An Olympic Interlude

The Euros are over and the Bundesliga season is yet to begin, but Germany are in action in Rio again. In the city where Die Nationalmannschaft won their fourth world crown two years ago, the German men’s Olympic team are back in the games for the first time since 1988 – when they won a bronze medal.

Some readers may remember the 1988 tournament in South Korea, where the German team coached by the late Hannes Löhr came so close to making the final – losing to Brazil on penalties in the semi-final before taking third place with a convincing 3-0 win over Italy. (Sadly, this game doesn’t count in the overall record between the two teams).

The 1988 Olympic team contained a number of players who would go on to bigger and better things such as Thomas Häßler and Jürgen Klinsmann – and some others who would never quite make the grade for the Nationalmannschaft, such as Rudi Bommer and Ralf Sievers.

Die Olympiamannschaft

While there are a number of familiar names in the Horst Hrubesch’s Olympiamannschaft, which is essentially an Under-23 squad. Unlike the women’s competition where full national squads can take part, the men’s competition in the 2016 Olympics is restricted to players born on or before 1st January 1993 – though three “overage” players are allowed in every squad to provide experience.

While the Olympic squad contains players picked at full international level, the German team at the Olympics does not represent the DFB – instead, they are part of the the German Olympic team managed by the German Olympic Sports Confederation – Deutsche Olympische Sportbund, or DOSB.

This is why the both the men’s and women’s teams wear the standard international Trikot, but with the “hexagonal” German national eagle symbol instead of the more familiar DFB crest.

Arsenal winger Serge Gnabry in action for the Olympiamannschaft against defending champions Mexico in their opening group match. The Trikot is the same, but the German Olympic eagle replaces the more familiar DFB crest


Qualification for the sixteen-team Olympic tournament is a simple enough process, but one that requires a little timing. UEFA provide four teams, and in order to qualify a team has to reach the last four of the UEFA Under-21 tournament immediately preceding the Olympics. Germany’s semi-final showing in the Czech Republic in 2015 guaranteed their presence in Rio, alongside Denmark, Portugal and champions Sweden.

Germany’s Olympic Squad

The German team in Rio have a very familiar look about them, with a number of young players who have worn the Nationaltrikot at full international level. In fact, have a dozen of Hrubesch’s squad have played for Jogi Löw’s Nationalmannschaft: twins Lars and Sven Bender, Matthias Ginter, Max Meyer, Julian Brandt and skipper Leon Goretzka.

The three “senior” players are all twenty-seven years old: the Bender twins and the experienced journeyman striker Nils Petersen.

This squad contains a number of young stars we will expect to see lining up for the Nationalmannschaft in the coming years. Hoffenheim defender Niklas Süle has been earmarked for success by many pundits, RB Leipzig striker Davie Selke certainly has the skill set to make an impact at senior level, and 1. Köln ‘keeper Timo Horn is one of the many young number ones who will be competing for a place alongside established custodian Manuel Neuer. As with the senior national team squad, there is a rich abundance of midfield talent.

There is a nice blend of experience and young stars in this German squad, who have been drawn in their first round group alongside defending Olympic champions Mexico, the always dangerous South Korea and outsiders Fiji.


1. Timo Horn (1. FC Köln, DOB 12.05.1993)
12. Jannik Huth (FSV Mainz 05, 15.04.1994)


3. Lukas Klostermann (RB Leipzig, 03.06.1996)
4. Matthias Ginter (BV 09 Borussia Dortmund, 19.01.1994)
5. Niklas Süle (TSG 1899 Hoffenheim, 03.09.1995)
13. Philipp Max (FC Augsburg, 30.09.1993)
14. Robert Bauer (FC Ingolstadt 04, 09.04.1995)


2. Jeremy Toljan (TSG 1899 Hoffenheim, 08.08.1994)
6. Sven Bender (BV 09 Borussia Dortmund, 27.04.1989)
7. Max Meyer (FC Schalke 04, 18.09.1995)
8. Lars Bender (Bayer 04 Leverkusen, 27.04.1989)
10. Leon Goretzka (FC Schalke 04, 06.02.1995)
11. Julian Brandt (Bayer 04 Leverkusen, 02.05.1996)
15. Max Christiansen (FC Ingolstadt 04, 25.09.1995)
16. Grischa Prömel (Karlsruher SC, 09.01.1995)
17. Serge Gnabry (Arsenal FC, 14.07.1995)


9. Davie Selke (RB Leipzig, 20.01.1995)
18. Nils Petersen (SC Freiburg, 06.12.1988)

Match Update

In wet and sticky conditions reminiscent of Fortaleza when Germany took on the United States in 2014, the Olympiamannschaft got their tournament underway with a 2-2 draw against holders Mexico. The Mexicans did most of the running, and Hrubesch’s men had to come from behind twice to claim a precious point.

All the goals were scored in the second half. Veteran Oribe Peralta gave El Tri the lead seven minutes into the second half, but Arsenal winger Serge Gnabry, on as a thirtieth-minute sub for injured skipper Goretzka, levelled the scores six minutes later. It took just five minutes for the Mexicans to retake the lead, but a Matthias Ginter header twelve minutes from time – set up by the impressive Gnabry – rounded off the scoring.

On the previous evening, the women’s team got their quest for that elusive Olympic gold underway with a 6-1 demolition of Zimbabwe.

We will be following the Olympic competition here on Schwarz und Weiß, so watch out for updates!

An Olympic Interlude
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