Match Results and Details – Group Phase, Group 4
Having decided not to take part in the previous two editions of the UEFA European Championship in 1960 and 1964, Germany made its debut in the competition in 1968, two years after finishing as runners-up in the World Cup.
Having been drawn in a three-team group along with Yugoslavia and Albania, Helmut Schön’s side were expected to walk into the finals in Italy – and they got off to the perfect start against the Albanians at Dortmund’s veritable old Rote Erde ground. The game would see the first international goal for the young FC Bayern München centre-forward Gerd Müller – who would follow that with a further three strikes as the Mannschaft stormed to a resounding 6-0 win.
The following month would seen the team brought back down to earth as they suffered a single-goal defeat in Yugoslavia, but a well-worked 3-1 win in the return match in Hamburg swung the advantage back in the Germans’ favour. Having both a better goal difference and head-to-head record than the Yugoslavs, Schön’s side were left with what should have been the fairly straightforward task of defeating bottom side Albania in Tiranë to progess through to the first knockout stage of the competition.
In what was a rather grey December evening in the even greyer Albanian capital, the Germans – who had destroyed the same opposition some eight months previously – just could not find a way through. Without their new striking superstar Gerd Müller, the Mannschaft were held to a goalless draw by the stoic Albanians, and found themselves falling short of the Yugoslavs by a point.
It would be the first and last time any German side would fail to qualify for a major international competition.
v Albania, Rote Erde, Dortmund, 08.04.1967
Müller 6., 25., 73., pen 85., Löhr 77., 79. / –
Team: Tilkowski – Patzke, Höttges – Beckenbauer, W. Schulz (c), W. Weber – B. Dörfel, Ulsaß, G. Müller, Overath, Löhr
v Yugoslavia, Stadion JNA, Beograd, 03.05.1967
– / Skoblar 64.
Team: Maier – Patzke, Vogts – Beckenbauer, W. Schulz (c), Fichtel – Held, Küppers, G. Müller, Overath, Löhr
v Yugoslavia, Volksparkstadion, Hamburg, 07.10.1967
Löhr 11., Müller 71., Seeler 87. / Zambata 48.
Team: Maier – Patzke, Höttges – Siemensmeyer, W. Schulz (c), W. Weber – Roth, Seeler, G. Müller, Overath, Löhr
v Albania, Qemal Stafa, Tiranë, 17.12.1967
– / –
Team: H. Wolter – Patzke, Höttges – W. Schulz (c), W. Weber – Held, Küppers, Netzer, P. Meyer, Overath, Löhr
v Albania, Tiranë. 0-0 (– / –)
Final Group Table
Other results: Albania 0-2 Yugoslavia; Yugoslavia 4-0 Albania.
Goals Summary: G. Müller (5), Löhr (3), Seeler (1). Total 9.