Germany’s debut appearance in the World Cup was a successful one, with the team progressing through the first two knockout rounds to make the semi-finals, where they lost to eventual runners-up Czechoslovakia – the only loss for Professor Dr. Otto Nerz’s team that year.

The first round saw the Mannschaft line up against Belgium, a team they had beaten only once in four matches – though that had been in the previous meeting, where the Belgians had been handed an 8-1 walloping. The match in Florence’s Stadio Giovanni Berta was not so one-sided, with Nerz’ side 2-1 down at half-time – their first World Cup finals goal being scored by Stanislaus “Tau” Kobierski. After Otto Siffling levelled the scores four minutes after the break, the great Edmund Conen turned on the style to take the game away from the Belgians. After putting Germany in front with sixty-six minutes gone, the prolific 1. FC Saarbrücken striker completed a twenty-one minute hattrick as the Mannschaft stormed to what was in the end a comfortable 5-2 win.

Germany’s record against second phase opponents Sweden was not much better than their record against Belgium: they had between 1911 and 1932 played ten games against the Swedes, winning three, drawing two and losing five. Once again though, past form provided no real indicator as a three-minute brace from Karl Hohmann just after the hour mark took them into a comfortable lead. The Swedes did pull a goal back with eight minutes remaining, but the Mannschaft were through to the last four in their first major tournament.

The semi-final saw them meet fancied Czechoslovakia for the first time, and although they fell behind early on they were still very much in the game with an hour played, Rudi Noack’s goal having cancelled out Oldřich Nejedlý’s opener for the Czechs. However this is as good as it got for Dr. Nerz’s brave side, as Nejedlý knocked in two more to complete a superb hattrick and take his side into the final against hosts Italy.

One more game remained for the German side – the third place play-off. While this game may have been seen as the “loser’s final”, there was plenty at stake with the opponents being neighbours and rivals Austria. The Austrians were seen by many as one of Europe’s glory teams – a squad rich with a skill and invention that contrasted with the Germans’ power and tactical nouse. In their two previous games against the Austrians Nerz’ side had been thrashed by scores of five and six-nil, but once again the form guide was turned upside down as they stormed into a three-goal lead with less than half an hour gone. Although the Austrians did score two themselves to make the score a respectable one, Germany took home the bronze medal.

Two of Germany’s goals were scored by Ernst Lehner, who went on to score thirty-one goals in sixty-five games, while what turned out to be the winner was scored by Edmund Conen – the hat-trick hero against Belgium. In what was a career shortened by a prolonged illness that saw him miss the 1938 tournament, Conen went on to score twenty-seven goals in the twenty-eight games he played in the Schwarz und Weiß.

First Round v Belgium, Stadio Giovanni Berta, Firenze, 27.05.1934

5-2 (1-2)
Kobierski 25., Siffling 49., Conen 66., 70., 87. / Voorhoof 29., 43.

Germany: W. Kreß – Haringer, Schwartz – Janes, Szepan (c), Zielinski – Lehner, Hohmann, Conen, Siffling, Kobierski

Belgium: Vandeweyer – Smellinckx, Joacim – Claessens, Welkenhuysen, Peeraer – Herremans, Grimmonprez, Capelle, Voorhoof, De Vries

Referee: Francesco Mattea (Italy)
Assistants: Ermenegildo Melandri (Italy), Jacques Baert (France)

Dismissals: – / –

Attendance: 8,000

Quarter-Final v Sweden, Stadio San Siro, Milan, 31.05.1934

2-1 (0-0)
Hohmann 60., 63. / Dunker 82.

Germany: W. Kreß – Haringer, W. Busch – R. Gramlich, Szepan (c), Zielinski – Lehner, Hohmann, Conen, Siffling, Kobierski

Sweden: Rydberg – S. Andersson, Axelsson – Carlsson, Rosén, E. Andersson – Dunker, Gustavsson, Jonasson, Keller, Kroon

Referee: Rinaldo Barlassina (Italy)
Assistants: René Mercet (Switzerland), Johannes van Moorsel (Netherlands)

Dismissals: – / –

Attendance: 3,000

Semi-Final v Czechoslovakia, Stadio Nazionale PNF, Roma, 03.06.1934

1-3 (1-0)
Noack 62. / Nejedlý 19., 71., 80.

Germany: W. Kreß – Haringer, W. Busch – Zielinski, Szepan (c), Bender – Lehner, Ru. Noack, Conen, Siffling, Kobierski

Czechoslovakia: Plánička – Ženíšek, Čtyroký – Košťálek, Campál, Krčil – Junek, Svoboda, Sobotka, Nejedlý, Puč

Referee: Rinaldo Barlassina (Italy)
Assistants: Alois Beranek (Austria), Pedro Escartin (Spain)

Dismissals: – / –

Attendance: 15,000

3rd Place Play-off v Austria, Stadio Giorgio Ascarelli, Napoli, 07.06.1934

3-2 (3-1)
Lehner 1., 42., Conen 27. / Horvath 28., Sesta 54.

Germany: Jakob – Janes, W. Busch – Zielinski, Münzenberg, Bender – Lehner, Siffling, Conen, Szepan (c), M. Heidemann

Austria: Platzer – Cisar, Sesta – Wagner, Smistik, Urbanek – Zischek, Braun, Bican, Horvath, Viertl

Referee: Albino Carraro (Italy)
Assistants: Camillo Caironi (Italy), Pedro Escartin (Spain)

Dismissals: – / –

Attendance: 7,000

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