Grindel, avoided the red carpet on the opening night. Grindel is currently embroiled in a scandal for not declaring €78,000 ($87,000) in outside earnings between 2016 and 2017.

Read more: German football chief storms out of DW interview after $25bn question 

cw/rt (dpa, SID)

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